All Saints’ Day in the Philippines
Filipinos believe that there’s a connection between the living and the dead. All Saints’ Day in the Philippines is about commemorating the known and unknown saints. The saints who were able to make it in heaven. Catholics believe that through prayers, those saints in heaven could help people here on earth. This is in order to attain what they have attained and to become good Christians.
Filipinos are family-oriented. They even believe that after death, all the families will be reunited in heaven. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to see Filipino families come together to their graveyards to visit their departed ones.
Things You Can Do During All Saints’ Day in the Philippines
There are a lot of things you can do on All Saints’ Day in the Philippines as it’s a public holiday. Thus, you can expect no classes for the students and no work for government employees. Students staying in dormitories would go back to their homes to be with their families. Workers, on the other hand, would file a leave of absences if they are in the private sector.
Some Filipinos living in Metro Manila would anticipate going to their departed ones a day or a week before All Saints’ Day. When All Saints’ Day falls on the weekend, they would go to nearby provinces like Baguio, Batangas, Bataan, and Aurora for a short vacation. You can reach these destinations in a matter of 4-8 hours, depending on the traffic.
Those who will simply stay at home would probably engage in family activities like cooking together, doing some household chores, singing on videoke, and watching movies together. These people have a different date of visiting their departed ones.
How All Saints’ Day in the Philippines is Celebrated
Filipinos would simply just go and visit their departed ones on All Saints’ Day. Early in the morning, the mother in the family would usually cook so they’ve something to eat during their stay at the graveyard. Upon arrival there, the first thing that the family would do is clean the tomb of their loved ones, then, repaint it afterwards. After cleaning, the next activities related to All Saints’ Day follows.
Filipino practice also includes giving an ample amount of food to their departed loved ones. This particular custom came from the Aztecs way back in the old times. The Philippines isn’t the only country doing this – Cambodia, India, and China are some that observe such practice as well.
Mothers usually cook the favourite food of their departed loved ones. However, any part of the family may assist her during the process.
Another practice that Filipinos observe on All Saints’ Day is the offering of prayers to their departed loved ones. The family would usually bring a prayer booklet and recite it. Additionally, they would pray to all the Saints in heaven for guidance while they’re still here on earth to live their lives as good Christians.
Venues and Special Events for Celebrating the All Saints’ Day in the Philippines
Filipinos would usually go to the graveyards of their departed loved ones on All Saints Day. There are many cemeteries in Metro Manila, but the two most popular ones are the Manila North Cemetery and the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.
There are some people, especially those who hate crowds, who would anticipate visiting the graveyards of their loved ones. By doing this, they’ve got the time to rest at home, go to churches to pray, or go out of town for a short vacation. The following are the places you can visit during All Saints’ Day in the Philippines:
Manila North Cemetery
The Manila North Cemetery is one of the most visited locations in the Philippines during All Saints’ Day.
The famous people whose remains are in the North Cemetery are Sergio Osmena, Manuel Roxas, Ramon Magsaysay, Francis Burton Harrison, Claro Rector, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Pancho Villa, Epifanio de los Santos, Juan Nakpil, and Fernando Poe, Jr.
If you admire some of the famous people mentioned above whose remains are in this cemetery, now is your chance to take a look at them. Those who are showbiz fans would probably fancy looking at the tomb of Fernando Poe, Jr. while those politics fans would probably like to look at the tombs of Sergio Osmena and other departed politicians.
If you’re a foreign tourist who doesn’t know about famous Filipinos who already passed away, observing cemetery structures and the way of life of Filipinos when visiting their departed loved ones would be a good idea and learning. You can find Manila North Cemetery in the heart of Santa Cruz, Manila.
Libingan Ng Mga Bayani
Many Filipinos who have died of heroism are in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani. The experience that you can get there does not deviate much from the experience you get from visiting Manila North Cemetery. However, the Libingan Ng` Mga Bayani is much greener and less crowded.
Libingan ng mga Bayani has personalities like Elpidio Quirino, Carlos P. Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal, Salvador Laurel, Guillermo Tolentino, Carlos Romulo, and Ferdinand Marcos.
Side Trip Going to the Malls
After visiting your departed loved ones, you might want to grab some food or perhaps take your coffee break. Going to malls during All Saints’ Day is not a bad idea considering it will be less crowded as most of the people would be in the graveyards.
Calvary Hill, Sagada, Mountain Province
Outside Metro Manila, a good way to experience All Saints’ Day is to go to the Festival of Lights in Sagada, Mountain Province where people would light the tombstones of their departed ones using woods of old pine trees, locally known as Saeng. This is already an old tradition that is still up to now being practised.