Cemeteries: haven for business

Fast-food chains have led the pack of business establishments that set up stalls in and outside cemeteries.

 

Jollibee, McDonalds, KFC, Chowking, and Greenwich. Name it, they’re right there where you need them.

They have personnel attending to "walk in" customers who buy "take out" meals and bring them to their respective memorial lot. Some, however, go around selling the meals like it were a door-to-door delivery.


In San Pedro Memorial Park, an employee of a fastfood chain said the prices of meal packages are relatively higher than the usual – from an additional of about two pesos to ten pesos — because the stall costs them P3,000.

Aside from chicken meals, pizza is also sold along with hotdogs, popcorn and burger in stalls along the park’s sidewalks.


Those who cannot afford restaurant food packed in styrofoam for at least P70 can go for a "kwek- kwek" (boiled egg fried with flour) at P4, boiled and fried peanuts at P5 per small cup or ginanggang (roasted banana) for P3 a stick.  

Cold drinks are also offered in different serving sizes. At the Wireless Cemetery, a woman sells cold juice in tetra packs at P8 each. Soft drinks are also available at P12 to P14 in stalls outside the gate.

But in Davao Memorial Park, juice drinks are offered in cups costing from P5 to P15.      
Ice cream peddlers in bicycles normally found both in posh and low-cost subdivisions have also found their way to the cemeteries.

Fruits are also sold: green mango at P5 per piece, peeling and slicing included. Pineapple slices are sold at least P10 and botong (young coconut) is sold at P20.

But vendor Ate Rusty, 31, is among the biggest crowd drawers at the Davao Memorial Park. She put up a barbecue stand with chair and tables for those who want to "dine in".
Alfred, 25, said he likes to eat "adidas" (chicken intestine) with "puso" (“hanging rice”) with his cousins. Rusty said she sells barbecue for at least P2 more expensive than in her usual stall in Agdao public market so she could pay for the P500 rent.  
Cellular phone load retailers have also put up stalls. Eileen, 24, of Juna Subdivision, who visited her father's grave in Davao Memorial Park, says she is glad loading stations are available nearby. "I don't have to go out of the park to buy when I run out of load.”

Even cellular phone SIM pack vendors are also present. A vendor sells cellular phone SIM packs in a table near the park's police assistance center.


In San Pedro Memorial Park, cellular phone loading stations have been put up near the park's chapel.  

 

Services are also offered for tombstone repaint and carving, cutting of grasses and even guide ship to those who can’t find their way to their loved one's tomb.

At the Wireless Cemetery, just beside two privately-owned memorial parks, youngsters offer to clean tombs at P20 to P30, pledging a clean and more presentable grave in less than 30 minutes. But families who own mausoleums might not need these kids, a cemetery official said. Tombs of rich families are tended to by caretakers paid at least P150 a month.


Lapida (headstone) carvers also take advantage of the crowd. A craftsman offers to do a new stone made of cement at P400, a marble-based stone at P1,500 to 2, 500; and P8,000 to P9,000 for a stone with stainless letters.  


Those who are satisfied with a "lapida" repair or repaint can get the service at a package price of P80.

Dodong, 17,  of Catalunan Grande said he charges P50 for cleaning tombs at the Davao Memorial Park. But the price is negotiable. "I'm worried because they might turn to other cleaners who might offer lower fees,” he said.

Candles can be bought from P1 to P60, depending on the packaging. Orchids and anthuriums placed in tin vases are available at P25 to P50 pesos. Chrysanthemums are sold cheaper at P20 to P30.

 

But Manang Shirley, 47, of GSIS Heights said, she could save if she buys the goods and the food from outside.


Those who have vehicles should be warned that some cemeteries charge for "vehicle pass" and parking space. San Pedro Memorial Park charges P60 for vehicle pass while Orchard Gardens offers pay parking at P30. San Pedro Memorial also charges P50 for those who will pitch tents. They also offer tents for rent for at least P1,200, but there were no more tents available as of Oct.31.


Toilets, by the way, are not for free. At the Wireless Cemetery, toilet use is for P5 while at the San Pedro Memorial Park, the charge is P2.

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