After being closed for two years due to the threat presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, cemeteries across the nation have finally reopened to the public, allowing Filipinos to continue their custom of visiting loved ones who have passed during All Saints' Day, Nov. 1, and on All Souls' Day, Nov. 2.
With COVID-19 regulations relaxing this year, cemeteries and columbaria all over the Philippines are already anticipating an unprecedented number of visitors as Filipinos have not been able to physically celebrate this tradition since the pandemic. Many are now choosing to hold their family gatherings and pray for the souls of the departed together.
Despite Undas being a family holiday, there are still some essential things to take note of to ensure that you are well-prepared. Proper preparation and following health protocols and guidelines would help lighten the experience and allow for a more meaningful time with loved ones.
Watch out for these common concerns as you head home for the weekend!
Expect longer traffic queues and more people on the road as Filipinos travel great distances to visit their loved ones in the province. Additionally, several road closures could aggravate the heavy traffic even further. One method to avoid getting stuck in traffic is traveling during off-peak hours. It is best to leave earlier and ahead of the crowd or go later when most people have already arrived in their respective regions.
Packed public transportation
With millions of people traveling simultaneously, Filipinos rushing home would fill public transportation. Make sure to check the Undas LRT, MRT, and P2P schedules ahead of time so you can plan accordingly and avoid peak hours. If possible, it’s also best to purchase bus tickets in advance to avoid long lines at bus stops.
Higher prices for flowers and candles
There is a high possibility of a price increase for items commonly bought during Undas season due to either high demand or short supply, especially in areas near cemeteries. It would be best to purchase these items ahead of time and from places further away from graveyards to get these products at a better price.
Crowding inside cemeteries
As this would be the first time in two years that Filipinos would be able to celebrate this tradition fully, you can expect an unprecedented amount of people visiting their loved ones in the cemetery. As we brave the masses at cemeteries and everywhere else during Undas, let us keep the coronavirus in mind and remember to prioritize our and our loved ones' safety by following the health protocols and guidelines.
Additionally, to ensure the safety of you, your loved ones, and your belongings, here are some preventive measures to take during Undas:
Wear a mask and practice social distancing
The threat of the COVID-19 virus is still present in our country even if the pandemic protocols have relaxed. To lessen its transmission, it would be wise to wear a mask still and practice social distancing, especially in crowded areas. Considering that this is when many people would visit their families and relatives, practicing these safety measures would also protect them.
Do not leave lit candles unattended
Keep a lit candle in sight at all times, snuff them out before leaving the area or going to sleep, and make sure they are fully out. Leaving burning candles unattended could result in a massive fire.
Lock your doors
Before departing, ensure all doors, windows, and gates are locked. Close any window curtains and make sure your valuables aren't visible from the outside. Also, don't leave important items, such as bicycles and motorbikes, lying around without locking them or chaining them to a solid post. If possible, it would also be good to coordinate with your neighbors.
Ensure that homes are safe from accidents
Make sure to disconnect any appliances that are not in use or turn them off at the main breaker. This will save you money and keep your home safe from fire and other possible accidents that could happen while you’re away.
Honoring our departed loved ones is a great way to commemorate the lives of those who have gone before us, regardless of culture or people. If you have the opportunity to observe Undas together with your family, it’s best to prepare and be safe to ensure a worthwhile time together.