‘Alagang Silka Papaya’ video brings families together

With the pandemic still keeping most of us from traveling to meet our friends and families far away, Silka Papaya is bringing families together this holiday season through a heartfelt video.

In the latest Alagang Silka Papaya video, a large family is about to come together for Christmas. However apart, they still manage to stay connected through video conferencing and somehow feel each other’s warm touch with the use of Silka products that help bring back memories of better days when everyone can be with one another physically.

You can watch the full video, just CLICK HERE.

Like these three generations of families keeping to their habit of self-care (pag-aalaga), Silka has been creating and making available affordable lines of effective products to help Filipino families achieve a glowing complexion and smoother skin.

Their skincare line includes soap, lotion, facial cleanser, deodorant, body wash, and pearl creme. Since 2001 (nearly 20 years), Silka has been helping Filipinos achieve the kind of care (alaga) they long for. 

There’s an emotional tug to the video: the holidays are when families get together, and that’s made all the more difficult because of the social distancing necessitated by Covid-19 restrictions. But you don’t get the feel that the families are settling for less with a video conference call – in fact they’re still as lively as they would have been had they’d been face to face. 

The video’s voice over ending is apt: “Naiba man ang takbo ng buhay, natural lang na ipadama sa isa’t-isa ang alaga nating nandyan para sa kanila. Maalagang pasko mula sa Silka.”

Families take care of each other just as Silka takes care of you. If you want to experience a Maalagang Pasko with Silka, check out their products on Shopee and visit the official Silka Skincare Store on Lazada. Don’t forget to follow @SilkaSkinCare on Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok

Where to watch Holy Week Masses online

As we all continue to abide by the guidelines of the Enhanced Community Quarantine to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the Catholic Church has explored new innovations so churchgoers can still observe Holy Week even at home.

At the Vatican City, the Pope is celebrating daily masses at 2:00 PM and is shared with the rest of the world through the Vatican News English channel on YouTube.

Starting Palm Sunday, April 5 until Easter Sunday, April 12, some of the Philippines’ major churches will also be broadcasting its masses and other Holy Week activities online through their respective social networking sites.

Following is the schedule of masses in various Philippine churches:

Manila Cathedral

Time: Sunday – 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 6:00 PM; Monday to Friday – 7:30 AM, 12:10 PM; Saturday – 7:30 AM
Where: Manila Cathedral’s Facebook page

Quiapo Church

Time: Daily – 5:00 AM, 6:00 AM, 12:15 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM
Where: Quiapo Church’s Facebook page

Diocese of Kalookan

Time: Sunday – 6:30 AM, 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, 10:15 AM, 3:00 PM, 4:15 PM, 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM, 8:00 PM; Monday to Friday – 6:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 6:00 PM
Where: Diocese of Kalookan’s Facebook page

Diocese of Cubao

Time: Sunday – 8:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 6:00 PM; Monday to Saturday – 8:00 AM
Where: Diocese of Cubao’s Facebook page

Diocese of Pasig

Time: Sunday – 6:00 AM, 7:30 AM, 9:00 AM, 4:00 PM, 6:00 PM; Monday to Saturday – 6:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 6:00 PM
Where: Pasig Cathedral’s Facebook page

Philippine Jesuits

Time: Daily – 8:00 AM, 1:00 PM
Where: Radyo Katipunan Facebook page and Radyo Katipunan YouTube channel

Radio Veritas

Time: Daily – 6:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 6:00 PM
Where: Radio Veritas’ Facebook page

Sambuhay TV Mass

Time: Saturday (anticipated mass) – 5:00 PM; Monday to Friday – 6:15 AM
Where: Sambuhay’s Facebook page

Online masses led by Singapore Archbishop William Goh

Time: Sunday – 10:00 AM; Monday to Saturday – 1:00 PM
Where: Archdiocese of Singapore’s YouTube channel

For lag-free streaming of masses through any of these channels, use PLDT’s free speedboost for Fibr subscribers. Staying at home as we pray with people online can be our most meaningful contribution in stopping the spread of the dreaded virus.

My Lola’s Funeral: Honoring our Ilocano cultural traditions

Paoay Church

Even in this modern age, I find it important to still practice old cultural traditions no matter how silly we think it is. Given that kids nowadays are very mch into technology and other forward-thinking ways, the only way for us to be reminded of our cultural traditions is by continuing to practice them.

My mother was born and raised in Ilocos Norte, while my dad was born in Abra but grew up in Palawan. When I was young, I would always spend my summer vacations with my maternal grandmother in her hometown Paoay, where I witnessed and experienced many different age-old traditions, which we still practice as a family even today.

The most common is the atang or food offerings for the departed, which we do whether there is a special occasion or not.

Last year, when my grandma passed away at the age of 97, we practiced numerous rituals and performed different activities, which are believed to help the departed’s soul in her travel to heaven and to help us, the family, ease our mourning.

Patong or bonfire placed outside the home to signify that there is an ongoing wake.

Ilocano Burial Traditions
The immediate family of the departed are required to wear a veil and a black string across the forehead as a sign of mourning. They are also required to wear black clothing. That’s my mom on the left and my aunt on the right.

Ilocano Burial Traditions
Old rituals have become more lenient as time flew by. Since I had to travel back to Manila for work in the middle of the wake (the wake lasted for nine days), I was only made to wear the black string during the first weekend and only wore the veil when I returned in time for the funeral.

Ilocano Burial Traditions
Every day for nine days, there was a lualo or padasal or novena for the departed. This tradition is said to help the departed cross over to eternal life.

During the wake, there should always be at least one person sitting beside or in front of the coffin. In serving food to guests who come to pay respects, as well as preparing the atang, only women who are widowed, single, or old maids are allowed to do the task.

Members of the immediate family are also not allowed to welcome guests at the door. They should only receive guests when they come to approach. They are also not allowed to send off guests when they are about to leave. Technically, the role of the immediate family during this time is to focus solely on mourning. Although, it was still my mom and my aunt who coordinated everything from the church arrangements to the caterer, the band, etc.

There were also some weird customs like the immediate family is not allowed to take a bath during the duration of the wake (which we did not follow obviously because, hello, hygiene; although my mom did not wash her hair the entire time as a compromise).

On the last day of the wake, the eve of the funeral, a lengthier program that includes the lualo, a eulogy, and blessings from the priest (my Lola was an Aglipayan) are held to celebrate the beautiful life that was lived; and for relatives, neighbors, friends, and acquaintances to pay their last respects and show support for the family of the departed.

Ilocano Burial Traditions

It has also become customary to hire a band or kombo to serenade the people who have come to pay their last respects for the departed. Also, for some unknown reason, it has become conventional to send wreaths made of paper or plastic flowers.

Ilocano Burial Traditions

Ilocano Burial Traditions

We opted for the horse-drawn carriage and a marching band for the traditional funeral procession since the church and cemetery were only a stone’s throw away from our house. After the mass at the Aglipayan church, we proceeded to bury my Lola beside my Lolo at the public cemetery. It is tradition, not only among Ilocanos but for most Filipinos, to send balon or baon for the dead by putting some of her favorite things in the grave before it is sealed shut. We gave my Lola some tabako, among other things.

Ilocano burial traditions

Afterward, guests and the family return to the house for lunch and another prayer ritual where veils are removed in the process as a sign that the family is now beginning to end their mourning—the start of the healing process, if you may.

The day after the burial, the immediate family goes to either the beach or the river for the gulgol, a ritual that symbolizes the washing away of all the bad juju—the pain from loss, the sadness, etc. Elders make some sort of concoction with water, dried leaves, basi or the Ilocano version of lambanog, a bit of chicken’s blood, and some other things, which is then poured onto the heads of the bereaved family and relatives. After that, they are massaged on the head and arms twice, while the masseuse recites a prayer. The family can then take a swim in the water to wash off all the bad stuff.

Ilocano burial traditions

One year after (which was last September 20, 2019), we did the waksi or simply a lualo with a little ritual where we remove the black veils, which we had worn again for the purpose of the ritual. After removing the veil, we were made to change our black clothes into white or any light color. It basically symbolizes that we have ended our mourning.

What about you? What age-old rituals and traditions do you still observe in your families?