Bohol: Celebration of life and death

Vincent Go
'All Saints' Day is not just about honoring the dead, but rather about the celebration of life,' says Loon parish priest Fr Joel Ruyeras

LANDSLIDE. Tombs are eroded when the quake hits Bohol on October 15. Photo by Vincent Go

BOHOL, Philippines – The traditional celebration of all Saints’ Day is one of the most anticipated in a predominantly Catholic country like the Philippines. Tombs are cleaned and painted, candles are lit and flowers are offered. It is the time of year when Filipino families remember and spend time with their departed loved ones.

In Bohol, residents are still trying to overcome the pain and trauma from a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck on October 15. The quake killed more than 200 people, destroyed thousands of homes, heritage sites like the Baclayon and Loboc churches, and cemeteries where their departed loved ones have been laid to rest.

One such place is the public cemetery of Antequera town in Bohol where a portion of the cemetery was eroded by a landslide during the earthquake. “The houses of the living were destroyed during the earthquake, as was the place of the dead, but we will try to observe All Saints’ Day as we had before,” Antequera Mayor Jose Pahang said.

Fr Joel Ruyeras, parish priest of Loon said that “All Saints’ Day is not just about honoring the dead, but rather about the celebration of life and being thankful to God for giving us the opportunity to be here and participate in this wonderful gift called life.”

REMNANTS. Even the resting place of the dead is not spared. Photo by Vincent Go

REMAINS. Tombs are broken too by the devastating quake. Photo by Vincent Go

ERODED. A portion of the Antequera Public Cemetery is eroded as a result of a landslide caused by the earthquake. Photo by Vincent Go


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