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[Fin Talk] Planning for the Final Send Off

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

By Arlyn Tan


For Filipinos, November 1 is the day for all to remember the family members and friends who have passed away. For two years now, the traditional visits to the cemetery were cancelled due to mobility restrictions brought about by Covid. Despite of physical absence in the cemetery on Nov 1, Filipinos

had found ways in honoring their loved ones through online community prayer meetings or occasional visits to the final resting places on weekdays. The pandemic had opened my eyes to how people honored their loved ones before their final send-off and the new preferences in burial sites.

Financial planning often focuses on life transitions and fails to include the end-of-life planning. It is possible to honor your loved one without financial anxiety, as long as one is prepared for it. Here are the three major costs which require quick family decisions.

1. Funeral Services

The funerals are venues where people wanted to say goodbye and look at the new meaning of death. Pre-pandemic, the default is to have a wake where people can visit the family in the funeral homes. However, the pandemic had shortened and simplified the process since the government required all who died secondary to COVID to be cremated immediately. No wake was allowed too.

Apart from the funeral services, the service provider can assist in processing the death certificate and transfer permits, cremation permit, fully accomplished authority to cremate, and exhumation permits.. The mortuary services are inclusive of viewing set-up at the funeral parlor and church. The full service also includes the transportation of remains, use of hearse and casket and memorial service. According to, the funeral parlor costs range from 8K to 500K. The wide range reflects the variety of services designed to accommodate the preferences and needs of the family.

Those who wish to have something more cost-effective can consider cremation. Cremation typically ranges from 20-25K.

Families can opt to prepare ahead of time by purchasing memorial plans. It enables the plan holder to pay for future needs with lower costs. Service providers like St Peter Life Plans and Chapels have traditional and cremation pre-paid plans where the individual pays monthly or lump sum.

2. Memorial Services and Celebration of Life

The elements of a funeral include the visitation, music , readings, eulogy, symbols and memories. The transition to online platforms changed the methods of preparation. The zoom platform has enabled family members from all over the world to be in one room. Thus, having a support person ready to help in zoom access is vital to the digitally challenged population.

The preparation for the online services requires coordination among families, priests or pastors, and attendees. Since the memorial service is very personalized, the families who have a mix of talents and high level of relationships come up with creative programs & tributes easier than the others.

Honoring the deceased through eulogies can evoke memories and offer comfort to everyone. The most memorable eulogies include highlight, attributes and the special moments that give insights on the well lived life of the deceased

I had my share of experience of losing an aunt who succumbed to lung cancer after bravely fighting it for a year. The wake was substituted with online novena and masses. For friends to pay their last respects, online masses were streamed via zoom and a Facebook page was created. The usual reunions of families plus the beautiful videos were elements of the tribute. The Facebook Platform, Zoom, Canva and Google Collaboration tools enabled us to craft special experiences for the family and friends as we celebrate the life of my aunt.


3.Burial Cost.

Most families have prepared for the final resting place since the memorial lots and crypts are sometimes viewed as wise investments. The selection process takes time, so people recognize that making a choice way ahead is a practical move.

Based on The Real Cost Of Dying, the memorial lots range from 1,000 ( apartment tomb) to 18,000,000 ( estate lots). Private lots range from 65-100K, while mausoleum would have minimum costs of 1M and garden lots, 2M.

It is still common for families to prefer above ground entombment with crypts, burial niches for whole body burial and cremated ashes. Mausoleums can be private, indoor communities, or outdoor communities which offer gardens and spaces for prayers & meditation.

The new preference in Manila is the columbaries where niches are housed and placed in the walls. This is because the burial plots in private cemeteries are too pricey and are located outside the metropolis. The price range is from 20K to 190K for one niche.

According to Ernest Hemingway, every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another. Instead of being stressed on the finances, concentrating on celebrating the life of the deceased before laying him to the final resting place is the best way to make his legacy stay in the hearts of families and friends.

Arlyn Tan is a Strategic Wealth Consultant. She helps individuals and organizations on how to maximize the value of their money through risk, health & wealth management. Her mission lies in making sure that clients achieve 3 things. First, they reach their milestones on time with sufficient resources. Second, they protect them from the impact of economic losses secondary to unexpected events. The third and most important is that they enjoy meaningful and balanced lives.

LinkedIn/Twitter: Arlyn Tan

FB/IG: @pinnaclefinlitcoachph

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