November 1, 2007... thanks to budget flights, my husband and I were able to travel to his home town in General Santos City in Mindanao. And like most Filipinos, November 1 found us in the cemetery where some of his relatives were laid to rest, including this sister, who died when she was only 5 years old.
Every year, on November 1, Filipinos celebrate All Saint's Day, and it has been our tradition to go to our loved ones final resting places to light candles, offer prayers and reunite with other living family members who also visit. It might sound solemn and sombre and in some ways it is, but All Saint's Day is almost like a festival here. Some people, especially in provinces, spend their entire day at the cemetery, playing games, having a picnic, telling stories... it's like one big reunion party.
So 2007, we spent the day at the cemetery in General Santos City and during the day, family and friends stopped by their mausoleum to say hi. One of them was this man. He is an old friend of his family. He used to play with my husband's mom and her siblings when they were kids. And while my husband's mom went on to live a comfortable life, his life had been more difficult as can be seen on the weathered lines on his face. The family has not seen him for a while so they spent the afternoon catching up.
My husband caught this image of him during a lull in the conversation. He says he remembers my husband as a little boy. We showed him the photo and he said he looks older in the photo.