Guimaras Grave Diggers and The American Expat

Since retiring to the Philippines well over four years ago, I’ve made it a practice to do as little as possible. But when I had the opportunity recently to help the local Guimaras grave diggers in my official capacity as an American expat in the Philippines, I snatched it.Guimars Gravediggers and The Kano


I’m sure the workers at the Guimaras Gardens Memorial Park didn’t need the aid of an old geezer like me.  But I was waiting for the local priest to show up to conduct a Mass for Cousin Emma’s Mother in observance of her dearly departed Nanay’s birthday and I was getting bored.

The Mass was to start at 9:00 am.  Despite the efforts of the Philippine government to initiate a new policy of “Juan Time” to encourage Filipinos to be more punctual, I knew this memorial service would begin on the more traditional standard “Filipino Time.” What did I care? I’m retired with all the time in the world.Freshly dug grave at Guimaras Gardens Memorial Park

The local Guimaras gravediggers had already done all the grunt work as evidenced by the fresh grave they had already dug  shown in the picture above. But as the crew was hauling the burial vault up a slight incline on the road at Guimaras Gardens Memorial Park, I thought I would give them a hand as shown in the lead photo.

  Burial vault being lowered into the ground The friendly Filipinos gladly accepted my help and graciously allowed the Official Staff Photographer  for Philippines Plus, my sainted wife, to take that “action” shot of me.The vault is lowered at Guimaras Gardens Memorial Park

I wisely got out of the way after helping the guys maneuver the concrete burial vault over the grave. The recently departed soul that the vault was being prepared for would have their coffin lowered into the ground later that day.

Here’s a close-up look at the apparatus the Guimaras gravediggers used.

Guimaras Gravediggers Handiest Tool

This is the entrance to the Guimaras Gardens Memorial Park. The grounds are nicely maintained and staffed with a very friendly group of workers. If you’ve got to go, this is not a bad place to end up.  I hope the crew remembers me if I wind up there since I asked them to bury me with a case of Red Horse Beer. They laughed and said they would. I’m counting on them to keep that promise.

Guimaras Gardens Memorial Park

But what about the mass? Father Losada showed up 35 minutes late with his assistant and a choir. More on that story coming up in the next post.