Wednesday, November 9, 2011


This is a new face in celebrating All Soul's Day in the Philippines.

A very typical All Soul's Day in Cebu is well described in Wa' Blima! Cebu Visitors Guide with this website:

Technically, November 1st is All Saints Day, a day for commemorating the lives of the numerous illustrious figures in the Catholic pantheon of saints, while November 2 is All Souls Day, a day of rememberance for the dead in one's family and community. Technically, therefore, one would go to churches and shrines on November 1, and proceed to the graveyard on November 2. However, over the years a completely different custom has evolved, which is as follows: the saints are completely ignored, and people descend to the graves of their relatives en masse on November 1, and if for some reason this was not possible, the graves are visited on November 2.
Often, people will be busy trekking from one grave to another, trying to squeeze in face time with as many souls as possible. For instance, someone may have her in-laws interred in Cebu City, and she will spend time there with her husband and family on November 1. Then, on November 2, she may drag her family to a far-off province, to be with her own deceased relatives in her hometown. Servants are often required to make themselves useful during the celebrations on November 1, and may only be given the day off on November 2. Usually, household staff hail from the outerlying provinces of Cebu island, or from other islands, and may spend the bulk of their day off in transit.

Pieta at the entrance of the Alliance of Two Hearts Parish, Banawa, Cebu Columbary
It is still customary for us to visit our beloved dead in the cemeteries. 
In the news, just in Manila North Cemetery alone, there is said to be 1.5 million people who visited the said cemetery.
Cemeteries during All Soul's Day are know to be congested and traffic is expected around these area.

Years ago, it was a reunion of sorts and us, young cousins would gather around Juliette O. who tells us horror stories like Salem's Lot, Rosemary's Baby and the like. And we would hug each other due to fear.
But... we looked forward to those stories each year.

When my Dad died, he requested to be cremated and placed at the Alliance of Two Hearts Parish in Banawa because he wanted us to visit him.
He said if he was placed at the cemetery, Cem Park which was far from our place, chances are we couldn't visit him anymore and more so during All Soul's Day, since the place is known to be really full that day.

The Alliance of Two Hearts Parish in Banawa, Cebu City inaugurated their Bone Chamber in 2003 and now houses many of the Beloved Dead in the Parish. Even non-parishioners have also found their place there like my Uncle Monching S.

With the acceptability of Cremation, the Bone Chamber is now also a Columbary.

from Wikipedia:
columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns (i.e. urns holding a deceased’s cremated remains). The term comes from the Latincolumba (dove) and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons (see dovecote).
The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas is a particularly fine ancient Roman example, rich in frescoes, decorations and precious mosaics. Roman columbaria were built underground.[1]
Today's columbaria can be either free standing units, or part of a mausoleum or another building. Some manufacturers produce columbaria that are built entirely off-site and brought to the cemetery by a large truck. Many modern crematoria have columbaria. Fine examples of these are the columbaria in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris andGolders Green Crematorium in London.
In other cases, columbaria are built into church structures. One example is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (Los Angeles, California), which houses a number of columbarium niches in the mausoleum built into the lower levels of the Cathedral. The construction of columbaria within churches is particularly widespread in theCzechoslovak Hussite Church. An example can be seen at the Church of St Nicolas in Old Town Square (Prague). In the Roman Catholic Church, although traditional burial is still preferred, cremation is permitted provided that the cremated remains are buried or entombed. As a result, columbaria can be found within some Catholic cemeteries.
Columbaria are often closely similar in form to traditional Buddhist temples which from ancient times have housed cremated ashes. In Buddhism, ashes of the deceased may be placed in a columbarium (in Japanese Buddhism, a nokotsudo), which can be either attached to or a part of a Buddhist temple or cemetery. This practice allows for the family of the deceased to visit the temple for the conduct of traditional memorials and ancestor rites.

Before we visited the Columbary, there was a Mass for the Dead offered at 11 a.m.

Then, we went down to the Columbary.

We actually visit my Dad, my brothers, my nephew, my Uncle and our grandparents more often and it isn't difficult for my octagenarian Mom (she doesn't look it!) to come over and visit more often, too.
Because of the demand and more parishioners requested, there is another phase which is also almost completely owned but not yet necessarily occupied.
A friend, Irene B. told me, although, her grandparents remains were relatively intact, they had the remains cremated and placed in the columbary after.
The Alliance of Two Hearts Columbary is airy, well placed and well maintained and we are happy to have placed our Beloved there.

I know that this is also getting to be common in other areas in the Philippines.
Why not try to check one out in a parish near you....

No comments:

Post a Comment