The twin holidays All Saints’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd hold a distinct place in the hearts of Pinoys. Filipinos look forward to “Undas” – the collective term for the holidays; derived from the Spanish “honrar”, meaning “to honor” – to pay respects to deceased loved ones and reconnect with the living. In Undas, the Pinoy spirit is in full display. 

It is unmistakable - zest for life, strong family bonds, a solemn reverence for the elders, fond remembrances of departed loved ones and a profound faith and spirituality. 

Undas is an overnight affair. Families start encamping at memorial parks and cemeteries on the afternoon of All Saints’ Day, offering prayers or hearing Mass. This soon rolls into dinner and fellowship, an attractive spread of delectable fare to warm hearts and sustain hungry bellies. The menu varies from family to family, depending on what the Pinay mom, sister, or tita, or all of them together, have concocted. 

One thing is sure, though, it is always a Filipino food heaven. You will most likely feast on savory pork or chicken adobo, spaghetti, macaroni salad or a certain type of pancit, be it bihon, canton, habhab, or bam-i, which has both pancit and vermicelli noodlesSome families will serve up the mouthwatering lechon kawali or an entire lechon altogether. 

Because everyone will need to be handed snacks, too, or midnight and early-morning refreshments, there will surely be kakanins in the mix – sapin-sapin, palitaw, suman sa lihiya, biko, puto bumbong, ube halaya, puto puti, pichi-pichi, all sweet and satisfying. 

The sticky kakanins are a perfect representation of the affection and unity that characterizes the Pinoy family. Bonding over delicious Filipino food, sharing stories, enjoying each other’s company, reveling in the unique custom of Undas.