02 November: All Souls’ Day

A 02 November 2009 entry from my daily journal:

“***02 November:  All Souls’ day.  During Lola Charing’s lifetime [ up to 02 November 1976 ], and up to 1984, All Souls’ day meant a 7:30 a.m. holy mass at the Gonzalez mausoleum at the Apalit Catholic Cemetery and afterwards a nice traditional Capampangan / Filipino breakfast prepared by Lola Ising [ Elisa Arnedo – Sazon, Lola Charing’s youngest sister ] at the [ former Buencamino – Arnedo ]  Arnedo – Espiritu / “Lolo Ariong’s” Governor Macario Arnedo’s / the Saint Peter’s Mission House in Barrio Capalangan.  No questions, no ifs or buts.  Well, THAT was another life…”

“On hindsight after all these years [ 01 November 2009 ], after the clandestine sale of the remaining Arnedo – Espiritu antiques at the [ former Buencamino – Arnedo ] Arnedo – Espiritu / “Lolo Ariong’s” Governor Macario Arnedo’s / Saint Peter’s mission house, several major pieces of which were actually Lola Charing’s inheritance which she hesitated to take from her parents’ house, in April 1984 by Tita Erlinda “Linda” Arnedo Sazon – Badenhop to the emergent Malabon collector Antonio “Tony” Gutierrez [ which inevitably resulted in rehashed, deep – seated resentments among the three Arnedo – Espiritu branches — between the Gonzalez, the Ballesteros, and the Sazon ], the Gonzalez somehow seemed less inclined to gather for the traditional breakfast in that house after the All Souls’ day holy mass at the Gonzalez mausoleum.  From 1984 onwards, Brother Andrew started adjusting the traditional All Souls’ day holy mass and breakfast to suit his constant traveling schedule [ before or after 02 November depending on his whims ] and somehow it just unraveled year after year until it was NO MORE, no longer a family tradition.  Farewell to another part of the family’s soul.”


When I was young, 02 November meant leaving the house at 6:00 a.m. sharp with the whole family for the hour-long trip to Apalit, Pampanga.  Lola Charing and Tito Hector left her house, ditto Tito Melo and Tita Leonie and their family.  And Brother Andrew from De La Salle University, sometimes with Fr. Cornelius Hulsbosch or Fr. Luke Moortgart, if the parish priest of Apalit was unavailable.

By 7:15 a.m., we had all arrived in our various cars at the Apalit Catholic Cemetery.  Lola Charing’s majordomo, Bito, had already been preparing the Gonzalez mausoleum for two days, decorating it with candles in ornate candelabra, flowers, live white Japanese chrysanthemum plants in their pots [ high style!!! ], and roses from Lola Charing’s garden, in elegant, old porcelain and silver vases.  Benches and kneelers had been borrowed from the Apalit church.  The priest would usually ask how many in the group would be receiving holy communion.  And by 7:30 a.m., the holy mass would begin.

The All Souls’ day holy mass did not take long.  It was over in half an hour, and then the priest would bless all the gravestones, with Brother Andrew directing him.  The family would exchange pleasantries, however briefly, with all the friends and the loyal old retainers who had come for the mass.  That done, we boarded our respective cars for the 15 minute trip to Barrio / Barangay Capalangan, to the old Arnedo-Espiritu residence where Lola Ising [ Lola Charing’s youngest sister ] and her family stayed, for the traditional Capampangan breakfast which all of us eagerly anticipated.

Our awaited Capampangan breakfast was served on ancient stoneware platters with a violet Greek key pattern which had been with the Arnedos for ages.  There was native chocolate, neither “eh” nor “ah,” made from homemade “tableas” and carabao’s milk, and whipped to a froth with a wooden “batirol” in an ancient brass “chocolatera”;  there was good freshly-brewed “barako” coffee;  Chinese jasmine tea;  warm carabao’s milk for the children.  There were exquisitely fresh Capalangan teeny-tiny white “puto” and glutinous “cuchinta” which we kiddies could consume by the handfuls;  Native “suman” and “kakanin” of all kinds;  “San Nicolas” and several kinds of traditional bread from the Padilla bakery in Sulipan;  “champorado” chocolate porridge for the kiddies.  There was the ubiquitous “pistou,” really a “scattered omelet” [ the eggs were mixed in with the contents ] with ground pork [ or was it ground beef? ], Spanish chorizos [ erroneously termed “de Bilbao”; actually “Cudahy” made in New Jersey, USA ], diced potatoes, green peas, garbanzos, julienned red and green peppers, etc..  Fresh “daing” dried fish.  “adobo del diablo,” twice-fried chicken and pork “adobo” stew with all the innards swimming in oil.  “pindang baka” dry beef tapa;  “kare-kare” oxtail stew.  “pindang damulag” preserved carabao beef, almost sour.  “longganisa ni Oray” vinegary and garlicky Calumpit “longganizas” which were Gonzalez family favorites from prewar;  “Hoc Shiu” Chinese ham, cooked “en dulce” style;  pork longganiza;  “burung babi” [ pork tocino ];  crisp “lechon kawali”;  and “menudo” long-simmered pork leg stew.  Served on saucers was genuine “sasa” vinegar from Hagonoy.  Traditional “pan de sal,” still big then, crusty on the outside and soft in the inside.  And of course, steaming “sinangag” rice [ steamed rice fried with garlic cloves ].  For dessert, there were native fruits of the season freshly picked from the garden, “tibuc-tibuc” [ similar to “maja blanca” ] of carabao’s milk, “leche flan” of carabao’s milk, and the ubiquitous “fruit salad” made with Nestle cream and homemade mayonnaise.  Native homemade candies.  THAT was the Gonzalez and the Arnedo idea of a big family breakfast, but really more Arnedo.  It was only during that Apalit breakfast, once a year, that Brother Andrew dispensed with his elegant and expensive European predilections and went totally native, totally Capampangan.   😛   😛   😛




  1. September 28, 2010 at 6:06 pm


    Animo La Salle!!!


    Toto G.

  2. rommel azarcon said,

    September 28, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I have very fond memories of Bro. Andrew Gonzalez and Fr. Cornelius Hulsbosch in my formative school years from 1965-1972 at De La Salle College (University) Taft. Bro. Andrew was a robust/portly bespectacled young man then who was always enthusiastic in helping students out with their mundane concerns, while Fr. Hulsbosch was the ever accommodating school chaplain who took care of our spiritual needs. I never knew they also had out of town sorties like this one you wrote about, and I guess it was a very happy occasion indeed everytime you had them come over for Nov. 2. I truly miss both of them and all the other La Salle brothers i can recall like Bro. Javier Quintos, Crescentius Richard, Valentius Fidelis (our principal then), and the rest whose names escape me now that I’m 51and still very happy with fond recollections of my childhood.

  3. June 22, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Maria Luisa:

    I transferred your interesting comment to the blog posts “La Naval de Manila at the Santo Domingo Church” and “The Families of Old Binondo” where it truly belongs.


    Toto Gonzalez

  4. Jane Po said,

    December 4, 2009 at 5:46 am

    so nice to read about Imang Eli (your Lola Ising). she was married to my mom’s first cousin, Tatang Ato Sazon and was quite close to my dad, as they considered themselves the Apalit contingent during family reunions. she was one truly funny lady.

  5. November 18, 2009 at 8:32 am

    The Chinese Cemetery nearby is quite intact without too much urban poor squalor.

    Quite lovely to look at: Art Deco Chinoiserie and Baroque de Chine.

    TOTO, thank you for always editing my spelling, structure, et. al. You are MY Thelma San Juan in your blog.

  6. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    November 18, 2009 at 4:26 am

    Those Oriol Carrara marble lapidas were exquisite, three-dimensional, one of a kind now buried deep in cement.

    One on my grandmother’s ( Angeles ) side had a poignant verse in Spanish written by the bereaved widower.

    they should have informed the families and perhaps they would have gladly excavated them before they made the irreversible decision of cementing the ground..
    we were terribly shocked to find out they just poured concrete over the lahar to be able to still use the church.
    I wonder if someone has a photo of those.

    My aunt, Amb. Carmen Buyson’s mausoleum had the more than life size carrara marble statue of Mater Dolorosa from Oriol, imported from Italy..
    The surviving sister, Pilar Villarama had the remains exhumed and re-interred them in the Villarama mausoleum in Manila Memorial Park.
    Now only the top of the mausoleum is visible in the Bacolor cemetery..
    The statue was retrieved intact and brought to the Villarama resthouse in Baliuag.

    The Eusebios of San Fernando had that too, dressing up the cadaver on Todos Los Santos until before the war when the family decided to stop the tradition.
    Eventually the remains were placed under the main altar of the parish church, a special privilege then.

    Neighbors who dropped by our place were Chayong Manuel, Goring Blanco, Mayor de Jesus.
    It was revealing to know that Ms. Manuel was once the Ms. Pampanga.
    My older cousins would ask Pipo to bring over the apos of Lucing Panlilio whom they found adorable.. The boys were all chubby and playful. The younger one would chase the older and pull down his shorts, all the while the older one would be yelling, to the glee of everyone.
    That must have been Joey Panlilio.

  7. November 18, 2009 at 2:12 am


    Those are such nice memories of “Todos los Santos” in Bacolor… thanks!!!

    I had already forgotten the terms “burung babi” and “pindang damulag.” Thanks for recalling them.

    Now I’ve never had “halo-halo” with “tibuc-tibuc”!!! It must be yummy!!!

    Yes, I remember those beautiful Carrara marble gravestones from the rival ateliers of Oriol and Pedro de Jesus which lined the length of Bacolor Church.

    I also remember that whole wall in the Epistle transept of the church mostly occupied by the remains of various members of the Joven clan.

    Joey Panlilio took me around the “cementerio” in 1988… We peered into a well-maintained mausoleum which had a bigger-than-lifesize Carrara marble image of Our Lady of Lourdes. I wonder if that was salvaged after the lahar?

    How come there are really those stories of cadavers being “dressed up” for All Souls’ Day in Pampanga in PreWar and the 1800s? They have that story about my grandfather D. Augusto Gonzalez in Apalit. There is also that story about Da. Gavina Medina [ ancestress of the Medina-Samia-Santos family ] in Arayat. Strange…

    I remember that Spanish era “capilla de rotonda” mortuary chapel. It was s-c-a-r-y. 😛

    I guess we all miss the Bacolor we knew…

    Toto Gonzalez

  8. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    November 17, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    As kids in the 60’s, we looked forward to “Todos los Santos” in Bacolor.
    The trip from New Manila to Bacolor took almost two hours via the MacArthur hi-way.

    First stop was “Jack’s” restaurant after the imposing Bonifacio Monument. “Jack’s” had a gas station and there was a large colorful parrot there which we enjoyed talking to. The restaurant served a big sized juicy hamburger with the usual trimmings.

    We knew we were in Pampanga the moment we hit the bridge in San Fernando before the parish church. The “calesas” slowed down traffic. After entering the street where the old houses were, the next stop was “Allies.” The dry roasted cashew and peanuts were new then.
    After which we entered a road near the capitolio where we bought the espasol.
    Passing by PASUDECO, on to Bacolor. Then detoured to Cabalantian for the tamales and suman.

    Lunch at the ancestral house in Bacolor was like a picnic. Each family brought it’s own water jugs, flatwares, napkins, etc. from Manila.
    The house was spic and span though, thanks to the faithful caretakers who spurced up the place for that day.

    For lunch, we immensely enjoyed the deep-fried native “hito,” the grilled large “dalag” eaten with “mustasa” and “balo-balo.” There was “burung babi,” “pindang damulag,” “pancit luglug,” “kilayin,” “betute,” “bola-bola,” “chicharon” from Guagua.
    It was a superb cook from the palengke who provided most of our favorite dishes.
    The “halo-halo” with “tibuk-tibok” was memorable!

    By 3 p.m., we proceeded to the “cementerio.” We went inside the parish church to say a prayer by the lapidas by Oriol of our ancestors on the left side near the side entrance and by the wall facing the side altar on the right section.

    The Joven clan had the whole wall on the right by the side entrance, from top to bottom with various lapidas bearing the Joven name

    The path leading to the cementerio was lined by vendors selling the pink colored popcorn, cotton candy, suman, candles.

    Upon entering the cementerio, on the right side was the Palma family plot and the Alimurung plot where my aunts would make “saludo” to the families.

    The Buyson family plot was on the second alley on the left side.
    It had two raised identical niches and the perimeter was bounded by massive black marine iron chains, like the ones in the piers.
    There were floral spays of white calla lilies on the niches ordered from a florist in San Fernando.
    Two iron candelabras, made by “Arte Espanol” with eight vigil candles each were by the foot.
    Specifically 8 candles because there were 8 siblings. We playfully assigned a candle per family and we watched which one went faster.

    It was like a party, relatives would pass by and we would hear them command their children… “siklod cayu” …kiss the hands of the elders.

    On our right was the dramatic family plot of the Samias. On top of a single tomb was a rebulto of a classical lady holding a wreath by a cross mounted on actual gigantic rocks.

    On our left was the Mendoza family plot, strangely painted in black…

    At the corner of the alley behind us was the Panlilio family plot. It had two to three layers of niches, occupying the whole plot.

    At the end of that alley was the Liongson Mausoleum. It was said the family took out the embalmed cadaver of the patriarch and dressed it up for viewing yearly on that day during the early years, in the 50’s.

    Behind that alley, by the side of the “capilla de rotonda,” was the “modern” plot of the Grandas, it had a pocket garden and the tomb was asymetrically placed.

    The capilla de rotonda was like the top of a huge belfry, old, made of adobe.

    Behind on the right was the de Leon family plot.

    By 5 p.m., we were on our way back to Manila. Only the family of our caretaker was left to wait till the candles melted and pack up the candelabras.

  9. Rain Tabora said,

    November 17, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    For our clan, it has always been the Cementerio del Norte, Old Manila will be very crowded that day. We would leave the family compund at 7 am.We can only take the cars up to the gates of the cementerio. Then it would be a long trek by foot to the Family mausoleum. We would pass by the grander mausoleums lining the main road, the tomb of Claro M. Recto, the miniature gothic mausoleum of the Paredes’, the grand tombs in black marble, and the stark simple tomb of Ramon Magsaysay.
    The family mausoleum was modest and lined one of the side roads that radiates from the main. It’s a simple one with only a small altar and seating area. . My Uncles and parents would vie in getting the best and biggest candles for Lolo Maximo. My uncle Alfredo always wins. He would get this huge red candles with dragon effigies and crystal eyes that he got from Ongpin. My aunts would also light incensos, the thin red ones, so it was always a mixture of candles and chinese incensos during the prayers.My Lola Charing would lead the Rosario and Litanya, after which the whole family can then only eat. My aunts, Rosario, Feliciana, and Herminia would bring suman sa ibos, adobo, itlog na maalat, and various snacks that are easy to eat and easy to prepare. Ours was an old mausoleum and did not have restrooms like the newer ones, we would go to our cousins the Penas and Delos Reyes two storey mausoleums with restrooms to relieve ourselves. .
    Our yayas and houseboys would teach me and my brother to wrap a huge stone in the melted wax which would be sold per kilo outside on the streets, which my Lola always forbids. The vendors later learned the tricks and would cut the melted wax-ball in the middle before weighing it in their rigged sangkalans.

    it was a happy memorable but solemn event that I always look forward to every year as a child
    When Lola Charing and then some of my Uncles and aunts passed away , the family was dispersed, The remaining aunts and uncles, now old and frail would skip Nov. 1 and instead go on Nov. 2. Or just offer mass.
    It’s probably still there overgrown with moss, the tombs of Lolo Maximo and Lola Rosario…

  10. November 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm


    Your family has such a beautiful resting place, set amidst all those green fields. And as you say, convenient. How nice it is to be able to visit the dearly departed ones anytime one wishes!!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  11. Don Escudero said,

    November 17, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Ever since the remains of the family’s departed were moved to the crypt of the chapel in Villa Escudero, Nov. 1 and 2 have ceased to be so important in the family calendar. A mass is always said on Nov. 2, after which the dead are blessed in their final resting place.
    The convenience of having the dearly departed conveniently close by makes the impulsive visit or the regular trip down to the crypt after mass on Sundays or during family occasions like weddings or christenings a regular activity for the family. One doesn’t have to wait for All Soul’s Day to remember our deceased relatives. Family visiting from overseas always pass by the crypt when they come.

  12. November 17, 2009 at 8:57 am



    I have had it with my siblings and nephews and nieces. After the seniors in the family passed away, I kept on organizing these occasions and it always seemed as if they were doing me a favor by attending, as if they had other important things to do [ like sleeping around, partying, shopping, traveling, etc., not to mention plainly sleeping ]. So I decided I had had enough. This year, I made it a point NOT to organize anything at all. I made it a point to do the sleeping around, partying, shopping, traveling, etc., and plainly sleeping myself.

    However, my sister did organize an All Souls’ Day Holy Mass — several days after — and a few family members did come. Afterwards, she treated them to a late breakfast at KFC at the gas station on the southbound NLEX. She’s the most careful with her money, so she will likely end up the richest among us.

    Ngek. So much for our traditional All Souls’ Day Capampangan breakfast. I’d rather fast and keep my figure, however Rubensesque.

    Toto Gonzalez

  13. Paz Atienza said,

    November 17, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Did you still visit your mausoleum this year?


  14. November 16, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    ‘Twas always NORTE for the de Santos triangle plot where Mariano de Santos and Angela Viana de Santos lay in European tombs. There was a huge crucified Christ Lolo Arturo de Santos installed and there was an altar in which the bones of elders were interred with Marcelino de Santos. We like all children would be there at 7 a.m. cool with “yayas” running after us, making huge snowballs of melted wax. Mom and the aunties prayed the rosary. Then break for snacks at the Barcelona plot or the Tiaoqui mausoleum. Wonton soup, dimsum, and sweet fresh kakanins washed down with fresh chocolate AHHHH ! There was galantina and cut quezo de bola.

    That was 40 years ago. The huge crucifix from Germany gone, the serenity overtaken by blaring kibitzers. I personally transferred the remains of my maternal grandparents Doctor and Doctora Casto Pineda and Carmen de Santos Pineda to Loyola Marikina 10 years ago. But a feel-good sense memory always plays like a movie in my mind every TODOS los DE SANTOS.

    Writing and sharing here, definitely continues the tradition and in memoriams of our dearest departed. In cyberspace, history is never DELETED.

    [ NORTE: “Cementerio del Norte” / North Cemetery in Manila, where many prominent Filipinos of the Old World are buried. — ed. ]

  15. Presy Guevara said,

    November 16, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    It has been my fear that celebration of All Saints and All Souls Day in the Philippines will be taken over by commercialism that has long claimed Philippine Christmas traditions. Halloween mania has finally afflicted our once religiously oriented country. It appears that the solemnity of the day dedicated to remembering our dead relatives will never be back. Perhaps preparations of cleaning and whitewashing the graves and the obligatory bringing of flowers and lighting candles will remain, but not the prayers at the cemetery. Socializing and picnics have eclipsed the original objectives of the observance. Another Holy Day has transformed to a Holiday. How many Catholics go to Mass on November 1st any more or the day thereafter? My generation maybe the last to remember small bands, that for a small fee sing incantations mariachi style at the cemetery for the repose of the departed. Still, my long absence does not wipe out my desire or should I say wish to eat suman antala chased by chocolate E while visiting and exchanging news with other relatives after dinnertime. Long gone are the “kaluluwas” singing at windows or doors of quiet towns. So are many beautiful Philippine traditions. Thanks to all who write about them.

  16. Anthony Locsin said,

    November 16, 2009 at 5:35 am

    i always read your blog. simple, direct, and touching. keep on writing.

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