I woke up on Sunday morning a little groggy from the late-night conversation with my parents. It was almost noon when I decided to get out of bed and find myself something to eat. Apparently, my brother and I were the only ones still asleep while everyone else were having breakfast. I was still at the top of our stairs when my youngest brother called out. He instructed me to wake my other brother up because we’re going to the cemetery that afternoon.
The commemoration of our dearly departed in the Philippines is called Undas. It is the time of the year when everyone go home to their families in order to visit relatives who have died. It is usually more of a family reunion approach, a gesture wherein the living pay respect and offer prayers for all souls in purgatory. This applies for most people whose departed loved ones were laid to rest in their hometown that they need to travel by air or sea in order to get there.
As for my family, we usually visit our grandparents two to three times a year: on their birthdays, death anniversaries, and All Souls Day. Since we are fully aware that there are going to be a lot of people in the cemetery and traffic will be worse, we visit a week before or after everyone else does. Both my grandparents from Mom’s side were buried at Eternal Gardens Memorial Park in Caloocan City. Before heading there, we bought mini baskets of flowers at Dangwa Flower Market where most suppliers of flowers are.
It was almost five in the afternoon when we got to the cemetery. It’s unusual for us to see a lot of families gathered around their departed loved ones’ graves. Some even had a tent set up for them to have a mini-picnic. As always, we pray the rosary led by Mom.
Since we left late, we weren’t able to hear Sunday mass before going to the cemetery. On our way back to the South, Mom thought we’d hear mass at the National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus in Malacañang. Incidentally, last Sunday was St. Jude Thaddeus’ feast day. He is the Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases.
It was a concelebrated mass presided by the parish priests and Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila. His homily was beautiful. It was about how specifically asking God for our personal intentions; however, in order for Him to provide this, we must be willing to surrender all our worldly possessions.
Did I mention that it was my first time to hear mass there? It was, and it meant I am entitled to three wishes. Whatever those petitions are, I’d rather keep them to myself.
I don’t know why, but this day kind of gave me the breather I needed the most.
Added on 04 Nov 2012: Because I’m too lazy to write a separate post on our visit to Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City yesterday, I’m just going to post a few photos here: