However, certain incidents before — and during — Undas can break the solemn atmosphere. Traffic, robberies and fires are just some of the things that can make Undas stressful. Although many of these incidents are beyond your control, there are ways to mitigate their negative effects on you.
Book Your Travel Ahead of Time
Over the weekend, people will flock to cemeteries all over the country. If you don't want to get caught up in the resulting traffic, it's best to finalize your travel plans ahead of time.
For example, some people use the "long weekend" (and there are plenty of those here in the Philippines) to take a break and visit places like Boracay. If you want to go there too, make sure you book your flight in advance. Otherwise, you'll find it difficult — if not impossible — to get a free seat when you try to buy a ticket at the last minute.
Check Weather Updates
We've mentioned before how typhoon-prone the Philippines is. (Luckily, as of this writing, PAG-ASA hasn't detected any major weather disturbances yet.) If you want your trip to be as smooth and safe as possible, tune in to PAG-ASA's official website or Twitter account. They should be posting updates on whether there's an upcoming storm, and when it'll possibly land in the country.
Even if PAG-ASA doesn't say anything, however, it's a good idea to prepare for sudden rains. Bring supplies like umbrellas, rain coats and rubber boots to the cemetery (if you're visiting one). You never know when a sudden drizzle will literally rain on your parade!
Also, if you're about to get on a flight, it's better to have extra supplies like clothes, food, etc. That way, in case you're "stranded" at the airport, you don't have to worry about hunger or feeling sticky in your clothes. Just take care not to go over the luggage limit with those supplies!
Know Alternative Road Routes
Sometimes, you can't help but go along with the traffic. And knowing the usual traffic situation here in Metro Manila (read: terrible), driving anywhere can be a frustrating experience.
So take a leaf out of a taxi driver's book. Open your Google Maps app, and see if there's a way to get to your destination other than the main roads (e.g. EDSA, C-5, any road that ends in "Highway," etc.) Ask a well-traveled friend/acquaintance if it's possible to drive through this-or-that road instead. Test drive through them beforehand, so you can check whether they're a viable alternative.
Stock Up on Candles
Once the "ber" months roll around, candle prices start going up. Since candles aren't perishable goods anyway, and you can use them for other events like power outages, isn't it a better idea to buy them when they not in demand?
You don't even have to buy a fancy candle (though your "dearly departed" may deserve better). An ordinary candle will do — as long as you put it in a container that'll keep the flame from going out too soon. Oh, and don't forget to be careful when lighting candles, because fire incidents tend to spike during Undas.
Know Where the Security and Medical Personnel Are
Every year, security tightens around Metro Manila's cemeteries. Also, medical personnel and firefighters are deployed in nearby areas. That's because untoward incidents increase during Undas — what with the crowds of people and all.
So even while paying respects to your dearly departed, be alert. Approach the aforementioned personnel, and ask them for their contact numbers. Keep your belongings close to you, and watch out for anyone who seems like they're up to no good. Give the authorities a heads up as soon as something happens, so the incidents can be addressed immediately.
Secure Your Home While You're Away
Unfortunately, cemeteries aren't the only ones targeted by the unscrupulous. Knowing that homeowners are away, some thieves will try to break into empty houses. It's a sad thing, but here in the Philippines, you should be prepared for anything.
Before you leave your condo/vacation rental/other place of residence, make sure all your doors are locked. Also, check your plumbing and electrical appliances, in case you'll need to have them repaired once you get back. Of course, don't forget to make sure you haven't left anything important behind.
Undas Doesn't Have to be Stressful
Just like any other Philippine holiday, Undas can be "eventful" — by which we mean anything can happen to people who don't know any better. That's why we have lists like the ones above: To help you know better, and to enjoy Undas for the solemn occasion that it is.