Kalag-Kalag panata: A young man’s promise to his departed loved ones
CONSOLACION, Cebu — As November 1st arrives on the calendar, people in Cebu and across the Philippines begin their annual preparations for the Kalag-Kalag tradition. Amid the busy crowds, where men and women diligently gather flowers, candles, and other essentials, a heartwarming story of gratitude and respect unfolds in Consolacion, where one working man, Jonathan Dupio, sets an inspiring example by dedicating his free time to cleaning his father’s and other loved ones’ graves.
Paying back the sacrifice
Jonathan Dupio, a resident of Consolacion, a town in northern Cebu, works tirelessly to support his family, just as he was raised with love and care by his parents. For him, Kalag-Kalag is more than just a tradition; it’s a heartfelt tribute to the family that has shaped him into the person he is today.
“Sa unang panahon akong papa gasakripisyo gyud namo ug amo lang ibalik niya ang sakripisyo sad,” he said.
(In the past, my father would sacrifice for us and what we are doing is giving back our sacrifice to him.)
Dupio, works as a production worker, a job that demands much of his time and energy. However, his devotion to his family and the values instilled in him by his parents inspires him to go the extra mile during Kalag-Kalag.
Cleaning father, relatives tombs, a panata
Annually, as the Kalag-Kalag occasion draws near, Dupio takes advantage of his days off from work to continue a longstanding family tradition. This customary practice revolves around the cleaning and enhancement of the family’s resting places in the Pulpogan Public Cemetery.
“Ako nakalugar-lugar man sad ko og ari diri, unya mao man sad ni among panata nga ari sukad sa unang panahon,” Dupio added.
(I got extra time to come here, and that is also our promise to come here since the past.)
Jonathan’s father, Joselito Dupio Sr., who passed away in 2020, remains a significant source of inspiration for him. His father’s wisdom and sacrifices played a pivotal role in molding Jonathan’s character and work ethic. Cleaning his father’s grave is a way for him to express his gratitude and deep respect for the man who was not only his father but also his mentor.
Early at cemetery
In a brief interview with Dupio, he told CDN Digital that he was already at the cemetery at around 6’o clock in the morning. He plans to be finished early so that he could spend the rest of the day working as a “habal-habal” driver and earn a little income that he could also share to his family for tonight’s celebration.
“Alas 6 pa ko ma’am kay gaplano man gud ko na mahuman ko ani, mamasahero ko. Naa man sad koy bata gud gi kuan sab ba. Kana bitawng… naa man sad koy pamilya,” Dupio shared with CDN Digital.
(I was here since 6 a.m. because I also plan that when I am done here, I would drive a habal-habal to earn extra money. I also have a child. I have a family.)
Differences in Kalag-Kalag celebrations
In response to inquiries about whether he had observed any differences compared to previous Kalag-Kalag celebrations, Dupio affirmed that a significant change was clearly noticeable.
According to Jonathan, he appreciates the freedom to carry out his responsibilities this year, which is a contrast from the limitations he encountered in prior years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kaniadto na naa pay COVID, di gyud mi ka sud dali-dali, […] nakakuan ani ko sa una pero ginagmay lang, dili man pwede magdugay gud diri sa una,” he said.
(Before when there was still COVID, we cannot just enter here right away, we did these her before but only little enhancements and cleaning because we were not allowed to stay long here then.)
Importance of family in Kalag-Kalag
Dupio’s story reminds us of the importance of family, gratitude, and respect for our roots. In a world that often rushes forward, it is heartening to witness someone like Jonathan Dupio, who takes the time to honor his past while working for a brighter future for his own family
This Kalag-Kalag, as people from all walks of life gather to remember and honor their ancestors, Jonathan Dupio’s actions stand as a symbol of the enduring power of love and family bonds, and an inspiring reminder that gratitude and respect are timeless virtues, especially during this season.
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