The Sudden Rise of Crematorium in the Philippines amidst the Pandemic
Death is an essential part of life. Despite modern society’s seemingly difficulty with addressing the issues of dying and passing away, practices of proper burial and funeral customs have long been ingrained in Philippine history. Tracing its roots back to the pre-colonial era, the early Filipinos believed in the significance of honoring the dead through prayers and burial rituals. Today, there is an array of methods to properly mourn and send off the dead; which include in-ground burials, above-ground burials in community mausoleums, and cremation.
What is Cremation and where it started?
Cremation is a process that reduces the body to its essential elements through the use of intense heat. It is an alternative burial method that dates back to 3000 B.C. While cremation is widely practiced today as a form of bodily disposal, it was considered taboo in the nineteenth century due to the formidable religious influences it holds. The Catholic Church and the Islamic faith equally discourage such practice, promoting the belief that an intact body is important to a physical resurrection.
However, at the height of the 1918 Flu Pandemic, the sheer number of dead infected bodies overwhelmed the capacity of embalmers, casket builders, and gravediggers. This paved the way for the rise of the cremation practice of burial, along with the myth that burning the corpse of infected individuals would prevent further transmission of the disease.
Today, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the crematorium industry arose yet again to cater to the number of deaths during the pandemic. First, as a way to prevent the transmissibility of the coronavirus disease as expeditious cremations were harnessed on confirmed or suspected COVID-19 victims within 12 hours postmortem; and second, as a more viable option due to the nationwide community lockdown restrictions on funeral gathering.
Traditional Burial vs. Cremation
This upward trend of cremation practice debunked the long misconception regarding the high cost of cremation services as an alternative to traditional burials. To paint a clearer picture: the average cost of a simple burial sums up to PHP 150,000.00. This includes all costs such as storage, rent of chapel, cemetery plot, transport, and actual burial services. Meanwhile, the average cost for basic cremation accounts for PHP 60,000.00, including the cost of the casket, the cremation process, and the urn.
How much does cremation costs?
The main question we have in mind is still, how much would cremation costs?
Here’s an estimated breakdown of the cost and the pricing of each in comparison:
First, the cost for funeral wakes and ceremonies range from PHP 10,000 up to PHP 320,000. In contrast, cremation costs round up to PHP 10,000 to PHP 20,000 for regular cremations and PHP 150,000 for powder-fine cremations. Coffins used in traditional burials are priced at PHP 3,000 as the cheapest wooden casket available and PHP 100,000 as the most expensive among regular bronze caskets; meanwhile, funeral urns are used in storing cremated ashes range from PHP 2,500 to PHP 80,000. Lastly, burial costs which include in-ground digging of graveyards range from PHP 1,000 to a minimum of PHP 18,000,000 if one is to be buried in estate lots; whereas, columbarium prices span from PHP 500 to PHP 5,000 per urn.
Crematorium in the Philippines
The rise of COVID-19 related deaths placed a significance on the industry of crematoriums as requests for cremations have doubled. Furthermore, because of the restrictions on social gatherings, many forego traditional burials and opt for cremation as a much cheaper alternative. In the Philippines, special packages and installment payment plans await those who would like to avail of cremation services. Below are some crematoriums and their respective pricing:
Cremation Services in Las Pinas City, Metro Manila
Golden Haven Memorial Park, in particular, is one of the largest and most beautiful chains of memorial parks in the Philippines with over 30 locations nationwide offering cremation services. In Las Pinas, Golden Haven offers a cremation package of PHP 65,000, inclusive of pick-up within a 25-kilometer radius from the Las Pinas Chapel and a free marble urn.
While death is absolute and inevitable, and every soul ought to have a taste of death, resisting and defying the end of life is truly an unfathomable force. The contemporary society seems to have an unending battle with the realities of it, as no one is ever ready to pass away and grieve for the loss of a beloved. Nevertheless, it is significant to confront death with an open and practical mindset. This will not only allow you to plan ahead of time and thus, make you feel a little comfortable with the idea of passing but the survivors you are to leave behind are also comforted with the idea that you lived your life fully in preparation for its conclusion.
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