How Cebuanos cope with Kalag-Kalag amid a pandemic
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Their family may have no difficulties visiting the graves of deceased relatives during dates outside the Kalag-Kalag season for this year.
Riva Masbate, 23, a resident of San Remigio town in northern Cebu, shared with CDN Digital how her parents and three younger siblings adjust to changes imposed by the government in observing All Souls Day and All Saints Day amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We anticipated there will be changes. But as far we have experienced, there were no difficulties in adjusting to them,” said Riva in Cebuano.
Lately, Riva said she visits the graves of her relatives in San Remigio’s public cemetery every time she goes out for a quick morning hike.
“Last October 28, when our entire family visited my grandfather’s grave, we did not encounter any inconveniences at all. It was uneventful because it felt like Kalag-Kalag was just moved to other dates,” she added.
But if there’s one thing Riva misses about how they usually observe this tradition, it’s meeting other relatives and sharing good food in between conversations.
“It’s like a mini-family reunion every time we go out and visit our late relatives,” explained Riva.
All areas in Cebu island have been placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the most relaxed form of community quarantine, since September.
But not taking any chances with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the national government ordered to have all cemeteries, both public and private, in the country closed starting October 29 until November 3.
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Like most Filipinos, Cebuanos traditionally observe Kalag-Kalag (Undas in Tagalog) on November 1 or All Saints Day.
With prevailing government restrictions, local governments here in Cebu have decided to come up with guidelines to ensure that minimum health standards are still being practiced when individuals go to cemeteries ahead of the closure.
For April Denise Catarina’s family, they are planning to visit their dead loved ones buried in Barangay Calape in Daanbantayan town, also in northern Cebu.
April said her family is expecting lesser people flocking to cemeteries now with crowd controls in place.
Like Riva, the 23-year-old freelance video editor said she would miss the socializing part when her parents and her younger brother go out to light candles and offer flowers on the graves of their late relatives.
“It’s really going to be different now that there are a lot of restrictions and controls being implemented,” she said. /dbs
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