MANILA, Philippines-Who is the last person that the VIPs lay eyes on? No, not the manager or the mother, not even the mistress---it's the mortician.
"24 Oras" featured on Oct 29 the in-demand Filipino mortician Frank Malabed, who embalmed many of the rich, the famous and the powerful including the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino, the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, and just recently, the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo.
"Ang embalming sa akin is [either] hundred percent or zero. Hindi pupuwedeng masyado kang nagaapura [kasi] gusto mo [lang] tapusin. Ultimo sa pananamit, ako lang ang hindi nagbibiyak o nag gugunting o gumugupit ng damit ng likuran ng namatay," he said of his procedure.
He says a prayer before getting down to work and even practices a ritual of sorts.
"Hangga't maaari, binubulungan ko at kinakausap ko yung namatay o yumao. Alam mo tao rin yan e, bagama't sabi ko nga wala nang buhay, pero puwede mong kausapin at pakiusapan. 'Huwag mo akong pahirapan. Pagagandahin kita at aayusin kita mabuti.' Ganun yung akin, pagkatapos kong magdasal."
Frank revealed that he only uses imported make-up on his dear clients though they're already, well dearly departed. The make-up comes from the US, a brand that, he said, is especially made for embalming purposes.
The mortician explained that though the usual make-up can also be used on the dead, the results are not as drop dead gorgeous as the ones he uses. Everyday make-up, no matter how expensive, simply "crumbles" on the corpse, he said.
Frank learned the techniques from his father and had passed on the knowledge to his own family.
As the GMA-7 report puts it "Hindi raw maitatanggi na ang pamilya ni Malabed, nabubuhay dahil sa mga patay."
Frank quipped: "Eh sabi ko nga, tayo'y walang hanap buhay, talagang hanap patay lamang."