All Saints Day in the Philippines

All Saints Day (November 1st) in the Philippines is a significant event. It’s a day to honour the dead, remember friends and family, as well as express gratitude to ancestors and those who made sacrifices for the future of the family.

All Saints Day 2017: Jerry lights a candle and places flowers on his mother’s grave.

Visiting the cemetery with flowers, painting grave sites and renewing headstones are all important parts of All Saints Day. Many family members will spend the entire day at the grave of their loved ones; like Jerry’s cousins who were busy attending to the family burial sites when we arrived this morning to visit his mother.

Fresh flowers and a candle for Jerry’s mother today.

Jerry’s uncle (the brother of his mother) has died just recently and his two sons (first cousins of Jerry) were busy painting all the graves as well as ensuring the candles remained alight the whole day.

What you can’t see in the photos are the makeshift stalls of opportunistic sellers between the graves, groups of tombs and mausoleums. You can buy candles, matches, soft drinks and snacks, smoothies, toys, candies, flowers and heaps of other stuff all through the cemetery. I also didn’t photograph the police, army, district officials and traffic controllers all stationed throughout the site. Yes there were that many people in the cemetery!

It’s an emotional day but there is something binding in the anticipation of this day across the whole country, in the collective energy of prayer and remembrance for the people that once were.

© 2017 Melinda J. Irvine


All Saints Day is also known as “The Day of the Dead”.

5 responses to “All Saints Day in the Philippines”

  1. Kay Peterkin Avatar
    Kay Peterkin

    That’s just so wonderful to hear Melinda. We like Susan also love to hear your stories.

    1. Melinda J. Irvine Avatar
      Melinda J. Irvine

      Thank you Kay for your lovely message. Mel xx

  2. […] her life Day of the Dead floral […]

  3. Susan W Goldstein Avatar

    I love reading about you & Jerry!

    1. Melinda J. Irvine Avatar
      Melinda J. Irvine

      Thanks Susan, will keep posting. One day when Jerry is an adult he’ll have a wonderful history of his life.

      Also Jerry has relatives scattered all over the Philippines, most especially one sister who lives in Manila. She is only 21 and has worked as a domestic helper since her mother died when she was just 15. Her employer is sponsoring her education and enrolled her in Grade 7 (first year high school not sure of the US equivalent). She attends school alongside the 12 and 13 year old kids and cleans house when not studying.

      Anyway every story I write about Jerry’s life is also for his family and his sister Babylyn who loves her little brother so very much.

      All our love.

      Mel and Jerry ss