I usually visit old cemeteries before it gets packed with people for “undas”. Last year it was Paco park, which was once a beautiful cemetery. This year its the “Libingan ng mga Bayani”.
I enjoyed the peaceful and lush surrounding of the final resting place of our heroes. The silence is occasionally broken by small and big passing airplanes. The airport runway is just a few clicks away. Whenever a plane would land or take off you can hear its ear shattering sound below, so close that I hear ringing in my ears after – I wonder if the dead complains about this.
I entered the Libingan ng mga Bayani through the C5 area. Its a dangerous crossing but people do cross regularly. Since its not the proper entrance, some army guys asked me where I’m headed. “May bibisitahin lang na kaibigan”. They probably thought I’m 100 years old to have friends there but I know they won’t probe. I was grateful that they allowed me because the main gate is about a kilometer far.
A German quote say that the “only real equality is in the cemetery”, I’m not sure if that can be said in the Libingan. There are VIP’s even in places like these. The extravagant tombs belongs to the generals and government officials. I’m sure the dead never ask for it. The rest of the resting only have simple white stone crosses. They died together now they’re all here. The countless burial crosses scene from a distance is one of the most serene sight I’ve ever witness.
Every Filipino ought to visit this place and contemplate on the sacrifices of these Filipinos. They gave their all – will we do the same? Sacrifice according to a European thinker is the “passion of great souls”. So far our generation’s passion is the good life. What would be our contribution when Filipinos read about us 100 years from now? Oh yeah, its time to reexamine our generations role in rebuilding this great nation.
On my way out, I dropped by the National artist and scientist section. Unlike the overly adorned graves, theirs were very simple yet dignified. A popular blogger complains that it was “too simple”, I think it was fine. I’m sure our National Artist and Scientist, who lived modest lives, wouldn’t have it any other way.
I finally fulfilled my dream of meeting Nick Joaquin. Well, he’s six feet under but it was still a special time for fan like me. He’s was one of those people who greatly influence the way I look at Filipino history and life in general. His words redefined my concept of Filipino goodness and beauty. I’m sure he’s drinking his San Mig in heaven – plus ultra Sr. Nick!