Gambling At A Wake And Living In The Philippines
Gambling at a wake in the Philippines is common. I’d go so far to say it is tradition.
It seems the government, at least in some areas of the Philippines are beginning to take exception to gambling at a wake. I think this is going to be a hard thing for people living in the Philippines to accept.
Gambling in the Philippines is strictly controlled. It is limited to government controlled casinos and the lottery with the exception of wakes.
Father Valentine Dimoc of the Saint Mary Magdalene Parish mentions that the town of Lagawe has already passed an ordinance prohibiting gambling at wakes. He also claims that police have failed to enforce it. He wants to see people living in the Philippines prohibited from continuing this activity.
He has said that his parish will deny burial mass for any member of the parish where the family is found to gambling at a wake.
Jessie told me long ago that she’s heard of cases where people living in the Philippines have rented corpses in order to gamble. This seems to be the major reason why some are taking exception to this practice. I must say, that was a bit shocking to me. Now, I just smile.
Sometimes, part of the proceeds from these games go to the family to help pay for funeral
cost. A portion of each bet is set aside to go to the family. It would seem then, when there is no funeral and the corpse has been rented, the funds would be going to those renting the corpse. Sometimes believed to be organized crime.
I was really surprised to see a priest living in the Philippines taking this position. The practice of gambling at a wake has always seemed odd to me but that is only because it is odd where I come from. It is not odd here.
When walking or riding around the Philippines one will often see tents setup up. This often means a funeral. There will be Filipino sitting at tables under the tent which is almost always open. The heat would be suffocating if it were closed. All that I have seen don’t even have sides. Under the tent, people will be sitting at tables. Some will be eating. Some will also be playing cards or another game of chance.
They never strike me as somber gatherings but never joyous either. People are generally soft spoken. Those that pass by on the street are usually quiet.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. For now, it is one pastoral edict. I don’t know a lot about how the Catholic Church operates but I believe that would apply to his parish only. Though I can understand the position of the church, I don’t think it will be welcomed by most Filipino. Not that I see a churches role as that of condoning what people like. I take no position on the morality of gambling. I will say that most anything taken to excess is harmful. Time will tell us if this will spread to more people living in the Philippines
Living In The Philippines and Gambling At A Wake Is Not Something I See Changing Easily
I see gambling at a wake as part of the Filipino culture but then I see dynamite fishing as part of the Filipino culture too. I’m certainly glad the government is taking steps to reduce and change the culture of dynamite fishing. Sometimes cultures need to change. Don’t let them lead you to believe that I think the government should move against gambling at a wake. I’m only pointing out that just because something has always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean people should continue to do it.
Life for the Filipino will continue to change. Will gambling at wakes stop? It is hard for me to see the people living in the Philippines accepting this change.
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