ANGELES CITY – “When I die, I don’t want to be buried in a place where no one wants to visit me because it’s dark and unpleasant.”
Thus said US-based businessman Dan Concepcion who lives in his house at the Holy Mary Memorial Park (HMMP) in Barangay Cutcut here when he is in the Philippines.
“This is not to show off but to make sure that I know where I will be once I join my Creator,” added Concepcion in explaining why he decided to build a house at HMMP cemetery in 2004.
“It’s nice to live here. It’s silent and peaceful. My dead neighbors do not harm me. Fear more the living ones,” said Concepcion in a jest.
Concepcion, a native of this city who spent some of his childhood days in nearby Mabalacat, said his three-storey house would also serve as the final resting place of his relatives.
Concepcion had transferred the remains of his parents from a nearby cemetery in a room at the ground floor of the house at HMMP. The same room has a tomb where he will be buried.
“I just covered the tomb with bed sheets to make the visitors, especially the children, feel at home,” said Concepcion, a devout Catholic and a good friend of Sec. Edgardo “Ed” Pamintuan.
Concepcion sleeps in a room on the second floor where he also has a billiard table and small office. The third floor is a viewing deck where he and his children celebrate holidays, including New Year’s Day.
At least three people, including a security guard, maintains the Concepcion house at the Nepomuceno-owned cemetery. They have their own quarters in the house where many lights are open even if Concepcion is not in the country.
Punto was not the first to interview Concepcion about living in a cemetery.
The president and CEO of the Alpha Cargo company based in San Francisco, USA was interviewed by print, radio and television firms not just from Metro Manila and Pampanga but others from foreign lands, including Japan, China and USA.
“So many people, including VIPs and prominent personalities, visit my place at Holy Mary during the day of our dearly departed on November 1,” said Concepcion. He added the local police deploy their personnel just as the sun rises on All Saints Day.
“I get so many donations like food, especially lechon (roasted pig), at the holiday dedicated for our beloved dead loved ones,” said Concepcion.
He disclosed that he had been visited by Tourism Regional Director Ronald Tiotuico several times “to bring foreign visitors wanting to see my house.”
“In my own humble way, I made the cemetery and even Angeles a landmark contributing to the tourism industry,” he said.