SAMAL, Bataan – This province is celebrating All Saints’ Day or Undas early amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Instead of Nov. 1 when families of Filipinos troop in droves to cemeteries, days from Oct. 15 to 28 were divided to residents of 14 barangays in this town when they can visit burial grounds.
The municipal government of Samal under Mayor Aida Macalinao has implemented the visit by schedule admission after the Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid 19 banned the entry of people in cemeteries from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4 as a safeguard against the spread of the virus.
At the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) cemetery in Barangay Sta. Lucia here, village watchmen were posted on Saturday at the entrance ensuring that all incoming persons have their names, addresses, and contact numbers listed on logbooks.
After registering, visitors have to sanitize their hands with alcohol and are required to wear face mask and face shield before he was allowed to enter the Aglipayan cemetery.
“Observe proper social distancing,” caution is posted at the main gate of the cemetery.
Although the scheduled visitation began Thursday, it was noticeable that only a few people paid respect for their dead loved ones on Saturday as shown by the few lighted candles and fresh flowers on some tombs.
“It is really so different during the actual day of Undas on Nov. 1 when the cemetery is alive teeming with people and all tombs have lighted candles and fresh flowers,” some visitors said.
IFI Church Samal parish priest Fr. Roderick Miranda advised cemetery visitors to observe social distancing and follow safety and health protocols.
“Sa mga kapwa ko Aglipayano, sundin natin ang protocol kung pupunta sa sementeryo. Alam ko napakahalaga sa atin ang pagdalaw sa mga yumao, pag-aalay ng bulaklak, pagtitirik ng kandila pero hinihingi pa rin natin na ibigay ang ibayong pag-iingat para na rin sa ating kaligtasan (To my fellow Aglipayans, let us follow the protocols when going to the cemetery. I know it is very important for us to visit the departed ones, offer flowers, light candles but we still asking for you to take extra precaution for our safety,” Miranda said in an interview.
Wilma Adday of Barangay Sta. Lucia was one of those few inside the IFI cemetery who have lighted candles on the tomb of her relatives.
“Kailangan kasi. Ingat na lang dahil ipinagbabawal (It is necessary. Just be careful because it is forbidden),” Adday said when asked about the early observance of Undas.
Liberty Santos of Barangay Sapa this town offered flowers on the graves of her departed daughter and other relatives.
“Okay lang, kahit hindi Undas, lagi kaming dumadalaw dito (It is okay, even if it is not Undas, we visit their graves often),” she said. (PNA)