DWTS: Death’s Weird Traditions & Superstitions Pinoy Edition

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A few days ago, I had a dream that one of my molar tooth fell off. Here in the Philippines, dreaming of a tooth falling off means that somebody is going to… DAN DAN DAN DAN… die. Morbid, right? That’s according to the urban legends, myths, or superstitions, that has been passed onto people for generations.

I recently went to a wake and I realized that we do have a lot of “traditions” and superstitious beliefs when it comes to death. I don’t know how it is done in other places but here we call the wakes, “lamay”, family and friends gather in funeral homes or even at their own homes – if they decide to conduct the wake there – and stay up all day and all night. People spend the time by catching up (wakes can also be a reunion especially for families who have lived in abroad), reminiscing the life of the deceased, or playing card games (like tong-its) and sometimes even mah-jong!

10 Things, People, and Other Weird Traditions You’ll Probably See in a Typical Pinoy Wake:

1. Coffee. Lots of 3-in-1 coffee… in styrofoam cups.

2. Nuts, biscuits (ones that come in big square tin cans), and candies.

3. Lots of people you don’t know. It is believed that the dead should not be left alone, that’s why wakes here in the Philippines are packed with people even if it’s 2 in the moring. You’ll see friends of your neighbors, old women in groups who’ll conduct a sort of prayer session, and distant relatives you’ll probably meet for the first time.

4. People playing cards, mah-jong, and some, get this, are even drinking a few beers.

5. Relatives are not allowed to sweep the floor. I don’t actually know why. My friend wipes the floor instead during his grandmother’s wake. Well, nobody said that wiping is not allowed, right? Smart ass. 😛

6. Relatives are not allowed to send off visitors when they leave. When my grandmother died, I had to give directions animatedly just to help my visitors find their way out of our village cause we weren’t allowed to accompany them as they leave the wake.

7. Families place a rosary and money on one hand of the dead body. Before the burial, the rosary needs to be destroyed – ok, destroy is a strong word – needs to be cut into two. According to the superstition, if you fail to do this, other family members will follow the death of the deceased and die one by one. I say, that’s one SCARY superstition so we did that when my lola  died. *Goosebumps* The money, on the other hand, should not be spent and be kept until the end of time. Too bad, one of my aunts “accidentally” used the money. As of this writing, she is very much alive and kicking so I guess, it’s okay. 🙂

8. As mentioned earlier, the dead should not be left alone. Thus, having the wake with relatives staying up all day and night.

9. Politicians! Yes, politicians especially those in the local government units go to wakes of constituents. I’d like to think that they are there to really mourn and console the family and that it’s not some publicity stunt to secure votes for the elections.

10. For individuals who died because of a crime, family members place chicks (baby chickens) on top of the casket. They say, this will make the criminals feel guilty and that their conscience will not let them sleep for doing such crimes. I don’t know if that actually works, but I guess it gives the family members of the deceased some kind of comfort.

There you have it, some of the superstitions/myths/legends, observations, and traditions when it comes to death in the Filipino culture. I’m sure they have their own superstitious beliefs and traditions in different cultures all over the world.


Long Drives.

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Feb-ulous Challenge Day 3

I love… long drives.

Just got home from work. I wasn’t able to catch the train so I had to take a cab. Unfortunately, the taxi didn’t have a stereo so I sat there looking out thinking of what to write for today’s entry. As we drove along the now almost empty streets of the metro I realized how much I loved long drives. It’s relaxing and helps clear your head especially if there’s someone else who’ll do the actual driving (I suck at driving). 🙂

Long drives are best for sound tripping or simply bonding. I remember every year, during summer, my whole family goes swimming somewhere probably in Laguna and my cousins and I would always look forward to the trip. It always feels like a school field trip full of noisy kids eating, singing, and chatting away.

Oh what i’d give for a road trip right now.

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Random Thought

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Everything happens for a reason.

It does, doesn’t it?

It’s funny how you already know things but believe it even more when it actually happens to you.

Hundreds of time I have been told or I have read somewhere that many things happen because of a reason. They say it’s a part of something bigger. A master plan that will be revealed. Not today, but some time in the future.

Whether its experiences with face-palm inducing thesis group mates, head-scratch worthy attitudes of bosses, or jobs you just couldn’t take. It’s all bound to help you become a better version of yourself.

The funny thing is, it wouldn’t make sense while it’s happening. You’ll feel cheated or even think that the universe is power tripping on you. But, that is not the case. It’ll all make sense. I swear.

Anywho, I’m just babbling. I’ll post something better soon. Better days are coming… I think.

Ciao for now. 🙂

Random Shiz

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1 Post A Day Challenge – ENTRY #24

I sat staring at a blank page for an hour. When my hour was up, I came up with this:

15 Random Things I Want To Do Right Now

1. Go out (to a mall, to another city, to anywhere).

2. Eat frozen yogurt.

3. Unfollow people on Twitter.

4. Unfriend people on Facebook… and in real life.

5. Watch a movie in the cinema.

6. Buy tons of books.

7. Meet Adam Levine in person and give him a bear hug.

8. Get myself a pair of hot red platform pumps that I probably wouldn’t wear but feel satisfied only with the thought that I actually own one.

9. Have my hair digitally permed.

10. Hang outside my old high school and eat siomai and kwek kwek with my high school friends.

11. Learn to frost a cake. (Damn you, Cake Boss!)

12. Ride a rollercoaster.

13. Sing a song or two (or more) in a videoke.

14. Catch up with an old friend.

15. Post something decent in my blog today.

Why don’t you come up with 15 random things that YOU would do? Just for the heck of it. Might be fun. Anywho, I’m stopping now. This is a result of me being stuck in the house for exactly 2 months, bored and penniless. I. Must. Get. Out. Tomorrow. Really. Seriously. Tootles!

Sleep Mythology

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1 Post A Day Challenge – ENTRY #19

I had a very tiring day yesterday so I spent most of this day sleeping. I’m not the type who sleeps a lot. I actually find it weird that some people think that sleeping qualifies as a “hobby”. Even when I was a kid, I seldom do siesta (the afternoon nap that we were forced to take when we were kids). According to my lola and former yaya, I had to take afternoon naps if I wanted to grow taller.

I don’t know any child who wants to take afternoon naps. As a kid, it was impossible for me to will myself to take a nap especially if the sun is brightly shining and I can play outside. My sitters (sometimes it would be my lola, tita, or yaya) successfully made me and my cousins eventually take a nap after terrorizing our young innocent minds with exaggerated stories. These stories basically says that if we do not sleep in the afternoons, we will never grow up and we’ll stay children forever. There was even this one time when they told us that if I didn’t sleep, a bumbay will get me, put me in a sack and then later chop me into pieces and put me in a siopao to be eaten. Later on, I learned that a bumbay is not exactly a monster but a person who hails from India and has a lending business called 5 6 (five, six). I don’t know where they got the idea for those stories but during those times it definitely worked. I even remember pretending to sleep just because I was so afraid of being 6 years old forever and being a siopao filling.

Crazy stories huh? Looking back at those stories, it makes me laugh and actually a little duped. It does sound silly now but we fell for it and they got us good. I’d compare stories with my friends and it’s funny that they have similar experiences. I gotta say, our parents, grandparents, and nannies, were very creative with coming up with these myths. I wonder what myths my generation will come up to make our kids take afternoon naps?

When I Grow Up…

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1 Post A Day Challenge – ENTRY #14

I was thinking about what to write about for my 14th entry and I remembered a list of questions I stumbled upon in one of the blogs I was following back in February. One of the questions, which seems relevant to me right now, was: What did you want to be when you were a child? As of this moment, what I want to be is pretty much a hanging question but I am on the quest of finding the answer to that so while I think about that, here are the 3 things that I wanted to be when I was young:

1. Doctor/Pediatrician

My favorite doctor: Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd

Aaaah. Becoming a doctor. I think every kid went through the someday-i-want-to-be-a-doctor phase. I don’t know but most kids I knew and know have at least once mentioned that they wanted to be a doctor. Me? I wanted to be one because, well, I was sort of sickly back then because of my asthma so with the slightest weather change I always end up at the doctor’s office. I like my pediatrician. She was my mom’s HS classmate so I was never afraid of going to the doctor. Actually, I hate it to admit it but I still go to my pediatrician when I’m sick. Yeah, I know, I need to look for another one. Haha! Oh stop rolling your eyes at me! :))

2. Lawyer

Ally McBeal and her infamous mini skirt. 🙂

I wanted to be a lawyer. It even says so in my elementary yearbook. Even when I was a kid, I was opinionated and I talked a lot. I wasn’t defensive maybe more outspoken and I felt like it’s something that lawyers are good at, being outspoken. Or maybe because my mom watched a lot of Ally McBeal and The Practice back then. I eventually outgrew that one. Good thing though because studying law is looong and thinking about it now, law school might just bore me to death.

3. Newscaster/Weather Girl

If i’m gonna do weather, i’m definitely sticking to weather vanes and barometers!

I have a blurry memory of a skit we did for school back in 5th or 6th grade. I think we had to do a mock newscast and I remember being the weather girl. We had this big map plastered on the blackboard and I had this old TV antenna – the one that retracts with a red thing or sometimes black thing on the end – that I used to poke at the regions or make circular motions around the area where the Low Pressure Area was building. It was fun and easy. Maybe that’s why I wanted to do it plus I get to be seen on TV.

Those are some of the things that I wanted to be. When high school came, I still sort of wanted to be a newscaster but then it evolved. I got into reading books and movies. I still wanted to be in the TV business or media for that matter so I took up Mass Communication in college. Now, I think I want to be a writer. It’s something I thought about in high school. I was into reading Candy Magazines then and I thought, I want to see my name in print someday so that’s the direction that I’m trying to move forward to right now. But who knows, it might not work and maybe, just maybe, I was destined to be a weather girl after all? 🙂

5 Days at Bum City

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Five solid days of bumming around. It’s gonna be over soon because as we all know, all good things must come to an end.  When i was younger, so much younger than today (d’you sing it too? haha), Holy Week meant nothing good is on TV (wala pang cable nun) well except the 7th Heaven Marathon we watch on Studio 23 (aaaww the Campdens), staying at home and be bored because we can’t play outside because according to my Lola, God bless her soul, if you get wounded during the Holy Week it won’t heal because Christ is dead. But i knew she was pulling our legs when one Holy Wednesday during the mid 90’s my cousins and I could not resist the temptation of the smiling sun and open yard waiting for us to come and play. We defied all the Holy Week “rules” and played tumbang preso. Then just like juicy karma, the tin can flew in the air and the open side landed on my knee and there was blood. After that, I seriously thought I was gonna die of blood loss or something but then after a few weeks i learned that i shouldn’t have been worried about it not healing because it happened during Holy Week but instead i should have been worried about my parents sermon and their litany  about getting tetanus.

Fast forward to today, my Holy Week is still sort of the same. So what went down during my 5-day house arrest…er… i mean, long weekend/vacation/holy week celebration?

Day 1

I finally got around to cleaning my room. 🙂 That made me, especially my mom, very happy. Threw out all the junk and my study table now looks more like a study table and less of a land fill. I can now see my books in their neat rows. 🙂

Day 2

Went to church and did the Way of the Cross and learned to braid my hair. Can you see it? I’m starting to get bored.

Day 3

My parents are starting to drive me crazy. My cousins are all out of town, so the 4 of us are left in the house. I guess, it’s been a really long time since the four of us had the house to ourselves (we usually have a lot of people around. our house is sometimes like an orphanage or half way house. we have relatives… lots of em). Just to get away, i decided to clean out my closet…

Garage sale anyone?

Because i am seriously about to loose my mind, i had to call my friends and hang out to keep me sane…

Breakfast sa Gabi kasama ang tropa. 🙂


Wouldn't be complete without the DVDs

No tambay is complete without pigging out. :9

Day 4

I finally finished reading 1 of the 3 books i started this year… YAY!

It's best to ask Hector. 🙂

This one’s next on my book list…

Found this book and saw that the author was Pinay so i HAVE TO read it. 🙂 Pinoy Pride... hopefully. 🙂

Most importantly i found a new love…

Ben & Jerry's is LOVE. ❤

Day 5

The last day of my fleeting vacation. BOO!

Sitting in front of my laptop and recounting the things i did during the past few days, I can’t help but think about how I missed being a bum. No alarm clocks, hurried showers, early morning traffic, i don’t even have to dress up. Best part of this vacation would probably be the quiet time to think. Believe it or not, i found time to think and reflect. We’ll all be snapping back to reality in a few hours but at least we’re recharged and ready to brave through the long hours in the office.


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