Thursday, October 06, 2005


Tita Etta Simbulan died last night at midnight. May her soul rest in peace. At least she's free now from her suffering. She had cancer. She was 49.

I saw some very Filipino customs at the wake and i'd like to share some of them. One of my favorite quotes is "Funerals are for the people left behind, for closure."

The Ilokanos tie a red string around their wrist when a loved one dies, not to be removed for nine days after the death. On the ninth day, they cut the string and burn it, cutting their bond to the dead person, so the person can go freely and not be tied down to them anymore. It is a symbolic "Letting Go."

The Chinese believe anything to do with death is bad luck. So as much as possible you aren't supposed to go straight home from a wake or a funeral. Instead, you must pass by a store or a restaurant in order to "unload" the malas.

We pass the youngest member of the family over the casket of the deceased to prevent the soul from haunting them. We also put chicks on the coffin's glass. I forgot why.

It is customary to hand over an amount of cash to the bereaved family, called "Abuloy." It made me think about how death has always been more expensive than life.


tobie said...

My condolences, Isha.
She is in a better place now.
And she watches over your family now.

Shiro said...

condolence ish...

you're ilocano, too? hee.

Norman said...


isha said...

Nope, am from Cebu. She's the wife of my dad's frat brod. :(

Chad said...

My condelences, Raine. I'm sorry to hear about your loss.