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

Tales of Fu Luk Shou: Three Chinese Deities

Fu, Lu Shou (Chinese Mandarin ) , Fuk Luk Shou ( Cantonese language)or Hok Lok Siu ( Hokkien language)  are three gods that are sometimes collectively called the “Three Star”, “San Xing” or “Good Luck Deities” with the meaning of blessings, prosperity and longevity. For this reason, it is clear that why these one are a very popular symbol to display in Chinese homes, offices or even business establishments.

My first encounter with these deities was during my childhood days. One Filipino-Chinese neighbor had a three piece set of the Fu Lu Shou  . They are normally placed in living rooms, entrance and on eye level.

San Xing deities were around 20 inches tall and probably bought from Taiwan or mainland China. I would sometimes recall that they would sometimes put small offering on the deities whenever it was a special day. Spotted some San Xing deities last holy week during a short tour on Pasay City.

Where to Place the Fu Luk Shou Deities

According to Feng Shui experts and believers , It is thought to be disrespectful and unlucky to place the deities on low surfaces such as kitchen, bathroom or even bedroom. Do not place the deities on windows and area with low beams.

Daily incense burning candles offering  fresh or artificial flowers are usually offered to these three wise men in hope of them bestowing their gifts on humans.

Some would create a separate altar for these three minor deities.


Three Lucky Gods in Chinese mythology or in Chinese Taoism.

Fu Xing

The star of Fu Xing is dedicated to Jupiter which is considered very auspicious. The legend tells a story of a government official named Xang Cheng and served at the prefecture of Daozhou during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and had the personal name Yang Gong  or Xang Cheng.

He lived in a village inhabited by midgets or small people in which the emperor discovered this village and was truly fascinated when he visited the place.

The emperor found it too much trouble to revisit the village. Instead he ordered steady groups of short people be sent to his palace every year. These villagers were not allowed to return home.

Xang Cheng took pity on the villagers. He did something brave and almost unthinkable. With great confidence Xang Cheng approached the emperor and pleaded him to stop taking the little people from their homes. He wrote a convincing petition which he then handed loved to the emperor.

Eventually he was immortalized as Fu Xing. Star god of happiness, prosperity and good fortune. Fu is the bringer of good luck.

Lu Xing

Lu is dedicated to the sixth star of the Wen Chang cluster, in the West known as Ursa Majoris. Lu refers to salary and thus he is the star god of social status.

There are different legends or folklore concerning who Lu Xing originally was. One legend is that he was Kuo Tzu-I also known as the Prince of Fen-yang Wang. He was one of the most honored Chinese generals. He died in 781 AD at the age of 84.

Another account was the God of Status is identified with Immortal Zhang  who was probably the same person as Zhang Yuanxiao who lived in Sichuan during the Five Dynasties period  (907-960), lived on Mt. Qingcheng .

In another account, He used to represent a former wise men or a person with imperial background and benevolent.

Shou Xing

Shou Xing is easy to recognize with his long forehead. He carries the peach of longevity and a staff.

Legend has it that Shou Xing has the power to fix the date of every person’s death. He decides beforehand how long every human will live. The digits cannot be changed but they can be tampered with as one story shows.

Photo credit : Mr. Edgardo Gamo Jr.







Vintage Car

white Cadillac car parked within San Agustin Church

While conducting a Free Postal Heritage Walking Tours within Intramuros last September 20. The tour group chance upon an old vintage  Cadillac car that was used in one of the wedding ceremonies within the San Agustin Church and compound.

The owner bought around 7 old vintage cars and refurbished them . According to the care taker this particular car was rented on a per hour basis with a driver. Lucky for the group that the owner allowed the group to take photographed of this wonderful vehicle for free!!! en gratis !!!

In a tropical climate such as the Philippines , maintaining a vintage car can be very challenging !!!!

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