The cost of dying in the Philippines: Can you afford it?

MANILA, Philippines – Living is expensive. Departing is pricey, too. 

While death absolves one of debt and all other financial obligations, loved ones carry the burden of the cost of burial and other services on top of grief.

While the thought of preparing for death may sound morbid to some, saving up for the inevitable is practical and responsible.

Moreover, financial advisors found that funeral services and other associated expenses have grown at around 3% to 5% yearly.

Rappler asked various life plan companies and cemeteries about the prices of their services. Here's what we found.

Coffin. Depending on materials used, coffins cost around P5,000 to P110,000. The cheapest wood coffin with little to no design can be bought in cheap funeral parlors. 

St Peter’s metal caskets cost from around P37,000 to as much as P105,000.

Cremation. If the family opts to cremate their loved one, prices start at around P70,000 to almost P100,000.

St Peter’s package already includes a full cremation service, an urn, and a 3-day viewing service in their mortuary chapels.

Should families opt to leave the remains in a columbarium, prices range from around P30,000 to almost P180,000.

Columbary prices in Heritage Park Fort Bonifacio start at P157,000 and can go as high as P240,000.

Meanwhile, prices in Loyola Memorial Park's columbarium average P46,000.

Memorial services. For convenience, families can opt to get burial packages.

Arlington Memorial’s burial packages start at around P240,000, which already includes a steel casket and a full memorial package for 3 to 5 days.

The most expensive package is worth almost P2.4 million, which includes a 48-ounce brushed bronze casket with gold plated hardware. 

Lot. The final resting place of the departed could be the most burdensome of all the expenses and can cost even more than a typical condominium unit.

Companies like Golden Haven offer garden plots that start at P360,000, while a garden plaza can cost as high as P1.4 million.

The cheapest in Heritage Memorial Park is a lawn lot worth P224,000. Garden lots there cost from P2.2 million to P2.8 million.

For the affluent, estate lots that measure about 40 square meters would cost a whopping P20.1 million.

Meanwhile, affordable cemetery lots cost P35,000 on average.

For the poorest families, Caritas Manila offers free coffins and burial services for the deceased.

Apart from documentary requirements, other expenses include flowers, food, clothing of the dead. These expenses depend on how simple or grand a family wants the memorial services to be.

While the dead cannot bring their wealth to the afterlife, the divide between the rich and the poor is still evident in how they are sent off. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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