Funerals In The Philippines

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We were out and about today at various locations when while waiting for someone we had pulled over and a small precession of around 10 people walked along the middle of the road. 2 people at the front of the precession carried a white box of less than 2ft in length on a bamboo stick with rope looped round the coffin. One person at the front and one at the back. What was strange was that as the precession carried along the road cars were slowing down and throwing money from them obviously to help the family with the costs of their loss.

This was the second funeral we seen today and I have probably seen more here in the last few years than I have seen anywhere else in my lifetime. A lot of the deaths I have heard of and from illnesses people have had prior to death its obvious many of the deaths could have been prevented. Some are things like a drip direct into the body for dehydration issues which led to death, others are the fact the people around them including parents and relatives are the cause of spreading the diseases by poor housekeeping and waste management of both human waste and garbage.

The odd thing I do find though in the funerals is the amount of money that goes into them and I know several expats that refuse to give anything for funeral costs as they want to help the living and can’t see the point of wasting money on the dead. To some point I agree as I can understand if they are supporting education of other members of family or something else why would they want to pay towards a funeral? At the same time its normally a much deeper reason such as Mike experienced when he was asked to pay an extra P10,000 for funeral costs at which point he went and asked the company dealing with the service what it was for and they said there was no bill as the funeral had already been covered by insurance. Not only had the family wanted to exploit the death for themselves they had already pocketed the money that Mike put up initially for the funeral as there was no costs whatsoever in the death as everything was insured. Second time he found out about relatives doing this last time it was medication they wanted P5,000 for which was also covered by insurance when he went to buy it.

An odd fact people may not know well I know most don’t, I used to make coffins and caskets as a carpenter before. Not for long as a better paying job came along but it was interesting to see and work on the inner workings of a factory that specialises in caskets. Also made me aware of how much of a scam the whole thing is with MDF bottoms and plastic handles was a complete farce most people don’t notice.

The funeral services in the Philippines is something I don’t dwell on much but something I do find interesting as a big funeral will wander down the middle of the road with a full trail of cars and motorcycles as well as people walking behind it creating chaos. Same as some of the wakes are setup on the main road if the house is too small to accommodate. This is often a canopy cover taking up a road lane without any warning its there and not for one day can be there for some time. This was an odd situation in Cebu city as they had closed the lane for a canopy on the left but the precession had caused congestion further down the road as there was now only one lane open which also prevented them getting up to the wake. At the same time some anti-arroyo protest was going on all in the same street, ended up stuck there for about 30 minutes in all the chaos.

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