Celebrating Life and Family on All Souls’ Day

Sunday was All Souls’ Day.  On this day, as well as November 1st, Filipinos remember the faithfully departed and flock to cemeteries and columbariums to spend the day with their family and friends. 

It has often been wondered why the living seem to always feast during this festival for the dead. Some people don’t understand the need for a celebration

In truth, I didn’t fully appreciate it either, until recently. 

Since as far back as I could remember, my family and I would go to Caloocan to my paternal grandmother’s house in on November 1st so my Dad could visit his dad’s grave. The next day, we would all go with the rest of the family on my mom’s side, along with other families in our community, to South Cemetery to pray at my older brother’s grave.

My dad never really brought me to the cemetery where my grandfather was buried – it was always packed full of people and it would have been easy to lose kids amidst the chaos that the cemetery was on November 1st. When his remains were moved to my grandmother’s gravesite, I was already in highschool then, that was the only time that I was really able to say I visited his grave. 

The visits to the South Cemetery were always solemn. Since the plot where my older brother (who died when he was just eleven days old) is buried in is leased by the Church, his neighbors there are also other Church members (some of whom are probably distant relatives of ours). We would always have a priest along with us for those visits. The priest would lead the prayers, and we would sing a hymn or two. Some of the families (and probably my Lola too) would bring cold water/juice and light snacks that we all could partake of before we leave and head back home. 

It was an outing definitely, a commemoration of life. (more…)

Scrapbook Saturday #12 and other Halloween night ramblings

Scrapbook Saturday

Here are two layouts I made earlier this week:

[Photos are clickable for the credits but please leave comments about the layouts in this post ;)]

These are still going into the mini-album of my girlfriends’ day out back in August. Hopefully I’ll be done before Christmas! Haha. 🙂

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Scrapbook Saturday gang, starting at Mammadawg’s place. Also checkout my previous SS posts here if you haven’t seem them yet 🙂

Oh, it is Digital Scrapbooking Day (DSD) in digital scrapbooking land! Visit digiscrapping sites to get a huge fixing of DSD goodness, there are many links in this page, but not all may have goodies up okay. A good place to start though would be the Sunshine Blog for their Halloween Blog Train.

Halloween Night Ramblings

Last night, I logged on thinking of posting about the Halloween Party we had for the kids in this compound (plus some of their friends).  But no matter how much fun we had at the party – both kids and adults alike – the fun isn’t what’s foremost in my mind to blog about. 


Monday SleepFest!

The kids are on their week-long break and I am so green with envy! 

Here I am pining because the weekend is over. It’s almost 5AM on a Tuesday, and I am due back at work by 2PM. I feel like I wasted Monday; since I slept through most of the day, it wasn’t really wasted. Sleeping just kept me from doing other things. Haha.

Alfred was already back from his Sunday night shift when I eventually went to bed at 7AM yesterday. I scrapped two more layouts after the one two posts down. I was thrilled! I’ll keep my layouts on reserve until Saturday though so I can be on time posting for SS, for a change. 🙂 I hope I can scrap more this week, because I really want to move on to other photos.

My nephew Esban was sent up to my room to wake me up at almost 4PM! I haven’t had a full eight hours of sleep in a LONG time! And having E wake me up was a treat too. He used to do that all the time. I had asked him if we were going to make invites or an announcement for the Halloween party. He immediately volunteered to make them! He took my multi-colored pencil and a piece of white paper, and went on to write down his cousins’ and neighbors’ names. We’ll have ten kids ranging from four to fourteen years old this year. 

The names took up all of his front page. Oh, did I mention that he spelled out most of them on his own? He only asked for help for about three names – he wasn’t sure about Butchik, Shanti, and Claire. At the back, he drew ghosts, and then wrote down the date and time for the party – October 31, 2008, 7PM. He added trees too!

When he was done he rushed down to show the others; he only came back briefly to borrow a ruler, and to let me know that he and his ate were making more invitations that they would deliver to each household. I’m glad those two are excited about it.

We also made plans to see High School Musical 3 with him this week. I’m just not sure exactly what day we’ll get to go. It will all depend on what time I wake up. If I don’t sleep anymore today, or if I sleep now and get up by 9, we can go by 11AM; that should still give me time to be at work by 2.

Anyway, having slept that long yesterday, one would think that I won’t be sleepy again for at least the next eight hours right? Well, one would be wrong to think so! Rather than enjoying watching the teleseryes during Primetime Bida, I was drifting in and out of sleep! I’m not sure I finished Kahit Isang Saglit at all, the last scene I remember seeing was Christopher De Leon crying at Eunice’s grave. Oh well, I was out until an hour ago.

Hay. When I get back to work, I’d be back to thinking about the future again. So many changes are happening and those changes directly affect me. I’m not sure what will happen this week but now I know – I am SURE that I want to stay put, if what I want really mattered.

Seeing Home

I belong to a Yahoogroup of mostly women who spend a lot of their time on their computer – both on- and offline. A lot of them create tags using PaintShop Pro; they would then offer those tags up and group members can have their name put on them, for free. Like this one:

I am in three groups now. One is a group owned by a tagger, and I am just there to snag. The other is a sharing group where I get most of my freebie fonts and other graphics files. I joined that one so I can have something to share in this third group. Group number three is open to both taggers and snaggers, but tags aren’t the only things shared. There are sub-groups or committees in T4S, much like an organization. There are groups for people wanting to learn PSP, and a support group for those who want to lose weight, a recipe sharing circle, among others.

The first group I ever joined some three or four years ago was Friend2Friend. F2F was not just about the graphics files, it was really a community of women from all over the world. To this day, I’m not much of a forum person because I got so used to just logging on to my email and seeing all the chatter from women of all ages and from all over. 

Although most of the women in the group were much older in years, and led very different lives from mine, I felt that I truly belonged there. That I had found friends. For the past three years, I always receive a lot of interesting Christmas cards posted from the other side of the world. I only resigned from the group because I didn’t have time to perform “duties” as a leader of one of its committees, and eventually I couldn’t be an active member. Perhaps it’s time to think about rejoining. 

Anyway, it was through F2F that I first learned about PaintShop Pro. I signed up for the PSP Workshop and went through tutorials that taught me the basics of the software. There was always someone available to help you out with a software question, specially when you were dealing with the weekly assignment. 

Whew, I had no intentions to reminisce about F2F. What I really wanted to share was this photo that I recently received from one of the groups. It reminded me of Auntie Nellie’s house in Bangaan (in Sagada, Mt.Province):

I seriously don’t know why I don’t have a picture of her house that shows her lovely front yard that’s as filled with color as this artwork is. Maybe I do but I’ll have to search for it.

I’m not sure that I ever had a picture in my mind of the house that I’d like to grow old in. But I think it pretty much looks like this.  Mind you, I have no green thumb, so I have no idea how I could get a lovely garden. But since I am dreaming, it’s not impossible.

I’d always thought that the sala or living room would be the central part of my house, just as it is in my parents’ house. We are a family who spend their time at night gathered around the TV. We don’t hie off to our rooms until bedtime. Lately though, when Alfred and I discussed future homes, we kinda agreed that the kitchen would probably eat up a lot of the space. He would cook, I would bake. So maybe the kitchen will be the central space in this, our house. I can’t wait to map it out how it will look, and to pick the many appliances we’ll be needing. 🙂

When we were building this house at 19th street, where we all still live, everyone was involved in choosing the furnishings. There were times that we’d go to the builder’s depot as a family, just to pick out the bathroom faucets, kitchen sink, tiles and even paint. I actually enjoyed those times. I didn’t mind at all. If we do decide to move in to the condo instead of renting it out, I know I will have fun fixing it up. Unless the cost frustrates me, that is.

Me. Family. Others.

I had a good rant yesterday but I still didn’t get right down to the bottom line. It seems that I am easily derailed from my original line of thought. I get easily distracted these days.

My mind is working overtime – I have so many ideas and so many things I want to do. It’s like hearing voices in your head and you don’t know who to listen to first.

So what is the bottom line? I guess it’s that I am not involved in something bigger than myself. It’s that whatever I do now, it’s all just for myself mainly. I can’t even really say I am helping my family.

I’ve had it so easy. My parents were always able to provide for us. The one time or another that we’ve been in crisis – I didn’t truly feel it. They’ve never really put the burden on my brother or on me, to take over support of the entire family. There never really was that pressure. Okay, so maybe I had it easier than my brother did.

When I took my first job with the NGO, I was never required to give any portion of my salary to the family. Except to pay for the water bill – which isn’t that big. Well, for one, my pay – there really wasn’t that much of it. I knew that my mom would’ve just preferred that I save the extra that I got. Which I didn’t do, by the way. When my brother started working at a call center, it was already clear how much of his salary was going to the family. I didn’t hear him complain though.

When it was my time to earn bigger, well, they still didn’t really require anything from me. I don’t know exactly when my dad asked me to eventually give a fixed amount to my mom on a monthly basis – but even that wasn’t strictly implemented. Mom doesn’t remind us you see. She’d take what we’d give. Oh and the amount was less than half my brother’s contribution. For awhile I paid for our ISP, because I really was using it most of the time, but even that sort of was taken out of my hands eventually.

So I was already earning as much as my brother was but he was still was the only one religiously contributing to household expenses. Yet he’s still the one who was able to save up – ugh his savings is probably ten times more than mine!

My dad sort of reminded me about this. And he really does have a point. I should pick up some of the slack (my terms not his). So for the last two months, I’ve been contributing to the family income. Still not much, but at least there’s some.

And I’m thinking of doing a little more.

I’ll probably volunteer to cover the water bill again. No way am I going to shoulder electricity – leave that to the one who has an airconditioned room. Or maybe it should be the phone/Internet bill this time around? We’ll see.

And since I am the last person to leave the house at daytime, I will clean up. Nothing too exhausting – just sweep the flour, dust the tables, and keep everything in order. That way I’ll get my brother off my back too about his having to tidy up when he gets home from work. Maybe I’d be more keen on cleaning up if we had one of those Miele vacuum cleaners. Nah, I don’t think so, not really.

Maybe when I succeed in this, when I do even just a little for my family, I’ll be able to crawl out of  my shell once again and step out onto the bigger world. Maybe then I can reconnect with others and do something for a cause that’s bigger than just myself.

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