In the Philippines, honoring the dead is called Undas, popularly known as All Souls' Day. Though it isn't celebrated globally, in the Philippines it is among the significant religious traditions being a predominantly Christian country. Find out how the Filipinos honor the departed loved ones on this November 2nd-holiday.
Located in the heart of the old, busy Manila City is the Bulaklakan ng Maynila or widely called Dangwa. Business at the flower market blooms as Undas nears. All roads lead to this flower market during the holidays (like Mother's Day, Valentines, and All Souls' Day). One will find discovery a variety of the cheapest and freshest flowers from provinces across the country like Baguio, Batangas, Davao, and Tagaytay, to those from countries like Thailand, Holland, China, and Ecuador. With some shops offering flower arrangement services for various occasions, it's no wonder this market is a favorite. Known for its good value, Dangwa is one of the best choices when buying flowers during Undas, however as the demand increase so does its price. Apart from fresh flowers, the prices of candles—scented or unscented, also rise.
Filipinos travel back home to their provinces or cities since November 1-2 are non-working holidays. The memorial parks are flocked with visitors as families and friends camp out overnight - usually staying up and sharing memories or scary stories while enjoying some packed foods. The supposedly gloomy atmosphere transforms into a somewhat warming sight as families gather together while thousands of candles light up the night and the fresh scent of flowers floats in the air. Being one of the most remembered holidays, the Undas, or Todos Los Santos as it is also known, it shows a strong representation of the close-knit family character of the Filipino culture, whether in this life or the next.
While others join the tradition, many others have a different way of practicing it. With the huge influx of travelers, some come to honor their late loved ones early in the morning to avoid the big crowd and then take time offering prayers or mass on the day itself.
Some of the government's preparations to ensure the safety and security in preparation for the Undas include deployment of thousands of traffic personnel and police officers within the metro, along the roads and crowd-filled places such as the bus terminals and airports; establishing diversion routes to avoid congestion on the road; and strict implementation of rules while at the cemeteries.
Though it may seem like a regular way of remembering the dead, to the Philippines' Undas is a reflection the Filipino culture's devotion to both Christianity and familial bonds.