02 Nov2006


We never ever did this growing up. But the questions from readers a few days ago about All Souls’ Day foods, an article by Michaela Fenix in today’s Philippine Inquirer and on the net (thank you edee for pointing this out) as well as suman and biko brought to our home by a long-time employee this morning led me to think about this practice a bit more. I LIKE IT. If I keeled over and could come back once a year to see how my descendants were faring, I would definitely want a dish with my favorite goodies left out for me! But before I dwell on my preferred foods, I arranged an offering or halad for my mom and here it is… A great starting point is the biko and budbud of which she was a HUMONGOUS fan. She would have eaten all of this it one sitting and with a bit of granulated sugar to dip the budbud in. Yes, a sweet mango to go with it as well; since alive, she was a diabetic, dead she would be a sugaraholic, no doubt…

I threw in a boiled saba banana since she seemed to really enjoy these and a lacatan banana just so she would have a foil for the little dish of my homemade mangosteen jam. Yes, I think she would be pleased with this plate. Another year I might add leche flan, ensaimada, lots of good ice cream, a box of Whitman’s sampler, a tin of Charm’s sour balls, real Danish butter cookies with lots of sugar on top, some broas, hot chocolate… geez, the list could go on and on… I started to think about what I would appreciate if I could return for an annual meal of earthly food…the list rapidly got really long…but in the end, if I could only have one thing…I hate to disappoint you all…but I would want an ice cold six-pack of Diet Coke and a big glass filled with ice! As for ancestors who weren’t so DEARLY departed, that’s another post/entry altogether…



  1. Maria Clara says:

    It is a home run offering! Your Mom is very pleased with that. You did not leave anything out. They are all her faves I bet you.

    Nov 2, 2006 | 8:58 am


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  3. millet says:

    MM, when you’re in the Great Beyond, no one will care about diets, so go for the real, 100-calorie/bottle Coke, not diet soda! :-> and thanks for reminding me about Charms -since your lemon drops post, I’ve been thinking about this tinned candy that my family loved, that was very close to but not quite sour balls. Whenever we went to PX stores, I’d always head for the tins of Charms.

    Nov 2, 2006 | 9:58 am

  4. CecileJ says:

    Hey guys! I found Charms candies (in the classic round tins)for sale at these candy carts at the malls a few months back when I had a craving (I forget the name of the cart.) Sometimes Cash & Carry supermarket has a supply too.

    Lucky Mom, MM! She gets to taste your mangosteen jam!!!

    Nov 2, 2006 | 10:07 am

  5. Ed says:

    Great offering table! I know for Ilocanos, offerings of food aren’t just reserved for All Souls/Saints Day, but for any celebration where elaborate food is prepared. As for other parts of Asia, I often make fieldwork trips to Bali – please check out my photo of the tall offerings of food the Balinese make over there called “banten tegeh”, which are dedicated to the gods during major temple festivals:


    Nov 2, 2006 | 10:17 am

  6. MRJP says:

    I’m really intrigued with this budbud-kabog… I want to try to make some one of these days. I was surprised to find Yellow Millet at an Asian store here. I bought one. If I’m not mistaken, it costs like a dollar and 49 cents per pack at 375 grams.
    I remember, when I was a little kid, my lola used to make these sumans wrapped in banana leaves. She used to steam them in her traditional steamer. I cant remember what it is called but it’s made out of “malagkit” rice, coconut milk and white sugar. Its taste is quite similar to “suman sa ibus” (this one is wrapped with coconut leaves). We used to eat those suman with ripe mangoes. I don’t know if this budbud-kabog is similar to that suman I knew when I was a child. I’ll see.

    Nov 2, 2006 | 10:18 am

  7. ykmd says:

    I miss eating boiled saba dipped in ginamos and lemonsito (calamansi)! And that budbud and biko sure look good!

    Nov 2, 2006 | 10:37 am

  8. Amora says:

    Hi MarketMan!

    I am a Wikipedian (a person who helps maintain articles on Wikipedia), and I’m thinking of putting up a page for MarketManila.com (actually, I started already), but I just wanted to ask some information from you like history, and how this site came about. I’ll also read on your earlier posts. Thanks!

    Nov 2, 2006 | 12:04 pm

  9. choy says:

    ykmd, that was a post after my heart. boiled saba with ginamos and lemonsito indeed is visayan nirvana. slurp!(pardon me)

    Nov 2, 2006 | 12:06 pm

  10. lee says:

    when the end is near you are drawn towards the light…. coke light.

    Nov 2, 2006 | 1:11 pm

  11. det says:

    slightly ripe boiled saba brouht back happy memories of my childhood

    Nov 2, 2006 | 1:45 pm

  12. relly says:

    Thoughtful attention!

    Nov 2, 2006 | 3:16 pm

  13. edee says:

    welcome MM…….i remember my mother used to make biko as well as offering during All Soul’s Day……by the way it’s my nanay’s bday today……happy bday Nay!…..

    Nov 2, 2006 | 6:49 pm

  14. millet says:

    lee, you are always so witty, and you come up with the funniest one-liners!

    Nov 2, 2006 | 9:54 pm

  15. sister says:

    How about native tradition harking back to ancestor worship before the Spaniards came and made some Filipinos Christians. Christian clothing, pagan hearts… I don’t think the Vatican would approve of frequent flyer souls.
    Mom would return to Vienna, where she only ate cake for the 3 days she was there, quite a feat if you ask me. She thoroughly would approve of your sweet offerings. Not to mention all the flowers you devotedly keep by her grave all year. You have always been a a good son.

    Nov 2, 2006 | 11:25 pm

  16. MasPinaSarap says:

    Yay! You did a post on this, MM! I left out a plate of chicken, rice, shrimp, salad, candies, water, and I lit a candle and incense. I, of course, said my prayers as well.
    When I woke up, I nibbled on it, so I’ve completed the tradition for myself.
    Ed, It is very Ilocano, isn’t it? There’s a plate for my Apong that’s changed throughout the year for him as well.
    I know we also leave fruits and lit candles on the graves as well.

    Nov 3, 2006 | 3:25 am

  17. elna says:

    Would be nice if our dead ancestors come for a visit once a year to feast on our ‘halad’ – but sad to say they don’t. Growing up, my family used to do halad believing that our departed loved ones will indeed pay us a visit every All Saints/Souls Day but later on in life I learned that this is simply a Catholic tradition and not a Biblical truth.

    Nov 3, 2006 | 3:30 am

  18. Mila says:

    The chinese offer not only food, but in some cases burn paper money and paper mache cars/houses/stuff that the dead would like to take with them. I suspect it’s a tradition that is shared by all ancient civilizations where the dead is sent off with food for his/her trip to the world beyond our ken, and as things got more complicated, they’d take along their pets, clothing, means of transportation, etc.

    I’d want to be buried with a good dark chocolate bar.

    Nov 3, 2006 | 10:14 am

  19. Jean says:

    My hats off to you MM. Thank you for posting this.

    Nov 3, 2006 | 11:22 am

  20. manilastreetwalker says:


    Offering food stuff to the ‘third realm’ (ancestors or godly spirits) is a very Chinese tradtion. See the Chinese believe that what ever your due in life is the same way in death so come November 1, the Chinese Cemetery turns into one big buffet-fiesta with the caretakers having the most loot since a lot of the food offered are eventually given to them.

    Nov 3, 2006 | 9:29 pm

  21. MasPinaSarap says:

    It’s simply a native tradition. Why overcomplicate things? Americans leave flowers in cemetaries. We leave food and light candles. It all symbolizes our respect and fond memories of dead loved ones.

    Nov 4, 2006 | 3:00 am

  22. Ed says:


    The Chinese predilection for round foods has several connections to auspicious things, such as round coins (for wealth) and the moon (a poetic image that is most invoked in the fall – the “harvest moon”). Perhaps they bring round foods for their departed ancestors as a reminder of the cycle of life.

    Many of the Chinese-based dishes we Filipinos serve during celebrations have also inherited much of their symbolism: pansit noodles for long life (because noodles are made long, of course) and lumpia for wealth (because of their resemblance to gold ingots).

    Nov 4, 2006 | 9:10 am

  23. emz says:

    nice choice marketman hehehe i couldn’t live without coke either. it would be nice to have it at least well, once a year in the after life :)

    Nov 21, 2006 | 10:05 pm

  24. pistachio says:

    I’m not familiar with this tradition, so could someone please shed more light on this? What happens to the food offering — do you gather round the grave and eat it together? Or do you just leave the food there as you would leave flowers, to be later consumed by the poor squatter folk who live in the cemetery?

    Feb 8, 2007 | 1:04 pm


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