The patriarch of the family died, and this reunited the four siblings to mourn for their loss. Reality is not lost however at their time of deep grieving. The house must be cleaned and prepared while the body is being embalmed in the funeral parlor. They had to cook and prepare food for those who will pay respect to the dead. Up to the last minute, amidst their crying, they were faced with the problem of where the coffin will pass through in their small house. The barangay captain later on decided the window screen must be taken down for the meantime and shoot the coffin there.
The older siblings (Oropesa, Israel and Alajar) were more steadfast to the old superstitions and made sure they were followed strictly. I loved Paulate's role as the youngest among the brood who represented the more liberated and open-minded generation of today. He continually questioned one superstition after the other, throughout the six days of the wake. He laughed at the absurdity of it all.
So here are some of the superstitions mentioned in the film:
1) The head of the dead person should be facing the door.
2) The rosary wrapped around the hand of the dead should be cut to break the string of deaths.
3) Tuck some money in the hand of the dead. Before the burial, distribute it among the family members to bring good luck to them.
4) Do NOT thank anyone for their help in any way.
5) Do not wear red during the wake.
6) You should not take a bath at the house of the wake. Take a bath somewhere else.
7) Do not escort the guest out of the door. Just let them leave on their own.
8) Do not sweep the floor.
9) If the deceased was killed, place a chick atop the coffin and his killer will be guilt-ridden.
10) Do not let tears drop on the coffin.
11) Throw some coins if you happen to pass by a funeral march on the street. It will bring you luck.
12) Carry children over the coffin so that the spirit of the dead will not visit them.
I'm not a very superstitious person. I'm the type you will find silently amused at things done without logic. But sometimes following these customs just make ceremonies more meaningful. As Israel quipped in the movie, may mawawala ba sa'yo kung susundin mo na lang?