The Cost of Burial and Funeral Beliefs in the Philippines


Burial in the Philippines.

Let me share with you my first ever experience of having a family that passed away. Just recently, he died due to hypertension and blood blockage in his brain. He fell under Comatose, and the doctor said it is impossible to recover the patient as the blood clot was formed on his brain, preventing the blood from circulating all over the body. The doctor added that there is no guarantee that after an operation, his brain will still recover and will work and return to normal. The part of the vein with a blood clot is in the lower part of the head, which makes it more difficult to undergo the operation and that many veins might affects during the procedure. The families decided to bring the patient home and after one day, he passed away.

My family is mourning but continues to be brave despite the loss of our loved one. We are grieving and mourning but at the same time prepared the funeral right away. My family contacted the funeral service, and after a necessary period, they pick up the body in preparation for the burial. The funeral service offered two choices of casket packages. First is the Php 70,000.00 package, this consists of banner, picture, flowers, chairs, tent, coffin, and water dispenser. The second package is Php 90,000.00 with inclusions of a band that will play the marching music during the funeral, funeral bus, karaoke, tarpaulin, flowers, chairs, tent, coffin, and water dispenser. My family decided to choose the first package, which is the Php 70,000. My sister is a teacher so she requested the school band from their school to play music on the burial procession and ceremony.

The wake happened in our second house so family and friends can come and could say a final goodbye. We schedule the mass at our nearest catholic church and look for available space at the cemetery where the body will be laid after the burial. The gravestone that will be installed for the name and date of death in the graveyard has cost Php 2000. The lunch meal that was offered right after the funeral and final goodbye cost Php 12000. The Snacks that was given to all the visitors who came by to see the wake was from the donation of concerned friends and visitors. The funeral service that we hired is from our province so the rate may be less compared to the city. Our family who died left an SSS death claim of Php 22,314.38 that helps a lot in our burial expenses. The range of SSS Burial claims may vary on the payer rate. Now I realized that one should continue paying the SSS to avail of the benefits. Avail Burial plans and or life insurance in the Philippines is a great help too if you can.

SSS check, Philippines.
The burial check we got from Social Security System.

During the nights of mourning, there is a group of band who visited and played songs for our family. As time passed by, I find it hard to stay awake as there is nothing to do in the wake. There is a Video TV box or video-oke if one wants to sing or eat to fight the sleepiness. The wake lasted for five days and we manage to end it even with a lack of sleep. I hope the burial process in the Philippines will change soon or will have more options like cremation. Or even lessen the days of the wake to reduce the hardships undergoing by the family. Previously, the Filipino way of mourning allows visitors to play the cards as many believe that it brings good fortune to some visitors. Now playing cards is not approved anymore as it serve as a bad influence to young people as a form of gambling.

Old Tales/ Beliefs in Mourning

These are some of the beliefs that I learned during the wake of my beloved family member;

Many Old Filipino Folks believe that preparing things in the wake should not be done by the family of the dead. The person that is not connected to the immediate family is advised to prepare everything in the wake. Cleaning in the wake is not allowed until the dead body is still inside the house. If you plan to attend the burial procession or ceremony make sure to come on time. If you think you will get late just go directly to the church or to the cemetery. The goal is to make sure that you will come first in the venue. Do not race with the dead; it implies terrible omen. failure to follow any of these believes that someone from the family will be the next one to die. After the burial ceremony, the rest of my immediate families including me were locked in one room, while the rest of the rooms are open. We are given one tray loaded of foods and instructed to eat all the food sharing with each other. This is to make sure that after the passing of our beloved family we are still in a good relationship with each other and the one died will not worry anymore. Actually, I don’t know all the meanings of the traditional beliefs, I myself don’t believe it either but there’s nothing wrong with following those beliefs. I just followed them as I’m afraid of the idea that someone will die again.