As Filipinos realized the importance of land and how limited it is in the country, they started to adapt an old way of internment practiced by those who lived during the early Stone Age – cremation. Nowadays, cremation has become a trend that the younger generation prefer. It is argued to be economically efficient due to the lower maintenance it requires compared to traditional burials. Some believe that the process is cleaner than that of interment, where the buried body would be left to decompose while being eaten by microorganisms.
With the rise in the demand for cremation plus the evolutionary transition of our modern society, man has thought of new ways and means to transform traditional inurnment into a sleek and more sophisticated practice. Filipinos, have in fact learned to adapt the latest interpretation of columbariums – a room or building filled with niches where funeral urns are stored. In this article, the aforementioned will be referred to as modern columbariums.
There are quite a number of modern columbariums established in the metropolis. Although they still serve the same purpose as that of a traditional columbarium, a modern columbarium has added luxuries that may attract consumers.
- Clean lines and sleek outer structure – Traditional columbariums in Manila are usually located inside churches, temples or cemeteries. These structures, however accustomed we are to seeing them, may still give off an uninviting vibe. Even though the intricate and heavy designs that surround these places may seem mesmerizing to some, it can still possess an aura that is far from the mainstream interpretation of peace, which is light. Modern columbariums are designed to express this meaning of peace at the same time, blend with other contemporary buildings that are present in the city. Most of them have a simple exterior painted with earthy colors, surrounded by green grass, if not the city pavements. Some may even appear as one-story structures, while others go as high as hotel buildings. Without the signage that will label the structure as a columbarium, one may not be able to guess that the place actually houses urns of the dead based on its exterior.
- Bright interior – Compared to modern columbariums, traditional ones normally have dim lighting. They depend on natural light to illuminate the whole place and have standard lights (florescent or yellow light) to brighten up the place at night. With this, designers of modern columbariums included pin lights that are often used in the interior museums. Not only does this brighten the place, but it also gives a sense of ease to visitors who fear visiting tombs.
- Advance facilities – Modern columbariums offer more advance facilities compared to traditional columbariums. More often than not, these structures are fully air-conditioned. The centralized air-conditioning system adds to the comfort of visitors especially during hot summer days. Moreover, these establishments are equipped with elevators and escalators if ever they are more than one-story high. Modern columbariums also have state-of-the-art communal comfort rooms just as those in malls or hotels.
Some of the modern columbariums that can be found in the metropolis include:
Sanctuarium – Located at the corner of Araneta Avenue and Agno Extension, Barangay Tatalon, Quezon City, Sanctuarium possesses the façade of a 5-star hotel. This establishment is not just a columbarium, but offers other facilities and amenities such as funeral chapels, viewing rooms, multi-functional lobby, coffee shop, flower shop, convenience store and a crematorium as well.
Elysium Garden Columbariums – Located at E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon City, Elysium Gardens Columbariums is built with a modern classical structure that features indoor vaults/crypts that is illuminated through its glass walls. Elysium Garden Columbariums prides itself of using the best quality materials such as sandstone and Italian marbles for its wall vaults.
St. Therese’s Columbarium – Located at Newport City, Villamor, Pasay City, St. Therese’s Columbarum houses an estimate of 38,000 imported vaults in air-conditioned and alfresco areas. It also features amenties such as security access and basement parking. an Ecclesi- astical museum featuring a life-sized artwork on the life of St. Therese and a solemn Remembering chapel where masses are held in daily remembrance of the dead. Furthermore, unlike any other, St. Ther- ese’s houses a digital archive of the memories of the inurned persons for future viewing by the families and friends of the departed.
It is apparent that modernity has taken over the present and genera- tion and will most likely take over the generations to come. Though this may be the case, we can be certain that the past will keep influ- encing the present to create a better future.