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All Saints' Day Celebration
Saturday, November 01, 2008
We woke up early today just so we can be at the cemetery at six in the morning. Me and hubby prefer to be there early as it would be too hot when the sun is up. My mom who celebrated the occasion this time with us just can't believe that there are already a number of people at that time. She used to go to the cemetery at nine or ten in the morning.

By the time we are ready to leave, that is after offering prayers and flowers to our dead relatives (up to my great great grandparents), there was already plenty of people around and I was beginning to feel the heat. Our prayers would be interrupted every now and then by people greeting us, mostly patients and old acquaintances.

It is tradition also to offer prayers for the dead at home together with relatives and friends. The host family should be ready with a variety of kakanin (cooked glutinous rice with coconut cream and sugar as the basic ingredients) to be served as snacks after the hour-long prayer. Today I prepared inlube (smoked glutinous rice cooked in coconut cream and sugar, picture here) and nilatikan (glutinous rice with caramelized sugar topping). I am also anticipating that some relatives would like to stay over until lunch so I also prepared something that every body love - pork and chicken adobo.

I know of some people who do not agree at all with all these traditions - going to the cemetery to visit the dead relative on November 1, praying and offering flowers on this day when one can do it at any time of the year. Very true. But then when a person lives in a place away from where the dead was buried, visiting will be a problem if there is no holiday that would free us from work.

I believe that the occasion does not only entail us to visit the dead and offer prayers. It is also a time when public cemeteries are cleaned, tombs repainted, and memories rekindled.

Happy Halloween!


posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 9:15 AM   0 comments
Experiences with the Unknown
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I don't exactly know what to call them - ethereal beings, ghosts, or spirits.But I am reminded of them whenever I stay in a hotel, for it is there where I often encounter them. And sometimes in our own house. I believe that in every place there is this "someone" who watches over it. That is why we pray for these souls for them to find peace.

No, I don't actually see them. But I know when there is one in a place, for I can feel "it". It is the feeling of being watched, of having a silent companion, of a presence. Luckily, I have yet to encounter one who makes sounds or moves objects. That will surely cause me to flee, the fastest I can ever imagine.

My colleagues have already told me a lot of stories regarding their own eerie experiences in Subic hotels. In one, a couple, both doctors, left their three kids in the hotel while attending a conference. Their kids had a great time playing with kids from the next room. Upon arrival at the hotel that night, the couple heard from the kids how they enjoyed playing with their new friends - the kids from the next room. The following day, the kids were already looking for their friends even before the couple could leave for the day's conference. They were knocking on their neighbor's door but nobody answers. In desperation, they asked their parents to ask the hotel management if the next-room occupants had already left. They were told that they were the only occupants of that floor since they arrived.

Another story, also in a hotel in Subic. A group of medical representatives checked-in in a hotel to attend a company meeting the following day. Two of them were assigned to a room. They were both tired from the day's work and from the long travel so they decided at once to bathe then sleep early. Apparently, the one who asked to bathe first changed his mind without telling the other. He went outside instead to have a smoke. The one who was left inside the room was getting impatient why his partner had to take a bath that long. He was hearing the shower being turned on and off, the water splattering, and other sounds we normally hear when one is in the shower. He then decided to text his partner to ask him what' s keeping him from getting out of the shower and to tell him to make it quick and finish it. Immediately he received an answer: "Pare, nandito ako sa labas nagyoyosi."(Friend, I am here outside having a smoke.) He hastily gathered his things, ran outside and went home that very night.

It was also a nighttime in May when me and hubby arrived in a hotel in Subic. I jokingly asked the attendant if there are spirits around before we were shown to our room. He answered that there are none of those in the length of his stay in the hotel. My hubby had to attend a dinner meeting that night upon our arrival so I have no choice but to be left alone in the room. I tried to busy myself and divert my mind to other things by watching TV, unpacking, getting ready to bed. But I can really feel that I was not alone. As I have said I do not see but I can feel. In the corner of the room was a table and a chair, and that's where I can feel it. I tried to turn up the volume of the TV but it didn't help. So, I turned it off and I started talking. I was telling that I was not a threat, that I was just there to have a place to stay only for two days, and I was asking for peace during our stay. I then recited the Holy Rosary aloud. After which I did not feel anything anymore up to the time we went home.

How about you? Do you have experiences of this sort?

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 3:55 PM   5 comments
About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
See my complete profile
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