LITRATO: IMAGES FROM SUGARLANDIA

FROM SOFTDRINKS SALESMAN TO TOMBSTONE MAKER | LITRATO: IMAGES FROM SUGARLANDIA by Julius D. Mariveles

NOTHING FANCY FOR those who cannot afford the marble kind | A tombstone, like these finished ones, costs P500 | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

Gregorio Romatico used to be a softdrinks salesman.  “I also used to drive a truck, drive a jeep and did everything else in between,” he said.

But now that he is 54-years-old, “no one wants to make me work anymore.”

“There should be a law that even if you are old, like me, if you want to work, companies should accept you because if you are this old and you still want to work, that means you really want to work,” he said, his voice slightly rising.

He has been turned down several times when he applied for a job.  “People want someone younger.”

Why lapida? Did some searching and found this possible explanation about the origin of the word: A lapidarium, in Latin, is a place where stone monuments and fragments of archaeological  interest are exhibited – stone epigraphs, statues, architectural details like columns, cornices  and acroterions, as well as tombstones  and sarcophagi  [From http://dictionary.sensagent.com/lapidarium/en-en/%5D

FORMER SOFTDRINKS SALESMAN Gregorio Romatico is now a lapida maker | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

A father to seven children – most of whom already have families of their own – Gregorio took the job of making tombstones at the Burgos Public Cemetery in Bacolod City.

The cemetery is in the village of Villamonte where Gregorio lives.

“I simply observed how the others do it and I learned from them,” he said.

He is busy these days.  As people prepare to remember their dead, the orders keep pouring in.  He charges P500 for every piece of tombstone made.

GREGORIO ROMATICO: Lapida maker | Making a living among the dead | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

The tombstones are handmade.  From the forming of the cement slab to the putting of the plaster of Paris face on which the name of the dead and the epitaph will be inscribed – all these are done by Gregorio himself.

Architecture students are surprised by what we do, he said, because we do not draw any patterns.

A CUTTER AND NOTHING MORE | Gregorio Romatico puts the finishing touches on the tombstone that he designed | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

THE OTHER LAPIDA MAKER | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

A YOUNGER LAPIDA MAKER | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

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About Hannah|JuliusMariveles

English instructor and broadcast journalist

Discussion

4 thoughts on “FROM SOFTDRINKS SALESMAN TO TOMBSTONE MAKER | LITRATO: IMAGES FROM SUGARLANDIA by Julius D. Mariveles

  1. When you are old and you still want to work, that means you really want to work….. or you still NEED to work.

    Posted by meCOLEE | October 25, 2011, 12:13 pm
  2. Mang Gregorio is a real hero… he opts to work rathre than beg,,, he shuld be emulated… What an inspiring story..

    Posted by Dean Develin | October 28, 2011, 3:11 am

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