Filipinos rank second worldwide in commemorating the departed

October 31, 2018 - 8:30 PM
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North cemetery
Visitors arrive at the North Cemetery (The Philippine Star/ Edd gumban)

The Philippines ranked second in the world when it comes to cultural practices for remembering departed loved ones, according to an international index.

Skymorials, an online memorials and tributes provider, announced that the country ranked second only to Mexico with a 59.9 percent score in its global index report for 2018.

The ranking is based on seven criteria, which includes religious practices, cultural traditions, cultural anniversaries and the importance of family heritage and relationships.

“What sets the Philippines apart from the rest of the world is despite its varied groups and cultures, every cultural subset has an inherent deep love and respect for family at its core,” Lead Researcher Antonio Puyat III said.

Mexico, meanwhile, lands on the top spot with a 60.7 percent score.

Here’s the top 10 countries based on Skymorials:

  1. Mexico
  2. Philippines
  3. Indonesia
  4. Japan
  5. India
  6. Japan
  7. Italy
  8. Ireland
  9. Thailand
  10. South Africa

Skymorials graded 86 percent to the country’s religious practices and 14 percent to the Filipinos’ unique cultural identity.

“It is a touching experience to come to the Philippines during these special times to witness and share in these deeply cultural and family-oriented events,” CEO and co-founder Andrew Ranger said.

The Philippines and Mexico

Ranger also noted the similarity of the Philippines and Mexico in being ahead of other countries in terms of these traditions and practices.

Mexico in North America might seem distant to Filipinos, but its relationship with the Philippines runs deep as both had been a Spanish colony.

The Vice Royalty of New Spain governed the Philippines from Mexico City through the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade.

Not known to many, there are several common Filipino words with Mexican origins, such as “pitaka,” which refers to a wallet, and “tiyangge” or market.

Some of the agricultural products common in the Philippines also came from Mexico, such as avocado and chili peppers.

According to historian Dr. Ricardo Soler, Mexico influenced Filipinos more than other nations. However, that part of history is mostly forgotten.

He wrote a book, which was in collaboration with other prominent figures in literature and history such as late Senator Ed Angara and celebrated novelist F. Sionil Jose, titled “Mexico and the Philippines – An Unwritten Story.”

“Mexico influenced us so much more than any other nation did, except, and only perhaps, the Chinese. This fact should not be allowed to rest in oblivion — hence this book,” Soler wrote in the book.

In Mexico, the day of the dead or Dia de Muertos is observed on November 1.

Remembering the departed

There are many ways Filipinos mourn or honor their departed loved ones.

Filipinos normally offer flowers, food and lighted candles to their resting places, and say prayers. Some families, however, also have distinct customs and practices.

These are evident in photos and video clips by citizens and media outlets shared online.

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