LOOK: Undas 2022 at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City
MANILA, Philippines — On All Saints’ Day, dozens of Filipinos flocked to the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City to pay tribute to their loved ones amid bleak skies and intermittent rains, and the still-existing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sucat cemetery has been open for 24 hours from Monday, October 31, until Tuesday, November 1. Its operation, however, will return to normal hours – from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. – starting Wednesday.
Grace, a flower vendor outside the cemetery, said Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae) – which recently wreaked havoc in the country – hampered their sales over the weekend.
“Kahit maliit ang kita, maubos lang ang paninda (It’s okay even if we earn just a little, as long as we get to sell all our wares),” she said.
Vehicles entering the Manila Memorial Park were subjected to police inspections while personnel from the local government check the bags of visitors to ensure that no prohibited items are brought inside the cemetery.
Police said the following items are not allowed inside cemeteries during the national observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, referred to in the Philippines as Undas: Firearms, explosives, weapons, sharp objects like knives and scissors, alcoholic beverages, gambling materials, karaoke and loud sound systems, and illegal drugs.
READ: Undas 2022: What to keep in mind when joining crowds in cemeteries, columbaria
As of 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, a number of lighters, boxes of cigarettes, and scissors have been confiscated from cemetery goers.
Visitors clutched umbrellas or took shelter in rentable tents as sporadic rains poured over them.
There were stalls that sold a variety of food, drinks, and toys as well as police and assistance desks stationed around the cemetery.
Aside from police officers, personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard, Red Cross, Parañaque City Health Office, and Bureau of Fire Protection were also deployed to secure the area in case of emergencies.
Among notable personalities buried in the Manila Memorial Park are former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, and his parents, former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino and former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
The Aquino family’s mausoleum was adorned with yellow flowers and wreaths from President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. The Office of the President usually sends flowers to all dead former presidents of the country.
The gravesite of actor Rico Yan was also beautified with flowers and tarpaulin with the words “Forever Young” and “My sweet prince.”
Yan was found dead inside his hotel room in 2002. The autopsy result indicated that he died of cardiac arrest caused by acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis while asleep.
Aside from Yan and the Aquinos, some of other known personalities buried at the Manila Memorial Park are AJ Perez, Paquito Diaz, and Pitoy Moreno.
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