Teacher by day, embalmer by night

BINALONAN—She is a teacher by day and works part-time by night as an embalmer.

Her students call her, “Teacher Leda, terror sa gabi” because of the nature of her work as an embalmer.

Leda Cariño, 42, is a Grade 6 class adviser at Linmansangan Elementary School here. She has been working as a teacher for 16 years.

The Cariño family operates a funeral parlor in Laoac and Manaoag towns so before Leda became a teacher, she was taught by her late father, Damaso Cariño Jr, how to embalm and service the dead.

Teacher Leda is the only girl and the third child among four siblings. All the Cariño children know how to embalm the dead.

“I’m not afraid to do the embalming. We’ve grown in an environment where we see dead people,” Cariño, a licensed embalmer, said.

She started her exposure to embalming when she was 16 years old by assisting her father, merely handing tools to her father when embalming a cadaver.

She said her father paid her honorarium as an assistant until she learned to do it by herself.

She proudly said that her eldest child who is now 18 years old already knows how to embalm the dead. Her husband also works as a driver for funeral carriage in their business.

Teacher Leda said her students know about her sideline. “They are even proud of me,” she said. Her embalming fee ranges from as high as P2,000 each cadaver.

“But it’s not all about money,” she said, adding that her satisfaction comes from the appreciation of the bereaved family who thank her for cleaning the body of their dead and for doing a beautiful make-up on the cadaver “like she or he is merely sleeping”.

“That’s when I feel flattered,” she said.

She said when a school principal died and she was tasked to do the embalming, her co-teachers who appreciated her work already commissioned her to service them when their time comes.

She said she had handled worst cases of dead persons whose bodies were mutilated. “I’m already used to it,” she added.

Being a teacher, she said she is willing to teach other people who might be interested in the service as a livelihood.

“Embalming a dead person is a decent job. Although I am a teacher, I am not ashamed to say that I am also an embalmer. I am doing a decent service  to the people,” Cariño said. (PhilStar Wire Service)

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