And I found myself running around, apparently lost in this 32-acre hilly terrain dotted with massive cedar trees located inside the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suffolk, Virginia. I was supposed to accompany my aunt at the grocery in town but I found a map of the cemetery when we visited the nearby Riddick’s Folly House Museum. From the old train station, the famed public cemetery listed in USA’s National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) was just beyond the fence. I’m such a sucker for maps and finding places like solving a mystery case. I asked my aunt to squeeze in a little time before our chore and she gladly obliged. Even for a moment, I was excited to explore the grounds by Nansemond River where Suffolk community began.
Death and dying is an inevitable subject in conversations when All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day approaches. Like an evening conversation over a warm fire one cold and rainy night in Maligcong, from the talks of somewhat paranormal encounters in the rice fields we ended up talking about Igorot culture and the commonality of their beliefs within tribes in Cordilleras. It was interesting to talk to a native i-Maligcong and hear from them their traditions in wakes and still observed but slightly modified in the modern times for practicality. My thoughts immediately shifted to their neighboring town of Sagada only an hour away. The town has seen tremendous visits year long for its unique burial tradition of Hanging Coffins. Much so during All Saints day for its fiery spectacle during the Festival of Lights. But these popular display is just a small part of their traditions.
Having one of the oldest monuments in the Philippines in the form of the impressive San Juan Bautista Church, I wasn’t surprised that there were more to discover in this predominantly Catholic municipality of Jimenez, Misamis Occidental. We met with our local guide from the DOT office to give us a tour of the town. Visiting the church, it was a good idea the tourism installed a few boards showcasing the other attractions in town. Particularly noticeable were the heritage houses, a cemetery and a mysterious tree by the river.
It was not hard to notice the wide national road neatly fringed with rows of palm trees once we entered the City of Tagum, Davao del Norte while on a shuttle coming from Davao City proper. This is probably one of the cleanest and greenest national road I’ve seen in the country. The #TravelMindanao group visits Tagum City for a day trip to see what this fast developing city has to offer.
I followed a man carrying a bundle of wood the locals call Saleng, a part of a pine trunk which easily ignites when lit. There were already a parade of people making their way to the local cemetery on the afternoon of All Saint’s Day in Sagada. When we reached the cemetery ground, the smoke-filled air and the grounds that looks like they were burning greeted us. It was one of the unique traditions in the mountain province I have first seen 7 years ago. They call the practice Panag-apoy which means to “light a fire”.
Early morning on to our third day in Macau finds us walking through narrow alleys of an old neighborhood in San Antonio, Macau. Climbing zigzagging stairs, sleeping alley cats and neighborhood shrines to find us gasping a little for breath and realizing we’re already in level of the higher floors of the residential buildings in front of us. I thought this urban landscape of windows, air conditioners and stained walls felt a lot like the Old Manila. But a few more flight of stairs led us to Macau’s largest and oldest park, the Camoes Garden.