One Cow, Two Pig Funeral for Tita


My wife's 84-year-old Tita (Aunt) Iluminada Gange Galve died a week ago last Thursday from complications due to a fall that caused a severe head injury . Tita Iluminda was my father-in-law's sister and the mother of Cousin Emma, proprietor of "The Jade and Joe Market" in Guimaras. Tita had been blind for several years and had suffered the fall over a month ago in which she hurt her shoulder and experienced extensive brain damage.  The local doctor did not want to operate on her due to her age, and she was just given medication.DSC

The past week has had family members from "The Compound" going over to Cousin Emma's house to view Tita's body and to console and visit the grieving family.  It is common practice in the Philippines to have the deceased person's body on view in the household for a week or even longer to allow relatives and friends to visit the home and pay their respects. I remember that this was certainly the case in the passing of Cousin Edgar.


Went to the Funeral Mass for Tita yesterday,  Sunday afternoon, held at St. Michael the Arch Angel Catholic Church in Guimaras. The service was conducted entirely in the local language, Hilgaynon, and I had no frickin' idea what pastor was saying. I know just a few phrases and words of the language, but even if I had a good grasp of it, our local priest talks so fast that I fear he is either on speed or drinks way too much coffee. My asawa softly sobbed intermittently as the ever present pregnant dog roamed the altar area near Father. The Mass was over in just 35 minutes, and it closed with Communion which my wife did not partake of today. Guess she was feeling sinful. I never take it.

Jeepneys brought the mourners to the  Memorial cemetery just past the Trappist Monastery where my wife's aunt was to be buried, and Tita's coffin was loaded into the ground as is the practice in much of the United States. In the other cemeteries I had attended previously  in the Philippines the burial vaults were above ground with units stacked one on top of each other. Workers clad in green uniforms promptly lowered the coffin into the ground, and the group of grievers were taken back by jeepney to Emma and her husband's Danet's spacious home in Guimaras. A pot of burning charcoal stood sentry outside the residence to ward off evil spirits.DSC

One cow and two pigs were sacrificed for the huge throng of relatives and friends that were gathered. There was an abundance of food for the feast along with bottles of Coca Cola and Sprite. After my wife and everyone fussed over me making sure I had plenty to eat, I was introduced to relatives that I had met before (but had forgotten; listen, I'm 59, and my asawa is related to half the people in Guimaras.) My wife then says to me: "Do you see Alex?" A middle-aged man and woman had just sat across from us several feet away. "Alex?" That's Alex?" I reply. I hear the man say something to my wife in Hilgaynon. All I understood was "500 pesos." But I'll wrap this up tomorrow as "I shake hands with a murderer."

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

14 thoughts on “One Cow, Two Pig Funeral for Tita

      1. Ok Batman..I will be tunning in tommorow at the same time and same channel for the exciting conclusion of aother exciting episode from Dave the wild kano man from the island of Guimaras.

  1. I have been to a few of these wakes in the Philippines. Did you know that this is the only time that you can legally gamble at home with out being arrested. The funeral home supplys the decks of cards and gets a cut of the winnings. They have a syndicate in Manila which rents bodys from funeral homes so that people can gamble. Only a filipino will come up with a way to make a few peso’s even from the dead.

    1. George I belive I read some place that they were have fake wakes so they could gamble….not sure, but sure mine eyes read that some place…I quess most Fillipinos that are travling over to the other side after their trip here had ended would be happy to see those not yet making the trip having a good time at their departure from the old life and making their way to the good life…

    2. I did not know that, George. Aren’t the Filipinos a resourceful people? Who would have thought of renting a body from a funeral home so that people could legally gamble. Only in the Philippines!

  2. Dave what is the average cost….for a funeral like this one…..that is a nice casket for tita……….nicer than I would have expected….good to see families in Philippines….still show respect to the departed…….many Americans seem to have lost that…and it is a shame

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