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
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.
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.