First day of November. All Saint’s Day. The day when thousands of people gather in cemeteries and pray for loved ones who have moved on to the afterlife. In line with this, I decided to accompany Mom with her morning errands today to prep for our annual family tradition of visiting the cemetery at night along with our relatives.
I got up at around half past eight. My alarm clock was still able to wake me up. It’s been months since I had to wake up to it. Mom and I left home after an hour.
We had three destinations for the first half of the day:
•Rizal Plaza, and
•Leyte Catholic Cemetery
Our first stop was Panny’s. Each family usually brings something for everyone. Mom wanted to buy individually-packed bread for easy handling and eating but they were out of stock. Cakes and rolls were not options. We left without buying anything and postponed it until later on.
The whole plaza was rented out by the mayor. He sponsored an event (Flower Days?) from October 31 to November 2 wherein florists get free spaces for their business. There were only less than ten of them.
Scattered across the plaza were various floats used for the Parade of Lights event last June to celebrate the whole city’s fiesta. I wasn’t able to watch the parade but I heard a lot of negative rumors. Apparently, it was a flop.
We purchased two baskets which were manually arranged in front of us for last-minute changes and additions. Mom also bought a few candles nearby.
Leyte Catholic Cemetery
The cemetery was rather quiet in the morning. As we entered, a slight gust of wind greeted us. It was scorching hot. We started sweating after a few minutes.
We proceeded to the graves. Not a second was wasted. We lighted candles, offered our prayers, and cleaned up a bit. The rest of the morning was spent with our relatives that were present near Mama’s (grandma’s) grave. They covered a lot of topics: Diabetes, Coke, Suman Latik (I don’t know the English equivalent), Sandy (the storm), and much more. It was amazing how the flow of conversation changed from one to another. We laughed a bunch but also got life lessons and health tips. Very educational, in my opinion.
By the time we checked our watches, it was almost 2PM. One by one, our relatives started leaving. Mom and I lit a candle and arranged the flowers before leaving too. Mom did a quick check to see if there were garbage. There were none. And as we left the cemetery, a question was still left unanswered:
“What should we buy for the annual evening visit?”