Funerals consist of two aspects: social and spiritual.
On the social side of the coin, relatives and acquaintances will gather at the funeral home and socialize with the deceased’s family and with each other.
This socializing may involve food, drink, cards, and considerable merriment. It is the duty of friends and relatives to show up and keep the deceased and his/her family company during the wakes. On the spiritual side of the coin, prayers – novenas – will be said as long as the body lies in the chapel of the funeral home, which can be as long as a week.
When showing up at the funeral home, don’t wear red – as the deceased may likely have a few Filipino-Chinese relatives who may be present. If you are certain Chinese blood is involved, wear white. Color is more important than form; even a tee-shirt and jeans will do, as long as the clothes are white, or at least non-red. After greeting the family members, be sure to view the body. This is considered important.
On the day of the actual funeral, those concerned – the English word would be mourners, but they may not look at all as if they are in mourning – will trudge behind the funeral cortege to the cemetery, often covering many miles on foot in the hot sun. The affluent classes will undertake this journey by car; usually a barangay or municipal vehicle will clear the road and the mourners’ vehicles will follow in a single line, hazard lights flashing, sometimes blocking up traffic for miles.
It is customary for passersby to throw coins at the funeral procession, which family members collect.