What's in a Funeral?

Tinguian Village, Philippines

There are many many different funeral traditions for Filipino people. This Filipino tradition grabbed my attention as being much different than anything I could have imagined. The Tinguian village people take funerals very serious. After someone dies their body is “bathed so that the soul may be clean” (Cole, Gutenberg p. 282).

After they have bathed the deceased they dress them in their best clothes and jewellery and then prop them up in an elaborate bamboo seat called the ‘sangádel’. A pig’s innards are hung up outside of the house and the skin of the pig and chicken is offered to the spirits (still alive). The intestines of the pig are kept outside until the corpse is buried. Also outside of the house, there is some basi, an alcoholic drink, as an offering to the spirits. The family of the deceased must bring meals to their passed loved one when it is time for everyone to eat. They believe if they do not take the necessary precautions that evil spirits will get to their deceased loved one. 

The third day of the mourning the men who are mourning the death gather in the front yard and drink the basi. After they drink the basi a man is chosen to get beaten across the thigh and wrist 200 times with a stick (Cole, Gutenberg p. 285). After he has been lightly beaten he takes the stick and beats the other participants 150 times. Often times the body is buried underneath the house. They bury underneath the house because it is close to the family who can fight off evil spirits. 

After the burial men spend some time in the house singing a song that praises the deceased. In the early hours of the next day, the widowed must go to the river and “throws her headband in the water, and then goes in…” once she is in the water an elderly man must throw burning rice straw at her. They say that the water of the river rids the widow of some sadness and grief “…and the fire will make her thoughts clear” (Cole, Gutenberg p. 288). 


Cole, F. (2004, July 8). The Tinguian: Social, Religious, and Economic Life of Philippine Tribe [Web log post]. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12849/12849-h/12849-h.htm – d0e4104

Mummified for Protection from Evil Spirits [Photograph found in Bizarre Burial Rituals, Heaven’s Maid]. (2016, June 7). In N. Zieah (Author).Retrieved June 13, 2018, from