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Tombstone maker earns more in October

First Posted 09:33:00 10/23/2008

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October is a busy month for lapida maker, Edel Ocaba. It is the peak month for his trade as people start to beautify graves of dead relatives leading to All Soul's Day celebration on Nov. 2.

His small space outside the Catholic cemetery in barangay Carreta, Cebu City displays different lapidas or tombstones.

His tombstones are priced from the cheapest at P600 to the highest price at P4000.

Ocaba, who has been a lapida maker for 18 years, said he earns at least P2,000 to P2,500 on lean months.

This October however he expects to earn more as he gets more orders for new lapidas. He said he and the other lapida makers in the Carreta cemetery usually raise their prices this month so that they could buy materials for the lapidas or tombstones.

Sa Oktubre man mahuna-hunaan kay sa laing adlaw, sa laing bulan, daghan pa man na sila?g huna hunan, ilang mga trabaho, ug pamilya,? Ocaba said.

Ocaba, who grew up in barangay Carreta, learned lapida making from old lapida makers in the cemetery 18 years ago. He liked the trade enough to stop being a construction worker and go full time on lapida making.

He said the typical ?lapida? or slate is made of marble, where the name is engraved.

This kind is sold from P600 to P800. The price also depends on the season and the number of letters to be engraved in the slate.

?Naa may isa ka lapida nga pila ka buok ang namatay (There is a tombstone or marble slate which share a number of names of the dead),? said Ocaba.

Slates come in different materials. Apart from marble, there?s granite, glass, and acrylic (color). Granite slates are the most expensive to make. They cost from P2200 to P4000.

The designs for the slates were either provided by the customer, or chosen from a selection of pre-made slates Ocaba lined Ocaba said:

?Ischedule pud na?g pila ka adlaw i-kulit2x. (The clients' should schedule it a few days because it would take a few days to chip and carve.), he said. ?A job would be finished in three days ? a week during peak season, since the orders would be many. ?

?First come first served gud among polisiya, pero ug kinahanglan dalion, nay dugang na bayad ana (Our policy is first come first served. But if they really needed it the soonest then there's additional pay for that),? he said.

For the rest of the year, however, business can be very unpredictable.

He said there are months that there are no orders and there are months that he could sell at least two tombstones.

On those months, he takes other orders like signages, desk name plates or any job that has to do with letters and engraving.

He cited the stiff competition among lapida makers, which has increased in number, as a factor of lower sales too.

This problem however was addressed by their organization the Carreta Lapida Makers Association Inc. (Clamai) to stop more lapida makers to set up stalls by the cemetery.

Ocaba said lapida making has helped him raise his four children.

He said he would not have raised them without her wife's selling fish and viands. But lapida making helped a lot he said.

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