I don’t know this girl. I haven’t even seen her face.
I had no idea she was even at the Catholic cemetery at Igbaras, Iloilo, Central Philippines during the All Saints’ Day, November 1, 2010.
She is not a ghost but her image haunts me; and am not alone in that. Others who were tagged in the photo at Facebook by amateur photographer Sioc Melliza and viewed the photo got stunned by the combined sadness and serenity it evoked.
The image is more poignant and mysterious than Mona Lisa. Here is a complete stranger, a child with her back to the camera serenely sitting by a grave, her family too poor to erect a concrete tomb for its beloved departed who neither the photographer nor this writer knows.
Five years from the new, the lease for the dugout expires, the remains are to be excavated and disposed of, and another body will take over.