Unpaid Grave Caretaker: Help!

The man behind ol' Nick's spotless white cross and well tended lawn...

Last October when I visited the tomb of Nicomedes “Nick” Joaquin, I met an old man who was cleaning Nick’ space, trimming the grass, making sure it’s ready for Undas. I found out that he was a contractor, a poor one – contracted to maintain some of the graves near that area. I thought that the National artist and scientist, together with all the graves in “Libingan ng mg Bayani” are maintained by the government. After all, we owe these Filipinos a great deal but no, they had to, their families I mean, get someone to do it. This old man told me that was the case ever since he landed in these silent forested park dedicated to our dead heroes, families of all who are buried in the Libingan hire men like him to take care of the graves year round. His problem is simple; no one from the Joaquin family has ever paid him ever since someone from the great writer’s family asked him to look after his tombstone. The Joaquins must’ve forgot about him. ‘ve already approached Joaquin’s close friend, Sr. Gomez but it looks like he wasn’t able to get in touch with the Joaquin’s relative who can take care of this. It’s not really a big amount, his monthly services cost 100, he claims to have not been paid for two years since the last time he spoke with that lady who he believe was a relative of Joaquin.

Someone, I hope someone with a good heart, a relative or a friend, who would be visiting the place soon, can pay this old man. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to shoulder the bill, I was unemployed that month, I gave him pang-merienda, which is all that I could afford to give. He doesn’t have a number, so this is the problem. The lady who contracted him should call the Libingan’s office. I’m sure Sr. Nick wanted this man compensated for all his hard work. The other big problem is that I forgot his name! Anyway, this good old man is suffering from some kind of a disease, his hand and feet are swelling pretty badly – someone related to Nick must do something. He said that he can be visited at the Libingan’s office, people there know him. He takes care of several other graves in the National Artist section.

By the way, just bought Nick’s “Reportage on Crime” and “Reportage on Lovers”, couldn’t be more happier. Thank heaven’s they’re publishing old Quijano de Manila back. His works, most already out of print, can still be found in the National Library. Including his masterpiece on Gng. Arroyo’s life, even a lifeless story was made interesting by his genius, there’s nothing he can’t do with his pen. I photocopied and borrowed some of his books, some from friends,  but nothing beats having a spanking new copy of course. Amoy bagong imprenta. Plus ultra!


6 responses to “Unpaid Grave Caretaker: Help!

  • Reggae

    I don�t normally post to blogs but I enjoyed this post so keep up the good work. -cheers-

  • De AnDA

    @Mr. Showroom Manager – Let’s grab what we can, and let’s grab it now before we’re all forced to read Joaquin on the internet LOL

    @Pepe – Please contact Tony. I know you guys regularly exchange messages. Thanks.

  • Pepe

    @The Showroom Manager & De anDa — I think after being cremated, the ashes were then buried. Just a hunch.

    I have Tony’s email. I’ll tell him all about this.

    This caretaker’s plight is so pitiful. I suddenly remembered what Gerry Alberto (Rizal’s distant relative) remarked when we visited his house in Biñán:

    “Waláng pera ang gobierno.”

    • the showroom manager

      @Arnaldo- P50? Wow! Makahanap nga. Sana nga marami pang i-republish at sana marami akong budget para may pambili 😀 Ako rin, gusto kong maibalik ang Spanish. Mas malawak ang pagpapalaganap ng mensahe ko tungkol sa Filipinas at talaga namang tunay na atin ‘to.

      @Pepe- Alam mo, isa sa mga pinagsisihan ko ang hindi ko pagbasa ng maaga ng mga gawa ni Nick Joaquin. Sana man lang nakainuman ko s’ya. Kahit sa kabilang table, sobrang masaya na ako 😛

  • De AnDA

    I got excited when I heard that there are plans to republish his works. The Spiritual Register was sold for 50 pesos last year but these new ones are a bit to pricey (–,) but its worth it.

    I did sent him a message, this Tony guy, weeks after this visit, I don’t know what happened. He’s in the US if I’m not mistaken. Anvil is doing the Lord’s work bringing these books back. My dream is to also make available to the public the literary pieces of our writers in Spanish but first we must bring Spanish back huh? (–,)

    Mabuhay ka Bryan!

  • the showroom manager

    NOLD! I just finished REPORTAGE ON LOVERS! I enjoyed reading it (pansin mo ang excitement ko!?). Sulit na sulit ‘yan, pre. Nobody does it better than Nick Joaquin!

    I’m getting REPORTAGE ON CRIME this weekend.

    Napakagaling ni Nick Joaquin. Isa s’yang tunay na idol! I’m also looking for his translation of TM Kalaw’s work, Spiritual Register. It’s also published by Anvil (God bless them!).

    About the grave caretaker: I thought Nick Joaquin’s remains were cremated? Mukhang hinde. Anyhoo, his nephew, Tony Joaquin is writing a biography about him. Maybe he should be told about this. I don’t know his email address though.

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