Cost of dying still high

By: Aileen Garcia-Yap - Cebu Daily News | November 01,2013 - 07:19 AM

Even in death, Filipinos want to give the best for their loved ones.

In Cebu, well-to-do families and those who can afford to spend more for a comfortable vigil wake often go to two of the biggest funeral homes — the Cebu Rolling Hills Memorial Chapels and the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes.

Cebu Rolling Hills Memorial Chapel was built in 1994 in Mandaue City as an expansion of the Rolling Hills Memorial Park built in 1981 in Bacolod City.

To date, the facility has 17 chapels.

Ruel Tarungao of the marketing department said the lowest package of P28,000 includes a casket, embalming, lights and candles and venue for the vigil wake for five days.

Flowers cost extra, from P300 to P15,000.

“It really depends on the kind of flowers and the setup. The most expensive that our suppliers here offer is about P15,000.” he said.

Cremation at P30,000, which includes the cost of the urn, is getting more popular in Cebu.

Families who take this option usually ask for a three-day viewing period to allow mourners to say goodbye.

“We have urns at P2,500 made of marble and P20,000 made of porcelain,” Tarungao said.

Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes, on the other hand, was founded in 1951 by Renato Dychangco, Sr. back in the days when caskets were carried by kalesas to the cemetery for burial.

From one chapel in Cebu, they have grown to over 20 branches.

The most luxurious choice is the Crystal Palace, which can accommodate 450 people and is the biggest facility in Cebu.

Opened in February 2010, the modern facility includes a well-appointed suite for family members who stay overnight for the wake.

“For those who avail of our imported caskets like the gold plated Promethean casket manufactured by Batesville Casket Co. in the United States, we offer the use of the Crystal Palace for free,” said Mayven C. Barrameda, Cosmopolitan Metro Cebu cluster head.

She said half of their clients today opt for cremation which indicates that Cebuanos have already accepted this practice.

Cremation is offered at P25,000 to P30,000. The urn is a separate cost.

They have urns from China, Mexico and the United States of America which cost P25,000 to a P45,000 solid brass urn from the US.

“We also have a set of urns for families who want to each take part of the cremains. There’s a bigger urn for the mother and little urns for the children.”

Cosmopolitan branches in Nivel Hills in Lahug and Junquera in Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City are among the 22 branches in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Funeral packages cost P8,000 to as much as P5 million.

(The P8,000 package is a special rate for clients referred by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.)

Packages include the casket, embalming, use of chapel, lights and candles setups and flowers.

Some clients want personalized flower arrangements. A set can cost around P60,000 depending on the kind of flowers used.

“Some packages reach millions, especially when the families would specify themes like having the stage set up like a golf course because the deceased loved golf. Families have different ways of honoring their loved ones,” said Barrameda.

“It could be because we Filipinos still really want to say our final goodbyes and it’s important that we see them first before they are cremated,” said Barrameda.

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TAGS: All saints day, All souls day, cost, death

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