- Death is hard, but funeral planning is an essential part of life.
- Start saving money for expenses as early as possible.
- As a last resort, you can rely on relatives, government benefits, or credit institutions.
The Cost of Funerals in the Philippines
Death is such a taboo topic in the Philippines that it makes people uncomfortable to even think about it. Nobody likes to think that their lives are going to end at some point, no matter how absolutely certain it is. Another major factor influencing this kind of thinking is the cost of death in this country.
Death is also expensive in the Philippines no matter the cause. Coupled by a lack of savings or funeral plan, loved ones usually resort to loans just to cover the casket, funeral, burial plot, cremation and other expenses like flower arrangements, refreshments and prayer services.
On the other hand, those who have more money to spare can offset the costs by purchasing memorial plans. Popular memorial plan providers include St. Peter, PhilPlans, Loyola Plan, NewLife Memorial and Sanctuarium.
In this blog post, we will give you an idea of how much funeral costs are in the Philippines so that you and your loved ones can prepare when the event comes. Take note that these are just estimates, so it is still better to talk to funeral homes, cemeteries and crematories for the actual costs.
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Main funeral expenses
Here are the most common features of a funeral service in the Philippines, and estimates on how much each feature will cost you.
Casket or coffin
A casket or coffin will serve as a container for the deceased, so it’s appropriate that you choose the best for your money.
First of all, let’s differentiate a casket from a coffin. A casket is the most available funeral option in the Philippines. It is a four-sided, rectangular-shaped box with a domed lid and a glass protector. They can be made from wood, metal or even solid copper and can be lined inside with cloth.
On the other hand, a coffin has six to eight sides and is more tapered to follow the shape of the human body. Coffins tend to be simpler in design; hence, coffin prices are usually cheaper.
In this case, we will go with caskets as they are the most commonly used in the country. Casket costs will depend on the material and additional items like decorations. Prices range from as low as Php 3,000 for wood caskets to Php 100,000 for higher-end ones.
Wake and funeral ceremony
You can choose to hold a wake in your own home, in a funeral home or in a memorial chapel. Most Filipinos would opt to hold the wake at home since it is much cheaper and convenient, while some prefer the solemnity and size of a funeral home or memorial chapel.
The cost of holding a wake in a funeral home or memorial chapel will depend on the plan and the size of the venue, as well as the number of nights. Prices may start at Php 1,000 for budget funeral homes, while costlier options may range from Php 5,000 to Php 10,000.
If you want to hold it in a memorial chapel, your options can range from as low as Php 10,000 to half a million pesos. Budget memorial chapels range from Php 8,000 to Php 10,000, mid-range chapels cost Php 15,000 to Php 250,000, while high-end chapels cost Php 300,000 to Php 500,000.
For funeral ceremonies, most mortuaries and funeral homes offer packages ranging from Php 8,000 for services which include embalming, flowers, lamps, viewing set-up, transporting of the casket from the funeral home to the cemetery and others. You can avail of this package at your own home or at the funeral home’s own venue.
Food and drinks
Family members, friends and other loved ones will surely come to a wake so you have to prepare enough food and refreshments for everyone. Your budget for this can range from Php 5,000 to Php 25,000 depending on how many people will come and how long the wake will last.
In a wake, you can serve full-meals like rice, pancit or pasta and snacks such as biscuits, candies and bread. Drinks can be water, coffee, tea and juice.
You can save money for your deceased loved one’s funeral clothes if they already have appropriate clothing. Otherwise, you can find formal clothing for as low as Php 500 depending on the size, style and material.
Some people would like to avail of prayer services for their deceased loved one’s wake. A requiem mass can be held at home, at a funeral parlor, at a memorial chapel, or your local church. Costs will vary depending on the church and the venue.
You will have to register the death of your loved one with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). A death certificate is a document that shows the particulars of a person’s death, including the name, date of death and place of death. A death certificate can cost you Php 150 to Php 500.
Burial price in the Philippines
Burials are the preferred way of putting a dead loved one to rest here in the Philippines. If you’re interested in a burial service, you can choose between an apartment tomb or burial lot in cemeteries, or your own space in a family mausoleum.
Apartment burial tomb
This is the cheapest burial option here in the Philippines. You can see apartment burial tombs in every public cemetery in the country. Tombs usually start at Php 1,000.
This is the next most common option and can be availed from public and private cemeteries. Burial lots can cost from Php 1,000 in public cemeteries (you can even lease one!) to upwards of Php 10 million for estate lots in high-end private cemeteries.
If you and your family have your own mausoleum in a public or private cemetery, burials can cost Php 1 million at least.
Additional services that you can avail with your burial package, such as flowers, transportation, security, prayer service and live service, may cost you at least Php 5,000 to Php 50,000.
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Cremation costs in the Philippines
Cremation is increasingly becoming popular in the Philippines. Unlike burials, you get a chance to be close to your loved one even in death as you can take their urn with you back home. You can also opt to place their urn in a columbarium.
How much is the cheapest cremation option in the Philippines? This will depend on the columbarium of your choice. While in some cases cremation can be cheaper than burials, it will still cost you a large sum of money. Costs can range from Php 20,000 to Php 25,000 while columbariums are available from Php 20,000 to Php 150,000.
In addition, you can avail of cremation packages that include services such as full-body cremation and internment. Costs will vary depending on the crematorium.
Take note that aside from the death certificate, you have to obtain additional documents if you want to have a loved one cremated. These documents include transfer permit for the ashes, cremating permit, authority to cremate, and exhumation permit.
SSS Funeral Benefit
If you are a member of the SSS, you can avail of SSS funeral benefits.
This cash benefit ranging from Php 20,000 to Php 40,000 is granted to whoever paid for the funeral services of a deceased SSS member or pensioner. This will depend on the number of paid contributions and the average monthly salary credit.
These are the following qualifications for SSS funeral benefit:
- Employee-member: must have been reported as dead by the employer
- Self-employed/OFW/non-working spouse: at least 1 contribution payment
- A voluntary member who was previously covered either as an employed/self-employed/OFW and had at least 1 contribution payment
- The employee-member was subject to compulsory coverage but was not reported for coverage by his/her employer.
Funeral planning tips
The whole funeral planning process may be costly, but it doesn’t have to be more difficult than it already is. Here are some tips for a smooth funeral:
1. As early as possible, plan your funeral. Yes, it is taboo and discomforting, but it helps to lessen the pain if you can plan what will happen afterwards in the event of your death. Save money, purchase a memorial plan or draft your will.
2. If you can’t afford a memorial plan, tell your loved ones about your funeral plans. This will give them some peace of mind at the very least. Choose who will handle the wake, the burial, death certificate and other services.
3. Set the budget and length of the wake that you and your loved ones are comfortable with.
4. Make the most out of everything while you are still alive. Don’t wait until the last minute; make lasting memories with your loved ones.
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Death is hard, but planning a funeral does not have to be more uncomfortable than it already is. Plan what happens after your death as early as possible. You can now plan your funeral nowadays by saving up for the costs or buying a memorial plan.