CULTURE

LOOK: Visitors rush to cemeteries ahead of Undas closure

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Visitors took the chance to visit their departed loved ones days before cemeteries close down nationwide on Oct. 29. Photo by JL JAVIER

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines Life, October 28) — Despite the easing of health protocols in the country, cemeteries, columbariums, and memorial parks are closed from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, similar to last year’s commemoration of Undas.

Prior to the pandemic, large cemeteries such as the Manila North Cemetery would draw around a million visitors during Undas. Due to restrictions from COVID-19 protocols, only around 20,000 people are allowed to visit per day.

In a CNN Philippines report, one of the visitors attested that the closure of cemeteries is a change of pace, saying that it’s a more “meaningful and peaceful” way to remember the departed compared to the usually crowded days of Undas. “Ako’y nagpunta ng mas maaga para makaiwas din sa hawaan,” he said. 

Below, CNN Philippines Life photographer JL Javier went to different cemeteries around Metro Manila prior to the Undas closures to capture how visitors are remembering their departed loved ones.

Newly lit candles left behind by visitors illuminate tombs around the Manila South Cemetery. Photo by JL JAVIER

Families in the Manila South Cemetery make their way towards the exit at the end of visiting hours at 5 p.m. on Oct. 26. Photo by JL JAVIER

Many gravesites in the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque are seen marked with fresh flowers on Oct. 28, the last day before cemeteries close. Photo by JL JAVIER

Guests at a columbarium inside the Manila Memorial Park take a moment to visit. Photo by JL JAVIER

Inside the San Felipe Neri Cemetery in Mandaluyong City, a man reaches for their loved one’s grave to adorn it with sampaguita. Photo by JL JAVIER

A visitor uses a marker to fill in the faded text on a gravestone. Photo by JL JAVIER

Visitors entering the Manila North Cemetery are welcomed by police personnel, who inspect items being brought in and remind the visitors to observe health and social protocols. Photo by JL JAVIER

A tomb gets a fresh layer of paint in time for Undas. Photo by JL JAVIER

Families bring in food and beverages to spend a few hours by their loved ones’ graves. Photo by JL JAVIER