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Saturday, October 25, 2003
(all saints day)
(held 31 October)

when i was a little boy , bata pa si sabel, the last week of the month of October, my grandma will tell her adopted son, Berto to go to the cemetery to check on the graves of my lolo(grandpa) and my great grandma and other relatives of the family. Berto will take me with him and we will bring the "gulok" (machete) and "calburo"(paint residue) to paint the niche of our deceased relatives. we will go to the north cemetery, which was not crowded yet during those times.

we will start cutting the "kugon" grass (hay) and remove the residue of last years paint so that we could quote the niche with another white cover of the mixed "calburo" with water. Berto, who is 12years older than me will take me around the entire cemetery after our work is done and will tell me different scary stories and show me tombs and niches that are partially open and will scare me to death. i was only 10years old that time and i will come home sweating and was so dead afraid of what Berto told me while we were at the cemetery. the whole evening i cannot sleep without somebody sleeping besides me and i was so scared for the lights to be switched off.

at night , if i have to go to the toilet, which is like an outhouse, per se - - but attached to my Lola's (gradma's) old spanish house. there is no light in this toilet, and i am so damn scared. i will bring a long and big candle and pray to God, while i am taking a shit that this candle not be blown by the wind, or else i swear i will shit on my pants. Berto will scare me more, not knowing that he was at the adjoining room, which is the shower, will bring a piece of cardboard and keep on swaying the cardboard so that the air will blow the light of the candle. one night, i was taking a leak, this stupid Berto was behind the door of the toilet and scared me shitless. i screamed and wet my short pants. then i plotted something to get even with him. onenight, when he got drunk, i took my revenge, at the age of 10. i dip my finger in my stool and wipe it at the tip of the nose of Berto while he was asleep and dead drunk.

next morning when he woke up, he came near me and told me i smell like "Tae"(shit) so i told him he was stupid cuz i just took a bath awhile ago. then he came back to me and told me Lola (grandma) was also smelling like "tae" (shit)and i told him i will tell Lola about it. he kept on circling the entire house and kept on mumbling to himself that all people inside the house smells like "tae"(shit) and everythng in the house smells like"tae"(shit).

Berto, I know you're already dead. i am sorry, i did not inform you of that. "huwag mo kong dalawin" (dont come back and scare me).

two days before Todos Los Santos (all saints day), my grandma, will start cooking the "Jaleyang ube" (sweet purple yam) and then will make the "calamay" (rice cake) and "binatog" (boiled white corn) with freshly grated coconut and a little bit of salt. these will be our "baon" (provision) to the cemetery with bottles of water.

at the cemetery, i will start gathering the bees wax that is coming from the lighted candles at the niches and make it into a ball. i will take this home,and Berto will warm and melt it with kerosene and this will be our floor wax., for the massive floor of gradma's spanish house.

at the cemetery, you will find all sorts of items on sale. there is the "pusit que"(dried squid in a skewer) that is being grilled, also grilled and boiled corn and sausages. there's lots of "sago" (tapioca) drink vendors - - and soft drinks vendors. there's also fruit vendors and cook food vendors on make shift huts. there's even a sideshow, near the wall of the cemetery, from bingo to peep show.

when we get back home, at night i will wait for the group called "mangangaluluwa"(singers or revelers dressed in gawdy costumes)my grandma will tell us to watch for these group cuz they come when all is asleep. my grandma said, these are people pretending to be revelers but they have members who does not sing and will just see what they can steal from your house or at the back yard. our "biik" (piglet) was stolen by this group, cuz Berto have fallen asleep and the group came to sing at 3am and Berto was snoring like a diesel truck.

but now, things have changed. cemeteries are now called MEMORIAL PARKS. the real cemetery looks like a place for the macabre, cuz its ugly and not kept properly. nobody prays at the grave yards/sites anymore. people will bring their "karaoke" (music box) and will sing at the sites and play "mah jong" (chinese equivalent of card game), with cell fons so that they cud order their food and be delivered to them on the spot where their niches and grave sites are. they have canopies now, that tried to compete with each other in color and cost. people also do grilling at the grave sites and even dance and do lots of merry making near the grave sites.

the religious symbol of this occassion is now long forgotten. i am old but i still remember. the younger generations have forgotten the value and meaning of :

+++++++++++++++++++ TODOS LOS SANTOS +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++ (all saints day) +++++++++++++++++++++++++
posted by infraternam meam @ 12:56 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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