Life, Death, Hope & Options.. in the Philippines

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69 comments

  1. im like u henry , ashes to the ocean that’s it if I die in states or in phil its all the same . I have a fund to pay for it . my kids are fine with it and my gf is too , I wont leave anyone with that expense , my grand father is buried and no one really visits his grave because of whatever reasons they have . mostly too far to travel . 

  2. Good video Henry it nice to see people remembering their love ones in a very affectionate way and bringing the families together again so the young can get to know some thing about them   🙂  take care friend 

  3. Hey Henry Not a lot of post on this one, people all over the world have “different” views about the death.  I have been to the Philippines and experience All Saints November 1st with a very close friend and her family.  Having an open mind about different cultures allows us to gain a greater understanding of each other.     

  4. Very important topic. I concur with your observations. It is a wonderful party and a time to remember those who have passed.
    I have also walked through some cemeteries over the years. I appreciate the history and often imagine the lives that those who have passed have lead.
    I highly recommend visiting the american cemetery in Manila. Very historic and powerful place.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Been to the rich Chinese cemetery in Manila?

    Appeared in Mcguinness book of world records and in Ripley’s Believe it or not. Described by some as ostentatious display of wealth. Yes, in a country where 70% of the population is living below the poverty line.

    In a seminar once attended, we were told to write down what eulogy we’d like to have when we’re already inside the casket. Asked myself, “Do I really care”? Hehe

    1. @Syd Ray it was either this music or “slow dive” by siouxie & the banshees. but they have the copyright, so i went with public domain theme. 🙂

  6. We have all born witness to your final wishes lol. A question now about the All Saints/All Souls gatherings on Mactan.  All those people, all that food – what kind of arrangements were in place to facilitate resultant bodily functions?

    1. @Curt R. they had a line of porta-johns, thankfully. 🙂 but the holiday is celebrated across the entire PH. cemeteries are THE place to be the first two nights of november. i’d like to attend one in cebu sometime. the bigger cemeteries is where the local restos will have canopies up.. so you get to try out everything from pizza to lechon to shwarmas and mango shakes. 😀

  7. Hi Henry,
    A little visit to mortality and morbidity.
    We should all make arrangements for our departure and at an early age, say 21 or so. That leaves no room for doubt for our families as to our final wishes.
    I had a will drawn up the first time I went ocean sailing, I was 42 at the time.
    All life is choice, except death. In that there is no choice.
    Take care,
    Fred

  8. Hi Henry,,my favorite poem comes to mind The Dash…where the born and death date doesn’t mean much it’s the dash in between that matters 🙂 many people I chat have never heard of that poem.it’s worth reading if you haven’t yet…

  9. “Their time has sort of run out”.  I should say so.  How much more “run out” can you get but be in your final resting place (lol).  That cemetery was very nicely kept but only you there to enjoy the surroundings.  North Americans, on the whole, live in a death-denying culture, hence all the craze on appearing youthful, botox, plastic surgery; and chasing after youth in all its manifestations.  We are sure to die, every one of us so accept it.  Enjoy life fully, make a will, buy your plot and make your arrangements so as not to give the people left behind too much trouble and expense and then forget about it……………..

    1. @linda brown it might have been in “carlito’s way” (or other al pacino movie), where he says, “Every day above ground is a good day.” (frankie & johnny, maybe?) anyway, ‘technically the people in their tombs in the PH are still ‘above ground’, but that doesn’t help much at this point. the key thing is, as you said.. to live life fully, now.

    1. @morefeouse me too. partly because i don’t want my family to feel any need to ‘visit’ a place where i am no longer there. i would rather they just think of me wherever they are living their daily life. 🙂

  10. I like to visit the graveyards in the Philippines too. I go with my wife when she burns candles at the grave of her first husband.  There are aunts, uncles, cousins “stacked” close together.   There are three or four families that have many intermarriages and they are close together in the graveyard.  Catholic believe departed saints can see and hear  us often I think.   Life after death and being a part of Christ’s church  has been an important part of Catholic Filipino’s  understanding of death.  

    When I was younger I used to ride my bicycle on long trips on Indian reservations in the USA. I would often stop and read the gravestones of ghost towns….Always amazed at young people would die back in the 1800s.

  11. We inherited this custom from the Mexicans. As you may know during the Spanish Galleon Trade era the Spaniards would take along native people from what was then the New World, especially those who they considered to be troublemakers, on their way to the Philippines and disperse them among the Philippine natives. On the trip back they would do the same with the Philippine natives and disperse them among the Mexican natives. I say Philippine natives because the Spaniards have a four-level hierarchy during the Spanish colonial times in the Philippines: Full-blooded Spaniards born in Spain (Spaniards a.k.a. Peninsulares) were at the top, full-blooded Spaniards born in the Philippines (Filipinos a.k.a. Insulares) were second, natives of the islands (Indios) were third level, and the bottom level were the Chinese who were living in the islands.

    1. @LifeBeyondTheSea – Philippines
      When I was younger I didn’t understand why in some places in the Philippines cemeteries were called ‘sementeryo’ and in some places they were called ‘panchon’. I thought the word ‘panchon’ was borrowed from the Chinese as it kinda sound like Chinese. But when I arrived here in the U.S. I heard Mexicans call cemeteries ‘panteón’. it was a light bulb moment for me =)

    2. @BobagemLixo in mexico it is called, ‘dia de los muertos’ (day of the dead). there the families will take food to the cemeteries and leave some behind, along with skulls made from sugar. usually the kids and transients come by later to feast on it. 🙂 but it seems to be a dying tradition, at least along the Frontiera/Border areas i used to travel. maybe it is still practiced in larger numbers further south into mexico.

  12. Henry, you and I are very much alike. I have told my wife that I wish to be cremated after I pass. I have heard that it is more expensive here in the Philippines, is this true? At least that is what my Filipina wife says. I know in the States its pretty cheap to do. And the best thing is that part can be flown back to the States with my daughters and the rest can stay here in the Philippines with my family here. I just Love it here. I have to head back to the States for 10 days and I dont want to leave, but at least I already have my return tickets purchased. One question, my wife says that I do not need round trip tickets because I am returning with her on Balikbayan Visa, is this true??? I told her that I think I need to buy at least onward tickets to somewhere to show I have tickets to leave the Philippines. When I came this last time they did not even ask me for onward tickets. Maybe they were tired, it was 3 in the morning after all. Ha! Love your videos. Mine are not as good as yours but check them out, just started.

    1. Thanks Henry, your the best. I learned about the throw away ticket from you on your video. I just need to prove that I have an onward ticket out. My wife of coarse needs nothing because she is still holding a Philippines Passport. I hate to go but at least I will be back on March 2nd for sure since I have already purchased our tickets coming back here. Did you get a chance to check out my vids, not as good as yours of coarse, They are a little rough around the edges I guess you could say, but I am sure I will improve with time.Being comfortable in front of a camera is very important.
      Keep up the good work.

    2. @The Philippine Experience unless you already have the balikbayan visa WITH YOU upon arrival to the PH, it would be best to have an ongoing (throwaway) ticket so that you can enter the PH with no issues. the won’t accept a verbal promise from you that you will be ‘getting’ a balikbayan visa later. you can get a cheap ticket online from Clark airfield to Malaysia for about $40 online. it’s well worth it. i have seen testimonies of two guys on facebook who did NOT have an ongoing ticket and were turned around upon arrival to the PH, forced to leave and go back home.

  13. what a subject to cover, but its reality ,  Good Insight on the subject Henry,  i being hispanic, as i know you are as well,  we dont celebrate it but we are aware of of those days even here in the USA.( Saints and Souls Day). But unfortunately,  everyones time runs out sooner or later, its part of the human evolution process….. but the music is deaf defying,  i thought i was watching  ”  The Omen”   hahahaha,,  

  14. We human beings come into this world alone and we leave alone ….We are subconsciously denying death on a daily basis!….Nice video….”the denial of death” written by Ernest Becker is also a good read ….Henry!

  15. Live life while you can Henry, no one gets out alive!  
    I think with age comes a sense of mortality
    It is the one thing that ensures a long life, age I mean. lol

    Seriously though any idea what a plot and a decent crypt and burial would cost there?
    If I EVER get there I like the idea of an above ground crypt should I run out of age while I’m there

    Thanks Henry you & Ned really give us dreamers and planners a leg up on what it takes and what to expect of a life in the Philippines. (can’t learn it in 3-4 weeks)

    Yall really are modern day trail blazers
    Many have gone before but few have shared their experiences like you two
    Your time & efforts are appreciated
    Ever think of visiting properties for sale there in and around Dumaguete and posting on Youtube? Bet it’d be big!

    Don

  16. Good Video, I do the same and roam about these places and sort of find them peaceful and centering, The experience puts things into perspective for me and I focus on the moment and realize we have time as our limit but so many other options open up when one reflects about all the different lives represented in the space you roam about. 

  17. henry doesn’t your family practice todo el dia de almas.I try not to go back to texas during first week of november. Always had to go to spanish mass and than to cemetery. Although it isn’t a festival like it seems in p.i.. Please keep the great videos coming.
    Ps have you ever seen the movie “Blood in blood out”? Great mexican movie staring benjamin brat

  18. Henry,
    I intend to move to  Naval Biliran early next year, are there any things I should be aware of before I move over?  I have some info from the embassy but as you have been there for over two years you might be able to help me, Thanks,,, Brian

  19. What is the state of health care in Dumaguete? How would a foreigner go about handling a medical emergency? Is there a “911” (doubt it)?
    Are there any good hospitals? ANy heads-up would be appreciated? 
    Really appreciate your island work Henry…Take care and see you soon!!!

  20. I must be one of those twisted MO FO’s also, Brother Henry.  Whenever I need to do some thinking (EXTREMELY dangerous), I always head for the solace of the ‘yard.  I can always get my head together after a few hours there.  

    On the plus side, very rarely does anybody answer me back or otherwise disturb me! 

  21. Hey Henry,
    I’ve been a little busy with life after returning from the Philippines and thought this episode was better suited to tell you a little bit about my personal journey to the Philippines.

    Shortly after arriving in Manila with my girlfriend and her family after midnight, we decided to head to her brothers house, which happened to be he family house just outside of Manilla. Turn out her brother was ill and receiving in home treatment. He had heart issues before but kept his condition a secret until the family all arrived. Seemed he was holding on until everyone arrived. We were all shocked to see how poor his health was. By day two of our journey he had passed away. This was completely unexpected, the family was devastated with grief. It was truly amazing to see how the family had pulled together and gave an incredible send off. At the memorial, which lasted 4 days and nights non-stop, every family member, friend, coworker, or anyone that knew him at all were allowed to pay there respects. There was food, drink, people sang songs, shared stories, it was amazing! Truly a tribute to the life of someone dear to this family. A Catholic Church ceremony and burial on the faith and final day. So much love…

    After the burial we picked up where we left off and continued our vacation. I’ll never forget my Journey to the Philippines.

    1. Yeah, it was indeed quite the experiance. In addition to that on the flight over to the Philippines I picked up a bug and had a horrible cough that quickly turned into pneumonia. So for the majority of the trip I suffered however I was still able to find moments of pure bliss. Boracay proved to be my saving grace. Such a beautiful place.
      We also spent a few days in Tagaytay, it was pleasantly cool and the air was much cleaner. Nice little getaway from the hustle and bustle of Manila. If you ever do head up that way I highly recommend Balinsasayaw Silang. Nipa hut dining at its best. Food and prices were exceptional!

  22. Reekay, this is surely one of your most important & moving videos.  Whenever I walk in a cemetry, it puts my own life into perspective.  Sadly, when I exit the gates, I quickly forget my mortality.  (maybe I should visit cemetries more regularly!).  BTW.., as you probably noticed, they are real havens for nature, esp.birds.  Thanks again.

    1. yes. from what iv’e gathered here and there, in the $300 range. depends too if cremated or buried. burial is for 3 year lease usually, then family needs to pay again to keep you there.

    1. LifeBeyondTheSea – Philippines I think maybe being an country down there and having a better understanding of the culture would most definitely help anyway I enjoy your videos my friend God bless and be safe

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