How many Filipinos mark the Day of the Dead
My notes about Undas in the Philippines comes from my interest in different cultures. In this case, it is a look at the influence of Western and European occupation of the Philippines in the past. Many of us in the West observe Halloween. However All Saints Day and All Souls Day are more important for Filipinos. Below are two links to articles about the history of Undas:
Many cemeteries in the Philippines are much different from those I have been to here in the U.S. For instance, in the City of Cavite, Southwest of Manila, all of the bodies are placed in above ground tombs. The city is a peninsula extending into Manila Bay, and floods during extreme high tides.
Preparing for Undas
In the last days of October, Filipino families often visit the gravesite(s) of ancestors to clean and paint the tombs. One interesting aspect of this preparation is that individuals who we would consider to be homeless are allowed to set up simple shelters to live in some cemeteries. Families may hire them to do the actual cleaning and painting. The men you see in the video below live in the cemetery.
In comparison to colorful Hispanic decorations for Dia de Los Muertos, Undas calls for simple items at the tomb. Families place white candles and flowers.