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Endless want, endless Christmas

The Christmas holiday season in the Philippines starts in earnest after All Souls’ Day. Gift lists are updated, the holiday-party, vacation and reunion schedules finalized.  Weeks prior, the mall and tiangge merchants are already on holiday marketing mode, playing carols to set the mood and reeling in customers with irresistible discount sales. But now is...

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To help ailing children and others disadvantaged

In 2010, moved only by a need to find a job (having been unemployed for more than five years), I accepted the position of executive director of a 40-year-old company called United Way Philippines Inc. (UWPI). At first, I thought it was some pharmaceutical or pyramiding firm. It turned out to be a nongovernment organization,...

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‘Undas’ and life after life (not death)

What’s the meaning or derivation of the local word “Undas,” referred to in English as All Souls’ Day? In Mexico, “Dia de los Muertos” means “Day of the Dead,” which in Tagalog is “Araw ng mga Patay o Namayapa.” In Spain, “honra” means “honor” or “respect”—hence, “to respect or honor the dead.” In the Philippine...