Article Published by Karlo Magpayo
Philippine Star November 1 2018, page C2
There seems to be a rising popularity and interest on columbariums in the country (Philippines) especially in highly dense metropolitan areas. A columbary is similar to a mausoleum – a private or public structure with a key difference that a columbary vault as the name suggests, hold urns that contain cremains (cremated remains) in them. Roughly about 12 x 12 inches and deep it is made or built of stone, brick, granite, or marble.
Columbariums were first used by the Romans in 300 a.d. Where the ashes of loved ones were put in ornate urns and placed in sacred underground chambers, which were decorated with frescos and mosaics. The word columbarium is from the Latin term columba which means, “dwelling place of the dove.” A columba originally meant a sectional housing structure for doves and pigeons, what is now called a dovecote.
For hundreds of years, churches were the main places where columbariums were found. Many Catholic churches have columbariums located in them. The most favored locations for religious columbariums are within the church, or in church cemeteries such as that of Mother Teresa Columbary at La Loma Cemetery Compound in Caloocan. The massive structure was built several years ago with land belonging to the Archdiocese of Kalookan. This site has become a major landmark due to the historical significance of La Loma Cemetery and the modern take on addressing the needs of Filipinos of a dignified and cheaper alternative of burial lots which can be very expensive from both purchase and maintenance perspectives. This allows family members another to “move” a loved one with them, if the need arises, yet still provides a special place where family and friends can remember and memorialize their loved one.
Another peculiarity of Mother Teresa Columbary in La Loma, Caloocan is its decorated vaults covered in glass decorated with the deceased’s photo, or symbols of their life the demand of columbary vaults also translates to an increase in demand cremation service which is part and parcel of whole death care process ( a service that is also provide by Mother Teresa) . Statistically back in 2008, the use of cremation service in Metro Manila was only at 15% out of the total rendered services from Funeral Homes but in 2015 a study was conducted that cremation is at equal par with “burol” or wake services at 51% (49% being wake services). Cremation,
A columbarium does not require an in-earth burial, but instead, allows for the interment of a loved one in a structure, away from the elements. As our world becomes more populated, dense and the worsening traffic many Filipinos will notice the need for more columbariums eventually replacing in-ground cemeteries as the modernity, ease, beliefs and cost play an important role in the Filipino psyche.
Comparative Cost of Traditional Wake/Burol and Libing versus Cremation and Use of Columbary Vaults
|Burol with Libing||Cremation with Columbary Vault|
|Wake/ Burol Services: P65,000.00 (with casket)||Cremation Service: P16,000.00 (with Urn)|
|Memorial Lot: P100,000.00||Columbary Vault: P53,000.00|
|Total: P165,000.00||Total: P69,000.00|
|Other Issues: Casket Upgrading, Memorial lot maintenance, harmful to the environment due to use of wood for caskets, use of embalming fluid that seeps to the ground water.||Cheaper and more practical|