Beautiful departures

Beautiful departures

An embalmer's work is to make the 'client' look presentable for the final journey

SINGAPORE - Mr Pio Lobenaria puts so much effort into his work that he might be mistaken for a professional make-up artist because of his skilful brush strokes to the face.

The 60-year-old embalmer at Direct Funeral Services ensures that the faces of his "clients" glow again, even in death.

At work, the Filipino, who is also a Singapore permanent resident, wears a blue apron, N-95 mask and latex gloves, just like a medical professional. But instead of just surgical tools, he also uses brushes, lipsticks, eyelash tweezers and make-up palette.

Embalming can take between one to three hours, depending on the extent of the work.

A postmortem would require longer time as embalming liquid would have to be injected into the arteries to preserve the body, Mr Lobenaria said.

He received his on-the-job training in Quezon City, Manila, and has been an embalmer for 31 years.

He worked initially as a mortuary technician at a hospital mortuary in the Philippines before switching to his current position.

He said: "I was afraid of the dead initially, but gradually lost the fear after being around them for a while."

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