Nowadays, buying a property in a private memorial park is not just for the dead.
It’s because the living can make an investment in it—even as memorial parks in Iloilo have been transformed into flourishing real estate businesses.
This was the assessment of Jaresh Ng, resident manager of Prudentialife Memorial Park Iloilo, Inc.-Garden of The Ascension, a 17-hectare memorial park in Jibao-an, Pavia.
“Ilonggos are now open-minded with regards to purchasing a memorial lot. Some families suffer the brunt of expenses of a family member in case of urgent situations the reason why they buy the lot in preparation,” Ng explained.
“The investors also find it as a form of investment. As one of the pre-need sales, the client could avail it on easy terms. They could also sell the property. Another advantage is that the property not covered by real estate taxes,” said Ng.
Ng noted their sales has since peaked up even as there are at least seven memorial park developers that have set foot in Iloilo since this industry’s boom in the late 90s to early 2000.
“There has been a mushrooming memorial parks industry in Miag-ao, Pavia and Sta. Barbara – it is a sprouting business,” Ng said.
So what are the advantages of investing in a private memorial ground?
“The memorial park industry is also an answer to crowded public cemeteries. The difference is you can own the property with a certificate of ownership. Public cemeteries only grant burial rights on a five-year period – there are also lack of maintenance, irrigation and drainage system. Thus, the Ilonggos have seen the difference,” Ng stressed.
He added: “With regard to interment service, it is cheaper. We have double-interment privilege as the lot is good for two. The investment is covered with a group credit life insurance.”
“The lots are transferable and assignable too. We don’t limit as to who buys the lot that it would be used exclusively. There is a lifetime maintenance included in the contract’s perpetual care fund (PCF). Talking of memorial parks is expensive but we are giving more to what the clients are paying – we go beyond their expectations – the clients are our priority,” Ng pointed out.
“Once fully-paid the clients are awarded with Certificate of Ownership to be sure of the property, free of charge.” he added.
Asked whether memorial parks would anyway compete with subdivisions, Ng clarified that although the bottom-line both are real estate developments, there’s “no conflict of interest.”
“Garden of The Ascension is not a typical memorial park as to its features and amenities. People who would visit their departed loved-ones would feel the ambiance of the park as they tend to go on biking, do rollerblades or spend time at the mini-park,” Ng averred.
“Aside from the different aspect, the location matters a lot – it’s flood-free and situated along the highway. There are no squatters around. We are very particular with security and safety. We are also flexible in terms of payments,” Ng affirmed.
Likewise, Ng said that only the Garden of The Ascension has an automatic underground water sprinkler system used to maintain the greeneries within the area – not just plain ground but rolling type like golf course covered with Bermuda grass and landscaping.
Only 60 percent of the area are memorial lots while 40 percent have aesthetic features, thus it “won’t be crowded” even as it has 8-meter wide roads and 16-meter entrance.
It offers a 300-400 seating capacity multi-purpose Pavilion, with clean comfort rooms, Gazebo, attractive lamp posts, professional memorial park personnel, pollution-free premises and concrete perimeter fence.
Ng boasted that they have the state-of-the-art lowering device made from Italy – a modern facility is another advantage.
Ng said: “When we are tripping clients to the site, they really get attracted to it – the park sells itself aside from the affordable price.”
As an abode of eternal rest for the departed and place of solace for the living, The Garden of The Ascension is designed to be the biggest, most beautiful and modern memorial park in the agro-industrial hub of Western Visayas.
“A tranquil haven that offers a variety of choices ranging form lawn/garden lots, memorial lots and spacious family estates, one could select a place of eternal rest and gain peace of mind knowing that you have pre-planned for your family.”
This story first appeared in The Guardian Iloilo August 22, 2007