Technology became part of man’s way of life long before radio, television and even computers were invented. The technology that was discovered by man evolved from just two wooden sticks rubbed together to create a magnificent fire all the way to what we are now so accustomed to these days – cyberspace.
Cyberspace is not something that is tangible like objects present in the real world. As defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary, it is a notional environment where communication over computer networks occurs. Although the content that can be found in cyberspace branched out from ideas in the real world, the way it functions is different from that of the real world. It would be an overstatement to say that cyberspace has learned to defy time, but in truth, it has allowed man to use the time that is available to them more efficiently. What used to be just a thought or imagination become real with the presence of cyberspace. Now, people do everything online from interacting with one another regardless of the distance, shopping without having to go to the store, to something as extreme as E-Burol – a service which allows one to pay his respects to the departed without having to go to the funeral chapel.
E-Burol sprang from the innovative minds of the employees of St. Peter Life Plan, Inc., a Pre-paid DeathCare company located at Quezon Avenue Corner No. 2 West 4th Street, Quezon City. Mr. York Vitangcol, the President of the St. Peter Group of Companies, revealed during the 2009 JCI Entrepreneurs’ Summit that the idea came from the front desk employees who directly dealt with the customers of St. Peter’s. The name E-Burol is derived from two root words – E, which stands from electronic and Burol, a Filipino word that literally translates to the word ‘wake’.
The concept of E-Burol is similar to that of Philippine reality television shows such as Pinoy Big Brother, where Internet protocol cameras are installed in strategic areas in the funeral chapel. This service is available in all 40 chapels of St. Peter. It provides a 24/7 live streaming in real time. Clients are then given a password which they have to input onto the website in order to login and view the ongoing wake. Users may also chat with other relatives and visitors who are currently online while witnessing the wake. St. Peter has provided a 4-page guide, complete with photos in order help clients access E-Burol.
Another innovative idea that complemented E-Burol is E-Libing, a service that is similar to the previous except it covers the burial of the departed. The word Libing literally translates to ‘burial’. Unlike E-Burol, E-Libing is a video coverage of the funeral that can be uploaded online after the ceremonies have happened. It covers the last night of the wake all the way to the internment ceremony and the last rites of the departed. A similar way of accessing the coverage can be done like that of E-Burol. Clients simply need to get the password from the funeral director and login to the website to view the video.
Many who dislike going to wakes may wonder why St. Peter came up with such an idea of showcasing such a gloomy event for everyone to see. Skeptics may even come to a conclusion that those who avail of the service are probably aspiring artistas, hoping to be discovered as they grieve for the death of their beloved. However, this service does not wish to address such desires. Both these services aim to cater to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s).
Filipinos have always been known for their close family ties. Unfortunately, with the economy taking its toll on Filipino families, some members are forced to work overseas, away from their families. In the unlikely event that a loved one passes away, some OFWs are faced with tricky situations that hinder them from fly back home to pay their respects. Some may not have enough money to do so, or time constraints or health issues may play a role in obstructing one’s desire to be physically present in the wake. With this, E-Burol and E-Libing are options family members can take into consideration. Relatives and friends residing abroad who cannot personally attend the wake may now view their departed loved one online. Since only those who are knowledgeable of the username and password will be able to access the page thus, the online gathering will still allow intimacy among mourners.
St. Peter Life Plan, Inc. has definitely revolutionized the age of technology through this innovation. They have integrated a combination of both television and the Internet in their business and have come up with an unconventional system that is parallel to man’s way of life today. This contemporary system has helped families economically by instantly connecting them despite the distance. Although conformists may argue that this may not be the right or acceptable way to grieve or pay due respect to the departed, modern times require people to be more practical. In the end, it is best to utilize what is available in order keep up with our fast-paced world.