Nagalit ang patay sa tagal ng hintay malibing

Feb 18, 2024
A long time ago, maybe 35 years ago, on one of my Papa’s vacations in the Philippines, he visited his favorite istambayan— Chinatown in Binondo.
My father’s hobby was watching movies. While he was walking along Recto Avenue, he saw a large billboard of a Tagalog movie titled “Nagalit ang Patay sa Haba ng Lamay.” He found the title so funny so he looked for the theater showing it. He was very excited to watch it. Papunta pa lang sya sa sinehan, tawa na sya ng tawa. Unfortunately, pabalik-balik daw sya sa Recto, he couldn’t find the cinema. He got tired walking back and forth for an hour he gave up. Siguro lumang sine na yun except the billboard hasn’t been dismantled.

My Kuya Romy’s situation reminds me of our father’s kwento. Kuya heaved his last breath on the night of February 5, Monday. We were expecting his viewing would be after a couple of days or the most a week. The schedule was perfect because I would still be here in the US. To our big disappointment, the funeral home/cemetery could only accommodate my brother’s viewing on March 15 and March 16 funeral. That’s more than one month after Kuya’s death. And while waiting for his resting place, he would be at the morgue, in a freezer.

We could not get an alternative cemetery kasi ang sabi nya sa mga anak nya, that when his time comes, duon daw nya gusto ilibing sa tabi ng mama and papa. Thy will be done. Buti na lang I bought the adjacent lots 25 years ago. My intention then was so we don’t step on other people’s graves when we come to the cemetery to visit Papa.

I cried a river after being informed of this schedule. I am returning to Manila soon and this would mean I won’t be present at the viewing and funeral. Parang hindi tapos. Parang may kulang. Parang hindi tama.

My husband suggested that I just visit Kuya Romy at the morgue before I head back to Manila. Ha? Parang sa movies, hihilahin yung freezer drawer para ipakita yung kamag-anak na patay. Tapos nagkamali pa ang hila, ibang patay ang nakuha. Ginawin pa man din ang Kuya Romy.

I can’t do that. I don’t want to do that. Sorry Kuya. Baka pagbukas nung freezer pagalitan ako ng kuya “Ano ba bakit hanggang ngayon hindi nyo pa ako inililibing. Ginaw na ginaw na ako. Hindi ako maka rest in peace.” Parang rest in freeze.

My daughter said I could wait here. But that’s almost a month away. I miss my apopoo. I want to hug and kiss him and kiliti him. I also have many things to do. I am busy in my own little world. She said I could come back. “You’ve done that before. You are a million miler, you can do anything.” Not really, I still have to buy tickets, sit for 15 hours, and endure jetlag.

I feel sad and bad. I will definitely leave next week as scheduled but I am in a quandary if I will come back for Kuya Romy’s funeral. Maybe I will just host a prayer service in our hometown.

In the meantime, rest in freeze Kuya. We love you.

Kuya Romy, burial sched


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