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My Grandmother's Backyard Cemetery

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Private cemeteries are common here in the Philippines, especially in small towns like those here in Mindanao. What I mean by “private” is the tiny piece of backyard lot where owners bury their dead, not the large memorial parks owned and ran by private people. These backyard cemeteries can be literally found in the yards, but others can be large expanse of lands where grand mausoleums are constructed.

There are rules and regulations set by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board regarding memorial parks and cemeteries in the Philippines. Many factors are considered here, like sanitation requirements, road traffic, sizes of coffins and spacing, and many others. There are procedures to be undertaken before the license to operate can be used.

However, there is a kind of exception with regards to private cemeteries. In many cases, there are no local ordinances, though there is a national law, prohibiting the burying of the dead in residential areas. So in my mother’s hometown in Luvimin, Kidapawan, her family has this backyard cemetery.

In many occasions, I have visited this cemetery and I found many graves of my late relatives. My grandfather is buried there, and so were my uncles, aunts, and even cousins. There were around ten graves, and some were as early as the 80’s. These graves are simple tombs made of concrete. The cemetery is not really the “backyard” thing, since it is situated far from the neighborhood. I have to walk some good distance, along fields of corn, rice and fruits to get there. Not to mention the clayey and muddy path I have to encounter. The cemetery is in the middle of my grandmother’s farm, amidst the fruits and golden rice.'


I really have to say that the fruits nearby are really plump and full. Maybe the dead makes a good fertilizer. LOL! Another joke surrounding these graves is the story of supernatural. Whew! We can’t help those ghost stories.

Kidding aside, this private cemetery is oftentimes more advantageous to the family as the graves can be easily visited and maintained. It was sort of creepy, but the silence in the place makes me ponder more on life and death.

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