Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Public Cemetery of Santo Domingo

Its 7am and people are heading off to the old public cemetery. The cemetery of Santo Domingo, Minalin in the province of Pampanga has been around since the 1800s.

I got CowCow and my nephew Dadi to tag along. 

Some burial grounds are re-used (err... recycled?). The sepulturero (gravedigger) removes old bones to give way as new burial spots. Bones that are abandoned by families or whose whole clans are long dead end up in a mass grave.

So it would be very rare to find a 18th century marker now, since some families would have several bones share one headstone. Those who feel they are now far removed from their great, great, great grandparents opt to bury all the family bones together. The headstone would then be marked with the death date of the recently deceased or all of the names of the dead family members. 

Most of the graves have fresh coats of paint.

A very personalized headstone, handwritten with a marker.

These are called Condominiums by the locals.

CowCow looks at Kuya Dadi as he lights a candle.

I had Dadi light the candles at the topmost grave. Out of kids' reach. Some boys would collect the melted candles way too early and sell it as floor wax. This is okay, but they just have to wait after the holiday. People light votive candles as offerings and prayers for the dead.

The family burial plot: My uncle, aunt, cousin and nephews.