As locals make their way to different cemeteries to remember loved ones during All Souls’ Day, people who have spent years of their life behind bars have no choice but to recollect the memories of their relatives from afar.

For alias Mark, who is a person deprived of liberty (PDL) serving reclusion perpetua at the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF), remembering dead relatives he can’t visit means lighting candles inside the prison for them and for other inmates who have died.

He said that all of his dead family members are buried in Zambales, which is where he is from. The other PDLs also do the same tradition during Undas to honor the saints and remember the dead, just like he does.

“Nagtitirik na lang sa brigada, sa kubo-kubo. May mga pangalan, makapila-pila. Kinse anyos na ako rito sa Iwahig. Kahit noong nasa NBP, ganon na rin namin inaalala. Hindi pa rin naaalis ‘yong nakagawian natin bilang Kristyano,” he said.

“Marami akong tinitirikan tuwing Undas. Ang mga kapatid ko, mga magulang ko. Pinakamababa ay 12 na kandila na nandoon ang mga pangalan nila. Tulad namin na skeletal na may sari-sarili kaming kubo, doon kami nagtitirik. Parang kinakausap na rin namin ang mga kaluluwa, iyon na rin ang nakagisnan ko,” he added.

At 68, he is still looking forward to being released from prison and visiting the graves of his loved ones in the cemetery.

The management of the penal prison has encouraged PDLs to offer mass for their loved ones during Undas. Information officer CTO II Levi Evangelista said there is also a mass ceremony conducted at the cemetery inside the Iwahig central sub-colony, where some of the PDLs who were not claimed by their relatives were buried.