Recuerdos de Patay: Memories of Dead Captured on Photos ( Part 2)

Recuerdo de Patay or Memories of Dead people captured on photos were the practice of many families to commemorate their love ones long after death.


family members pose together with their dead relative ( photo courtesy of Mr. Edgardo Gamo Jr.)

This photo is undated, base on the dress and style of the coffin is between 1900 to 1920. All Soul’s Day is a time to celebrate the life and death of someone who we love and cherish.


parents together with their infant child

A previous article on Recuerdo de Patay in 2015 and some of the practices long gone.

Recuerdo de Patay


Doña Teodora Alonzo y Realonda posing together with the bones of Dr. Jose Rizal


burial urn of Dr. Jose Rizal bones were kept

Some family members would pose together with their dead relatives or love ones for posterity or try to prop them up. Some would even commission painters to paint their dead relatives.


Dr. Jose Rizal grave site in Paco Park


Trinkets of memento mori – literally meaning “remember you must die” – took several forms which is widely practiced and existed long before Spanish colonial era.

There included personal belongings from locks of hairs, finger nails were arranged and worn in locks, rings or even kept at home. While taking photograph seem the norm from late 19th century up to the early part of the 20th century.

Although it seems to be a taboo to take photos of dead people ( except relatives). This is out of respect and courtesy at the present time. It seems to be the norm several decades or centuries ago.

Note: Special “Thanks” to Mr. Edgardo Gamo Jr. and NHCP / Fort Santiago for the photos

  • Best , Jonathan – A Philippine Album: American Era Photographs 1900 -1930,  Bookmark , Inc. copyright 1998 page 117
  • Hau , Caroline S. (2015)  Recuerdos de Patay and Other Stories : UP Press
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