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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesMonday, November 4, 2013
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All Saints, Souls days
observance peaceful

The celebrations of All Saints’ and All Souls’ days in Central Visayas were generally peaceful, Chief Supt. Danilo Constantino, director of the Police Regional Office 7 based in Camp Sergio Osmeña in Cebu City, said yesterday.

Constantino said he visited cemeteries to ensure that the security plan of PRO-7 was in place.

Millions across the Catholic Philippines trooped to cemeteries to honor their dead in typically festive fashion on All Saints' Day, ignoring appeals from the Church to keep the day solemn.

Police were on full alert, as their warnings for the public not to bring alcoholic beverages, loud portable stereos, knives and other deadly weapons to gravesites were largely ignored.

There was heavy security in sea-and-airports as well as bus terminals, with many residents of major cities rushing to return home to their towns and provinces for "day of the dead" commemorations.

The Christian tradition dates back to the ancient practice in Rome, which honours all saints and martyrs who died for the faith. All Souls' Day, the day after, is often when those wanting to avoid the crowds of All Saints' Day visit the cemeteries to pay their respects.

While the day of the dead is supposed to be solemn, Filipinos use it to plan family gatherings at the tombs, where drinking and even open-air karaoke singing sessions are held.

The Catholic Church, meanwhile, put up a special website for the millions of Filipino workers abroad who could not come home to visit the graves of their dead.

Found at www.undasonline.com, the site is operated by the country's bishops and allows those unable to make it home to offer special prayers for their deceased.

Visitors to the site simply have to list the names of their loved ones, and click a "prayer request" button.

Priests in Manila can then say a prayer on their behalf free of charge.*PNA/AFP

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