When Visiting the Cemetery
Alexa Montecillo (The Freeman) - October 31, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Okay, one may visit the cemetery at any time of the year. And it’s often on ordinary days that the cemeteries – at least most public cemeteries – are quite unkempt. There would be litters all over, the grass overgrowing etc.


It is common knowledge that many concerns crop up on All Souls’ Day, just by the sheer number of people that go to the cemeteries. But ordinary days at the cemetery are not at all clear of concerns, either. There are things to look out for when visiting the cemetery on any day.


As one walks on the graves’ curbs, he needs to watch his feet in the grass. There could be sharp objects hidden in the grassy ground. Or there may be a snake.

Loren Rhoads, at www.cemeterytravel.com, shares practical tips for those visiting cemeteries, whether on All Souls’ Day or on an ordinary day.

When dressing for a cemetery visit, Rhoads advises to think about where one is going. If it’s a nice manicured place, then it’s appropriate to dress respectfully. A polite hat and sunscreen are always a good idea, she says. If going further afield, she recommends wearing long pants, as it is good protection from bugs, thorns, and poisonous insect, even snakes (for which, the pants are good to be paired with boots to entirely protect the feet.

It’s also advisable to always let someone else know where one is going and when is he expected to be back, Rhoads stresses. She adds that if driving a car on the visit, anything valuable shall be tucked securely in the trunk of the car, no matter how safe the environment may seem. Or better yet, leave valuables at home.

Rhoads also emphasizes to always take clean drinking water. There’s not always available safe drinking water around cemeteries.

Mosquitoes are a worry in most cemeteries, especially in public cemeteries. There may be standing water in urns and flower holders or in water bottles carelessly left there by other visitors. These things can be good breeding place for dengue mosquitoes.

Rhoads asked members of Facebook’s ‘The Cemetery Club’ and ‘Find A Cemetery’ groups what they carry in their cemetery-visiting kits. These are the responses:

¦ Walking Stick, for poking around underbrush and avoiding holes, as well as not stumbling over fallen tombstones;

¦ First Aid Kit, including painkillers and band-aids and a sting stick, in case you’re stung by an insect;

¦ Insect Spray. The internet continues to debate whether this can also double as defense spray. Since the key ingredient in many of these sprays is not tested on humans or animals, it may not be effective as a deterrent;

¦ Pepper Spray. There’ve been several stories of visitors being attacked by stray dogs in abandoned cemeteries;

¦ Chocolate Bar or its equivalent, to fend off low blood sugar in diabetics;

¦ Hand-held clippers or a good strong pocket knife, in case one gets tangled in something;

¦ A flashlight with fresh batteries, if there’s any chance one gets caught in the dark;

¦ A survival strap…

Many people probably had no idea that a visit to the cemetery, even on an ordinary day, could be risky. Well, it could be. And it is not smart to take a chance on one’s safety. (FREEMAN)  

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