Preparing for the Unforeseen: Investing on Memorial Lots

Buying memorial lots are assumed to be common knowledge since death is dealt with as much as with living, but this has been proven otherwise. Better to expect the unexpected.

Various changes in dated traditions and beliefs have already been witnessed in our present society to fit in the current narratives, but it is still evident that the belief in which our deceased loved ones should be properly put to rest in memorial parks or cemeteries to give honor to them is a reality that is still subscribed into by many.

While some still find it morbid or almost shocking, many have already accepted that lives will eventually come to an end – a truth that can make one deeply emotional but still a truth that one also needs to prepare for. That is why there is already a steady growth in those who settle with a simplistic lifestyle such as Japanese minimalism and the Swedish death cleaning, explore memorial plans and invest on their very own memorial lots. 

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Since it is basically similar in principle with buying land properties, the acquisition process can be tedious and demanding especially when this is not planned at all. Whether it is an investment for the inevitable future or for immediate use, keeping in mind some essential information can make the process a little less challenging.

The Current Policy Landscape of Philippine Memorial Parks and Cemeteries

These designated areas that are found in different parts of the cities have grown in capacity and sum through the years to accommodate the increasing demand for memorial lots.

Although, it is highlighted in the general provision for Section 9. Design Standards and Guidelines in the amended Rules and Regulations for Memorial Parks/Cemeteries promulgated by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) that “cemeteries or memorial parks shall be located at the periphery of the town center or in areas sparsely inhabited and where little hazard to human life or health could result.”

It is not as easy as putting up sites in available areas though since another important policy provision is that “the number of cemeteries/memorial parks to be allowed within each municipality/city shall be based on the needs or death rate in the municipality and future catchment areas as well.” Assessments for the plans and allotments are strictly implemented.

The provisions and limits of usable land in general, together with the growing need also for living spaces, have put something of a premium on memorial lots. Burial plot sizes for ground and above ground interment have to be determined and these have to strictly go by the HLURB rules. This type of real estate has gone beyond being an inevitable necessity. For some, it has become a viable property investment.

Buying a Memorial Lot: Base Price Range and Other Expenses

Buying a memorial lot in the Philippines is quite similar to buying any other type of real estate, although due to the nature of what memorial lots are for and where they are located, there are some notable differences.

For one, memorial lots have no land title; they only have lot titles that signify where the lot is located and its measurements. This is also kept on record by the developer or property manager in the case of memorial parks, and by the local government in the case of public cemeteries.

Since the size and location of memorial lots vary according to HLURB rules and regulations, prices for these also vary. According to the published rates for 2018 of one of the known private developers, Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig, the base price for lawn lots amount to PhP200,000.00 while garden and estate lots can already cost you millions – PhP2,000,000.00 and PhP18,000,000.00, respectively. The contract price list for the columbarium in this park comes a bit more economical with the lowest amounting to PhP157,000.00, and depending on the floor and area, can increase to PhP238,220.00. Come to think of it, these sums are already consistent with that of current living spaces, so preparations are also really called for.

But with great purchase comes great other expenses. The amount mentioned prior is just the base price and one must be well-versed that in this world, in reference to a famous saying, death and taxes are two of the things one cannot escape from.  

Apart from the associated taxes, there are the facilitation, administration, and transfer fees that vary depending on the park owners or developers. These fees not only cover the processing of the purchase of the memorial lot but also often include the contributions used for the upkeep of the memorial park as a whole.

Additionally, some sellers would include interest unto memorial lots offered via installment plans. This varies depending on the length of the installment terms, although this interest can be up to 20 percent.

Exploring Investment Expansions with an Acquired Memorial Lot

Just because you have purchased the lot for your own use doesn’t mean the plans will be as static as the original. Those who own a larger memorial lot can opt to build a columbarium. The HLURB defines this as “any structure, either freestanding or part of another building, containing niches for the inurnment of cremated human remains.”

Additionally, the HLURB states that a columbarium may include an “ossuary,” which refers to the interment space for the bones of the dead. Such a structure makes a memorial lot a viable investment as it can eventually be utilized by an entire family or clan, or for investors who are not bothered by the idea of making a business out of death. This could become a type of space to offer in the expanding memorial lot market.

Another option is to create a small mausoleum so that the memorial lot can house a few members of the family who have passed. The memorial park or cemetery usually lets you know to what extent you can develop the memorial lot you are buying. But in the event that one is embarking on the development of a memorial park or columbarium for business, one can always refer to the provisions set by the HLURB in the said rules and regulations for memorial parks or cemeteries.

Private Memorial Parks in the Philippines

The developers behind these memorial parks have been in the industry for some time now and have taken in the latest trends and innovations to offer a line of services, may it be for pre-need or at-need memorial needs. Resting in peace means not just for the deceased.

Manila Memorial Park

Manila Memorial Park, as firmly claimed in their website, is a pioneer in the memorial park industry in the Philippines and is said to be the largest in terms of number of parks and development – the combined land area of all its parks totals 427 hectares (242 fully developed while 185 undergoing full-scale development), continuing to believe that “memorial parks operate on the concept of beauty plus utility.” They boast of their tranquil parks with well-manicured lawns and well-paved roads, and “covered by the country’s biggest park care fund.” The company has memorial parks in Parañaque, Novaliches, Dasmariñas, Bulacan, Cebu, and Davao.

The Heritage Park

The Heritage Park, as noted in their website, sits on what used to be part of Fort Bonifacio military base in Taguig City. This 76-hectare property, currently the largest in Metro Manila, began its operations in 2001 and now prides itself on being the country’s premier memorial service provider. This memorial park offers facilities and services ranging from memorial lots to cremation and interment services. At the moment, the Heritage Park website is the most accessible and has the most helpful information that can guide anyone who would want to plan ahead.

Golden Haven

Owned by Manny Villar’s Vista Land group, Golden Haven started with a just 2 hectares in Las Piñas in 1984. The company has established park locations in Antipolo, Batangas (Bauan), Bulacan, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, General Santos, Iloilo, Las Piñas (Santuario de San Ezekiel Moreno), Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Quezon (Sariaya), Zambales (Subic), and Zamboanga. Aside from parks, Golden Haven also boasts of its new columbarium, memorial chapel, and crematorium.

Forest Lake

It appears like they are newcomers in the industry, but Forest Lake has established itself for 20 years now, opening its first park in Zamboanga and second park in Iloilo in 1997. They have now been providing “efficiently-designed and family-friendly memorial parks all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao” in over 23 memorial parks and 1 chapel in Binan, Laguna. “Envisioned as the country’s neighborhood memorial park, Forest Lake has the greatest number of memorial parks in the Philippines accessible in over 25 location”, thoroughly establishing itself as “one of the most trusted memorial care brands nationwide.”

For further information on the rules, regulations, and other responsibilities of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, as well as additional articles related to the HLURB and its attached agencies, visit the Lamudi HLURB page.



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