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Editorial | Preparing for Undas

In the face of death, we are all equal. This is what Mexican illustrator Jose Posad (late 19th – early 20th century) portrayed in the series of cartoons on which all layers of the then Mexican society were depicted as skeletons. No matter one’s position in society, all of us end up as skeletons.

The entire country is preparing for All Saints Day and All Souls Day, two of the imposed Catholic holidays falling on November 1 and 2. This week, most of those who are living in the city return to their hometowns to pay respect to their ancestors, usually causing transportation jams.

The city has a traffic advisory on those who are visiting the cemeteries to avoid traffic congestion expected on these dates. Mayor Sara Duterte has also urged the public to go earlier to the cemeteries to prevent heavy traffic as many families still carry the tradition of staying for the entire day or even overnight to hold vigil.

This led the police to tighten security to keep the people safe with Police Regional Office 11 Director Brig Gen. Filmore Escobal calling on his subordinates to work for a “zero incident” in the region. Additional police personnel are deployed support the security particularly in the cemeteries. Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) head Angel Sumagaysay said close to 10,000 personnel from various law enforcement agencies – police, military, auxilliary, and other force multipliers – will be deployed starting Oct. 30.

In the Filipino tradition, the souls of the dead is said to return and stay with their loved ones on the night of November 1 to 2. This is the reason why we often gather in families or communities and spend time in cemeteries. Offering food on the altar during All Saints Day for the saints is said bring blessings to the family.

In cities, however, the dead is honored differently. These two days are spent partying in scary Halloween costumes or watching horror flicks.

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