‘TILL DEATH Couple Luciano Tapic, 85, and Flora Tapic, 82, show their coffins they asked for their son to build. (Divina Suson / davaotoday.com)

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – They say it’s not about how much love you have in the beginning but how much love you build until the end.

Here in Iligan City, coffins have been carved out for Flora and Luciano Tapic by their son, even while the couple don’t think death would be knocking on their doors at the time these were built.

Luciano, 85, is still very active doing his carpentry works, while Flora, 82, is still able to do her usual house chores, though she admits her memory is already getting poor.

Her coffin was long made 17 years ago by their son, also a carpenter. More than a decade later in 2015, their son made another casket for Luciano.

In Filipino culture, to talk about death is frowned upon. But for them the caskets represent of a love that knows that for everything there is a time.

And each of these coffins has a story of its own.

The shape of Flora’s coffin resembles that of a ship. The idea to make it appear like a ship can be traced back to her younger days where she used to help her family barter their farm products with canned goods to ship crew at the shores of Kiwalan, one of the city’s oldest settlements facing the blue waters of Iligan Bay.

“But I want to be buried in our farm, in the mountain, so my children said better make my casket that resemble an aircraft because in the mountains there are no ships,” she says.

Luciano claims, meanwhile, that his coffin is far simpler than her wife’s.

“She’s really that picky, so I let her had the liberty to choose what she wanted for her coffin to look like,” he says.

To talk about death in Filipino culture is frowned upon because of a superstition that to do so would unearth misfortune. But for this couple, to prepare for death is an act of wisdom, and that everyone must prepare for it.

“It is better to prepare so that there will no burden for our children to look for our casket,” he says.

Flora has only one request: that her cadaver be wrapped with white cloth before it will be taken inside the tomb.

“And then this coffin I prepared will be placed on the top of my tomb (as decoration) so that even if my remains becomes one with the earth, this will remain,” she says.

Flora has prepared the white blanket and the dress she wants to wear on her burial.

The couple is blessed with six children, 21 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren.

And if death comes, Luciano says “then it’s time.” (davaotoday.com)

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