“Lord, as years go by, I fear the yoke of sickness and pain and I worry how my life will end. And so I humbly ask you, Lord, that when my time comes to leave this life, do not call me by sudden death, Not by accident that tears the body apart, Not by illness that leaves the mind confused, Or the senses impaired; Not at the mercy of evil forces; Not with a heart full of hate or a body racked with pain; Not abandoned, lonely, without love or care; Not by my own hand in a moment of despair. My dear Lord Jesus, let death come as a gentle friend to sit and linger with me until you call my name.”
My father died when I was only 10 so I spent many an All Saints Day at the old Manila North Cemetery where he was buried. This was in the 1950s before memorial parks became popular. For days before November 1, my siblings and I would clean up the grave site, repaint the tombstone white, arrange flowering pots around the grave and polish the marble epitaph.
Once there was Baybayin, the Philippine’s pre-colonial syllabary - a set of written symbols that represent syllables which make up words. It thrived not just among the affluent but in all levels of society. Characterized by its wave-like script, Baybayin surprised curious Spaniards in its wide use as the prevalent reading and writing communication mode at that time.