Industry

Burial, Cremation, Catering: This App Simplifies Funeral Services

Onora makes choosing funeral services easier.
ILLUSTRATOR WARREN ESPEJO
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Death is serious business. The global death care industry is projected to grow to $109.8 billion this year with a compound annual growth rate of 5.6 percent. Here in the Philippines, data is scarce, but a paper published in September 2020 said the funeral and related business in the country reported an income of P4.9 billion in 2015. 

“Indeed (in the) year 2015, an average of 1,587 die per day,” the paper said. “It implies 66 individuals die on hourly basis or in a minute. Funeral care in the Philippines is a large and growing industry.”

It’s this industry that a new startup is looking to penetrate. Launched last week, Onora is a marketplace for funeral services. It’s a mobile app that makes picking and choosing a funeral service for departed loved ones much easier. Think of it as a digital solution to reducing the grief of the bereaved. 

“With Onora, we hope to make the grieving process just a little bit easier,” said founder Benjamin Dychangco. “We’re helping lift the mental load (of the bereaved and allow) them to grieve, reflect, and respect their loved one.” 

As an app, Onora allows users to browse a network of pre-authenticated funeral service providers, collaborate with family, schedule and book through a mobile phone. The app carries over 500 funeral service partners, offering more than 2,000 services including burial, cremation, catering, flowers, obituaries, and even photographers. Services can be paid for through mobile wallets and credit cards. 

Onora expects to record as many as 200,000 bookings by the end of 2021. 

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“The 200,000 bookings would be an aggregate of all the services,” the founder says. “You’ll be surprised to know that we have over millions of deaths per year. The number one in death toll is Calabarzon, two is Metro Manila, and three is Central Luzon.”

According to Dychangco, the average funeral cost in the Philippines is around P75,000. 

“Onora means honor in the Gaelic language, and we believe that to honor a loved one should be the only thing that you focus on during this trying time,” Dychangco said. 

Onora is now available to download in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

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