CORONAVIRUS disease (Covid-19) will also disturb the general observance of the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days (November 1 and 2) in Bacolod, as cemeteries and memorial parks will be closed at that time.
This time, families started to visit their departed loved ones because there are government regulations that will not allow the visit to be done on November 1 and 2 due to a big possibility that their presence could generate a crowd inside the public and private cemeteries.
As early as now, some families have already started to visit their dead while the government is still allowing them to go to the cemetery to light a candle or offer a bouquet of flowers and prayers for those who have gone ahead.
At Victoria Park Granada Public Cemetery in Bacolod, tombstone engraver Manny Allera said there were families who visited their dead loved ones mostly in the morning and few people come in the afternoon.
But there were those who already cleaned up the tombs, repainted and others have already lit candles and offered prayers for the eternal repose of the souls of their dead loved ones.
Going to the cemetery in the observance of this tradition is a yearly activity of families and friends. Filipinos believed that it would be better to visit them early than by superstition, the dead will be visiting each of them which some being experienced in bad dreams.
It is the time of the year that families will cook native delicacies such as sticky rice cakes (Suman and Kalamayhati). Others also cook Valenciana and prepare a full meal or dinner for the family and friends.
But they set aside a portion of those foods for the dead where they put it on a table with lighted candles, photos of the dead loved one, and prayers are offered by the families to pay their homage to those who have gone ahead.
Manny Allera, a tombstone engraver, said he has a lot of works now that the All Saints’ and Souls’ Days are forthcoming. For one tombstone, it would take him four hours to finish it. Usually, families will seek his services when the occasion comes near.
"I have a lot of tombstones to finish and sometimes my hands get shaky. But I am used to doing this kind of work," he said.
Since Grade 5, he started to work on the tombstone as his father was also doing the same. So he inherited these skills from his father.
A flower vendor also vends their baskets of flowers outside the public cemetery as people will usually buy to offer it to their departed loved ones.
The small basket of flowers costs P50 and up, depending on the kinds of flowers and flower arrangements.