As far back as I can remember, only two funeral parlors, Collado Funeral Homes (Pendatun Avenue) and Villa Funeraria (Santiago Boulevard) have been competing head-on here in GenSan.   Later, they were joined by a 3rd one, Allen Funeral (owned by the Almeria Family) which is located along the National Highway, across the hotel formerly known as Tierra Verde.

Owing maybe to the growing population of Gen. Santos City (529,542 as of 2007) and with it, the increasing number of deaths, more and more people ventured into the mortuary busines, offering newer, and a variety of additional and some say, better services.

When my mom died April of last year, according to tradition, me being the eldest, was assigned to ride at the front seat of Collado’s black hearse (or “forlun” in the vernacular) which will bring her mortal remains to its resting place at Forest Lake San Carlos, right after the funeral mass.

It was a very humid afternoon that time, and as soon as I settled inside the hearse, which unfortunately, had seen better days, I started perspiring.  The airconditioning wasn’t working so I just braved myself for the long and slow torturous, hot ride to the cemetery.

At the corner of my eye, I saw another mortuary vehicle, a new one with the unfamiliar chinese name emblazoned on the side, “TayCham Memorial Chapels”, servicing another departed soul at the same church.

Before I had the chance to envy the passenger at the front seat of their airconditioned car, my driver started playing “OUR FATHER” on our vehicle’s loud “trumpo” speakers, and so off we went, with me fanning myself vigorously.

I was also wondering that time how mommy would have been feeling inside her casket behind me, with the heat, noise and all.

Anyway, after that brief first encounter with TayCham, I found out that owing to the city’s zoning ordinance, they had to situate their chapels along the National Highway going to Koronadal, at Purok Malipayon, Crossing Makar, here in GenSan.  No wonder I haven’t seen their building in the downtown area.

TayCham’s location is quite far by any standards but eventually, more and more families started availing of their services, including a good number of my friends, whose loved ones passed away.

Earlier today, 2nd of November, in the spirit of the Feast of the Spirits of our dearly departed, I decided to pay its owners a visit, and this is what I gathered.

TayCham which just celebrated its 1st anniversary last April 18th this year is owned by a young couple, Darwin Lee Dy and Sheryl Madria-Dy.  Darwin’s family has long been in the mortuary industry, with his grandfather, whose name is Tay Cham, starting it in their hometown in Western Samar.

When they decided to venture into the same business, the couple felt that Gen. Santos City was the best place for it since the Tuna Capital has only 3-4 existing mortuaries inspite of the burgeoning population.

Once settled, they began offering novel services that their existing competitions did not have.

First, their building along the National Highway houses three airconditioned chapels or “viewing rooms” for their clients.  Each chapel has a separate private bedroom for the bereaved families of the departed.

Secondly, being a family business, the couple handles their clients personally so that any concern is immediately handled, any problem is attended to right away.

Thirdly, since they do not have any “salesmen”, they have priced their services way below what others are offering.  This is contrary to the rumor that they are expensive.

And they do not discriminate too, providing “packages” for as low as P6,000 inclusive of:

  • Burial Casket;
  • Pick-up of cadaver from home or hospital to the chapels;
  • Embalming;
  • Viewing Equipment & Paraphenalia, such as:
    • Curtains;
    • Carpet;
    • Candle stands;
    • Chandelier stands;
    • Crucifix;
    • Registration or announcement board
  • Delivery to the cemetery, by an AIRCONDITIONED hearse, among others.

According to Sheryl, “Our company’s services is open for all sectors.  We believe that each one, regardless of stature, should not be denied decent funeral services.”

They are also sticklers for cleanliness, making sure that their morgue is sparklingly clean and sanitized at all times.

As for the caskets, some are imported from the US, like those made of oak wood, metal or bronze and priced at the range of P300,000 to more than a half-million pesos.

Some are sourced from Pampanga, the country’s unofficial “casket capital” and some more affordable ones, they manufacture themselves.

In the end, for somebody who has already experienced the loss of both parents, what really matters most is not the price of the casket.  What is most important is the efficiency of the people assigned to provide decent services for your loved ones during their last days here on earth.

That definitely, is TayCham’s commitment to their customers, whose slogan is “where your eternal journey begins”.

I rest my case.

TayCham Memorial Chapels can be found at Purok Malipayon, Crossing Makar, National Highway, Gen. Santos City.  You may call them at tel. #s (083) 553-9999; 302-9999 or 0920-2652-888; 0906-7254-888.

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