Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mass 'Burial Mass' for the Masses

Weird, even eerie title, right? Well, at least for me.

There are just many things around us that we take for granted. And I am proud to say, I owe it to my travels that I learned (and keep learning) so many other things about this country.

Take the case of our catholic ceremony or ritual (howsoever it is really called) before burying the dead. [A friend corrects me that it is called ‘mass celebration’ in the catholic church. Whatever, I just do not like associating the word "celebration" with the dead! And I do not think a ‘ceremony’ or ‘ritual’ is offensive anyway. Basta yes, the church activity just before the “kabaong” is brought to the “huling hantungan”.

I really all along thought those are done “individually”. I mean one complete mass service for an individual patay before or after the next. That is what I have seen in the decades of my life, so I just assumed it really is so. Many times I have encountered scenes where one hearse waits outside the church entrance while another inside is still in progress (process? whatever hehe). Same case with weddings and baptismals, right? I thought it really is like that!

Then again, oo nga naman, there are “mass weddings” or “mass baptismals”. [I am here, now, using the word "mass" in a different context - meaning the masses or a group of people]. I realized just recently there are also “mass burials”. The funny thing is that this realization started with me being pissed by a very slow-moving traffic on a Saturday afternoon!

Here’s the story…

I was running late for a Saturday-afternoon meet up with a client at a Mandaue mall. I just came from Liloan which is a 12-peso-ride away. The multicab I was riding (front seat of course) was crawling with so many vehicles when we reached the central area of Consolacion (town before Mandaue). I immediately thought there must have been another road accident. Unknowingly, I talked to myself (again) a bit loudly saying “tsk tsk tsk, sana walang namatay”.

To which (I was surprised) the driver answered with “patay lagi sir, daghan pa gyud”! Doubly surprised, I asked “ha, anong nangyari?”. His reply became a triple surprise to me when he said “ah, daghan ra na… sakit, drugs, gipusil, gidunggab…”. Confused at his reply and why he was grinning, I asked further saying “ano’ng ibig mong sabihin?”, to which he readily answered with “Sabado sir, misa ng mga patay” (yeah, in Tagalog). I got what he meant and I just said “ah, ana diay…”

The driver answered (to educate me) saying (in Tagalog) “ganun din naman kahit saan di ba?”. I wanted to disagree as this was first time for me to realize there is such a 'thing'. But, well, maybe I just did not notice, mass burials are probably already common everywhere in this country.



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