SPOTLIGHT: Filipinos let go of tradition, celebrate ‘loneliest’ All Souls’ Day amid pandemic

“Forgive your family. They must have their reasons for not visiting you today.”

Having taken care of the Catholic cemetery in the city of Dagupan, north of Manila, for two decades, Romulo Soriano already knows whose graves he should whisper these thoughts to on All Souls’ Day.

These are the unkempt tombs covered with vines without offerings of candles, flowers, and food.

“I talk to the dead so they won’t feel alone when their relatives are not there to visit them while others are surrounded by their loved ones,” said Romulo.

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