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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Remembering Those - "In the House of Many Mansions "

I happened to visit my father last Oct 31, 2008 where he was laid to rest. I am glad the caretaker had finally laid the new headstone I had ordered. Some careless staff of Memorial Park had run into the headstone and through the years the cracked on the stone is getting bigger. I decided to have the headstone taken care of as well as the epitaph. The new one looks good.

In the Philippines, it had been a tradition for surviving family members to visit their loved ones who had been summoned to the “House of Many Mansions” ahead of them. From the oldest to the youngest family members they trouped together to be with their loved ones unmindful of the heat and traffic jam. Tents are allowed inside spacious Memorial Parks where families bring food for the whole family to partake. In case one had forgotten to bring food fast foods are allowed inside Memorial Parks for a fee. Sorry for the small entrepreneurs who cannot afford to pay, they just settled themselves at the entrance. That I guess is to set orders inside Memorial Parks. Otherwise the place would look like a market place.

To set orders and to preserve the sanctity of the departed loved ones. Memorial Parks and Cemeteries banned liquor, playing cards, loud music, sharp-objects and even have some police officers inside to take care of misbehaving folks. Some pick pockets take their chances in crowded Memorial Parks and Cemeteries. The uniformed men would somehow scare them off. Tents of different sizes and colors are set up for those who vigil during the night. I had never experienced the night vigil coz the absence of a bathroom would make me uncomfortable. Candles of different colors and sizes illuminated the night. Floral arrangements are beautiful!

I recalled a survey made by one television station in Manila as to – “What makes most Filipinos happy?” The reply was unanimous. “Family” That explains why departed loved ones are still remembered by all Filipinos between the dates of Oct 31 to Nov 2. Enjoy a trick or treat? How about doing it at the Memorial Parks folks?

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