By Kate Louise Javier
“Mas buhay ako tuwing Araw ng mga Patay.” (“I am more alive during All Saints’ Day.”)
This was how 72-year-old vendor described her way of living for almost 43 years of selling candles.
Despite a downpour, Patricia Saes, 72, of Barangay Tugatog, Malabon City, who is fondly called “Lola Pat,” woke up as early as 4 a.m. yesterday to prepare for the start of her candles’ “big day” – a day before the All Saints’ Day.
“I am excited every ‘Undas’ because it’s the time of the year when my daily income would double or if lucky, triple,” Lola Pat told the Manila Bulletin.
Lola Pat, who has lost her husband and four children, said that despite her age, she wants to help her four other children and seven grandchildren.
“I do not want to be a burden to my family. I will work hard until the day I die,” she emphasized.
According to her, some cemetery-goers in Sangandaan Cemetery in Caloocan City, where she sells her candles, already have become her regular customers every Undas.
One of them was the 46-year old Ana Cruz, who visits her departed relatives every October 31.
“I remember that last year, I also bought three big colorful candles from Lola Pat. She grabbed my attention because of her positivity. She smiles a lot and greets everyone passing by,” Cruz said.
Nineteen-year-old Rona Caransa, a fellow vendor, said she admires Lola Pat’s way of encouraging customers to buy her candles.
“She’s really a people person. Very talkative but in a good way that you will end up buying her candles,” Caransa said.
Meanwhile, Lola Pat reminded her customers to pray for their departed loved ones.
“Lighting a candle is nothing without offering a prayer for the souls of the dead. Let’s remember that ‘Undas’ is about honoring and giving respect to departed relatives and friends,” she explained.
Asked when she will visit the tombs of her husband and children, Lola Pat believes that they will wait for the time that she has finished selling her goods.
“I hope my candles would be sold soon so I can also light candles and offer prayers for them,” Lola Pat said.
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