'Dont Die Yet, if You Don't Have Money'-A A +A
By Max Sangil
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
ALL roads lead to the cemeteries. Don't forget, said a text message: 'Dalawin ninyo and mga mahal ninyo sa buhay na namatay na. Kung hindi, sila ang dadalaw sa inyo.'
If you don't have money, don't die yet, said a placed ad. The cost of dying has become so prohibitive. Funeral services, not including your burial ground, will run to hundreds of thousands of pesos. It is imperative that each town and city should have municipal cemeteries for those who cannot afford memorial parks. Memorial park lots in Angeles City and City of San Fernando cost more on a per square basis than any of the prestigious subdivisions hereabout.
Look what happens when there are no estate managers managing cemeteries. While we say that all roads lead to the cemeteries, there are no more roads inside public and Catholic cemeteries.
The Roman Catholic cemetery in Angeles may be centuries old and managed in turn by an appointed caretaker or sepulturero by the parish priests. During All Saints’ Day, when families visit the graves, they can't really be sure that the gravesite they visit is where the departed family member is buried.
Thanks to Bishop Pablo David aka Bishop Ambo, he is now exerting efforts to put to order the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Barangay Cutcut. I heard he is still working on the deed of donation of the cemetery area.
There was a municipal cemetery in Sitio Patiriktirik, Barangay Pulungbulo in Angeles City, but this was demolished in the early 90s to give way to a recreational area. There were some malicious talks during those times that the digging was ordered by a government official because he was made to believe that part of the fabled Yamashita treasure was buried there. True or not, we can't confirm that.
As it implies, a Catholic cemetery is intended for use by Catholics. But what about non-Catholics who can't afford even a small lawn at a memorial park?
In many cases, in the age-old Filipino tradition, the bereaved family will have to raise funds out of donations by friends and relatives. So the dead has to wait for the burial until the raised cash is sufficient. So visit a wake in a depressed area, chances are you will see several tables of card games. It is one way of raising funds for the dead to get a decent burial.
Many political families were able put up dynasties because of their assistance to the dead of their impoverished constituents. I remember the late Nueva Ecija Governor Eduardo Joson Sr. who shouldered to the last centavo burial expenses of the poor in his province.
The late Ramon Arcilla of Angeles City always topped the council elections in Angeles City due to his leading the reciting of the rosary during burial parades.
Even today, politicians visit wakes during the election season, even if they are no kin or friend of the departed. Only in Philippine politics.
My friend Dante Timbol, owner of La Pieta Memorial Park in Angeles City, yearly scratches his head in disbelief a day or two after All Saints’ Day when a mountain of trash is left behind by the visitors. To think the families cleaned the graves days before and only to be dirtied by their visit, he said.
Finally, the Funeraria Angelina in Sto. Rosario Street in Angeles City, near the church and fronting the Holy Angel University -- which has been there as far as I can remember -- was dismantled and eventually transferred elsewhere. I heard it was sold for a hefty sum by the Cruzes, owner of the parlor.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 30, 2012.