STO. TOMAS, Pampanga - This lahar-filled province has lots of festivals and celebrations certified and some patented to be a source for crowd jitters.
Over in this class B-farming village south of Pampanga, local executives and some businessmen are toying with an idea of holding another festival, first of its kind if ever, a "Kabaong", or "Ataol" [coffin] festival.
Noted for its coffin industry, Mayor Francis Naguit had signified interest about the idea and expressed his support to push through with the project.
Of course, the festival would be held during the celebration of All Souls' Day, suggested John Susi during an interview with Naguit via phone patch aired over GVam 792 khz.
The main highlight of the festival would be a long queue of the finest locally-made coffins, from simple to sophisticated ones.
"Surely this will attract tourists not only local but also foreign tourists." said Naguit.
No, the people in Pampanga are used to this kind of scenery especially in the villages of San Vicente and San Matias where coffin makers, from backyard to well-financed makers are located, Naguit pointed out.
He said coffins are lined-up along the streets in the villages as orders from other places are high.
Some makers would make fun with their products that they even temporarily use it as a resting place of their workers.
Coffins made in this town are mostly exported to other countries, said Naguit adding the coffin industry has made their town popular not only in Pampanga but also in other places.
"From ordinary to elegant to airconditioned we have it here, from wood to steel, name it we have it," Naguit said.
Those moneyed coffin makers also had their own funeral homes and even a shop for funeral cars, said Naguit.
"This is a kind of lucrative business that contributes a lot for the town hall coffers in terms of tax and revenues," the mayor said adding this kind of business have produced many successful professionals in our town.
Naguit said the core group are now on the planning stage for the holding of the festival.
And hopefully next year "we are going to invite everyone out there to witness the first-ever Kabaong Festival only in Pampanga,” said Naguit. - Jess Malabanan