Cemeteries are often depicted as peaceful and melancholic places filled with gravestones and tombs that typically come in either white, gray, or black colors. But in a certain cemetery in Albay province lies a tomb that might catch your eye for its unique appearance.
A family in the town of Oas has made it their tradition to honor their deceased patriarch through something they call "grave branding," wherein they hire an artist to draw and paint on their loved one's tomb with logos of his favorite food, clothes, liquor, and other famous brands.
This year, they decided to have his grave painted with the mascot of his favorite fast food restaurant.
Angelle Roa Relleve, one of his five children, made the rounds on social media when she shared some photos of their father's tomb on Facebook. According to Angelle, grave branding their father, Jose Reodique's place of rest has been a tradition of theirs for over 10 years now, having started in 2013.
When asked why they chose Jollibee as its design this time around, she recounted how her father would always cook her and her siblings some fried chicken for lunch every Sunday back when they were younger.
He fondly called the fried chicken "Jollibee," which Angelle thought was a bit strange since the fast food restaurant didn't have any branches in their province during the early 90s. Because of this, they all started referring to the dish as "Jollibee," too.
When a branch finally opened in their province, they were filled with elation.
"We were overjoyed as we experienced and tasted the Chickenjoy for the first time with the family. In mid-90's, Kuya and Ate were living and working in Manila. And when they got back home coming from the metro during their break from work, Papa asked them to treat us to Jollibee," Angelle shared.
"As a gift during All Souls' Day for our late head of the family, we painted the tomb with his favorite food chain brand of fried chicken, which is also his standard when it comes to this kind of dish," she added.
In a quick chat with PhilSTAR L!fe, Angelle shared that their father's tomb often catches the attention of visitors in the cemetery because of how it looks.
"Natutuwa at kinagigiliwan siya ng mga tao. Kasi para na din siyang naging attraction sa cemetery tuwing Undas. Hindi naman namin aakalain na magte-trending sya sa socmed," she said.
Before Jollibee, they previously painted Jose's grave with brands such as Adidas, Ferrari, Starbucks, Johnnie Walker Black Label, Bulgari, Lacoste, M&M's Chocolate, Doublemint, and Alpine.
She described her father, who died at the age of 70 from a heart attack, as a person who did not care much about traditional views.
"Ang father ko, hindi siya traditional na tao at hindi siya naniniwala sa mga kasabihan. Kaya kapag Undas, pinapa-paint namin 'yung tomb niya ng mga favorite niyang brand noong nabubuhay pa siya and at the same time, may mga story naman behind kung bakit 'yun ang brand na napili naming ipapinta," Angelle said.
"Masayahing tao ang father ko, at yung love niya sa'min ay walang katumbas kaya ganun na lang siya namin ma-miss," she added.