Each year, Filipino families gather around the graves of their departed loved ones on November 1 and November 2, known as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. These include offerings of flowers and food — usually the favorites of the deceased when they were alive — to show that they have not been forgotten.
But while each family and household have its own traditions for remembering those who are gone, one family in Oas, Albay, has taken to celebrating the life of their late patriarch in a particularly unique way.
Each year, the Relleve family paints the tomb of the late Jose Reodique Relleve with colorful murals incorporating elements that remind the family of him.
This year, they adorned his tomb with the symbols of Jollibee — complete with the fast food chain’s logo and the iconic bee mascot – as the restaurant’s famous Chickenjoy was reportedly Jose’s favorite treat.
Jose’s child, Angelle Relleve, shared that as children, her father would cook fried chicken for the family every Sunday and call it “Jollibee” – back when Albay had no Jollibee outlets yet. Finally, her father took the entire family to Jollibee when it opened in Legazpi City in the mid-’90s, sharing that they were overjoyed that they had finally tasted the real one for the first time.
The family commissioned two local artists in Bicol, Jafryl Refran and Ghalo Kirby Reforsado of Bicol University, to do the mural.
In past years, the family honored Jose by painting his tomb with murals featuring some of the other things he enjoyed during his life such as Adidas brand apparel and M&M chocolates.
While tomb painting isn’t a common practice in the Philippines, it certainly seems to be gaining traction — another artist from Pateros also went viral on social media for turning his late father’s tomb into a mural each year.