BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, Nov. 2, 2012 —Filipinos living in the Muslim country Brunei observe ‘Undas’ with a “massive attendance at Mass”, according to Brunei Bishop Cornelius Sim.
Bishop Sim also said Filipinos are considerably visible in the local churches where they light candles in the grottoes and pray for deceased loved ones.
“There is a stream of people visiting the churches throughout these days,” he said in an interview.
Filipino Catholics abroad
For some Filipinos, living in a staunchly Muslim country and being away from the Philippines could actually strengthen the bonds of faith and culture.
According to Lisa Bobiles, who first lived in Brunei in 1982, she finds the time to remember friends and family who have passed away by attending Mass and praying the rosary.
Even if Bobiles admits the experience would be markedly different in the Philippines where she and her family would probably go to their province to visit the graves of their loved ones and have a “mini family reunion of sorts”, she said being a Pinoy Catholic abroad has its upside.
“I do believe that most faithful Catholic Pinoys who truly understand their faith would try their best to preserve their culture and traditions; perhaps even do things better if they are abroad,” Bobiles, who works in an international auditing firm based in Brunei, explained.
She also mentioned a log book in her local parish, the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Bandar Seri Begawan, where the faithful, including a good number of Filipinos, write the names of deceased loved ones, whose intentions will be included in all November masses.
According to a 2008 report by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, there are an estimated 22, 939 Filipinos living in Brunei. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]