If you are asked to plan a funeral for someone in the United States that is from the Philippines, you may find that they have different traditions than what you are used to. Below is information about these traditions so you can be prepared, and plan the funeral in the right way.
Make sure you have a good florist on hand. Flowers are seen at almost any funeral, but the people from the Philippines use flowers to not only decorate the home or funeral home, but they give flowers to the family members as an expression of their respect and love for the deceased. You will be asked to place flowers all over the room the deceased is placed in. Some common flowers you may need to purchase are lilies, orchids, and mums. Roses may also be used. Because the wake lasts for a few days, the flowers are also used to mask the scent of the deceased.
If the deceased person is from Manila, one of their traditions is hollowing out a tree trunk to bury the dead in. In some cases, the person that is ill selects the tree themselves. If the family wants to do this, help them find a tree that they can cut down either in their yard or in an area where you are allowed to do this. Provide them with the tools they need to hollow out the tree or hire someone to do it for them.
Some Philippines today take time to honor the dead. In many cases, they hold a wake that lasts for a few days. In some area, the wake is held in a family member's home, or the home of the deceased. In other areas, the wake is held in a funeral home. Contact a local funeral home, such as Sosebee Funeral Home, for further assistance.
You may be asked to place festive funeral lights draped around the casket, along with some flowers, a box for people to pay a contribution, and a nice registry book with a pen near the casket.
In most cases, warm drinks and food are served by the family of the deceased throughout the wake. There may also be activities outside the home or funeral home, such as playing musical instruments, such as a guitar, singing, or people conversing with each other.
Talk with your family members that live in the Philippines about the traditions they follow so you can make sure you do everything in the right way.