20+ Modern & Traditional Filipino Funeral Songs | Cake Blog (2023)

Many funerals and memorial services are influenced by external factors like culture and religion. Every aspect of a funeral or memorial service can be informed by religious beliefs and culture, including the music.

Jump ahead to these sections:

  • Traditional Filipino Funeral Songs
  • Contemporary Filipino Funeral Songs
  • Catholic Filipino Funeral Songs

Music plays a rich role in Filipino culture, so it isn’t surprising that it also holds a place of honor at funerals. Let’s explore some of the best funeral songs you might hear at a Filipino funeral.

Traditional Filipino Funeral Songs

The Philippines have a thriving music scene. A term called original Pinoy music (OPM) refers to any popular music performed by and written by Filipino singers or musicians. Many of these nostalgic songs may end up being played at a traditional Filipino funeral.

1. “Pangako” by Ogie Alcasid

Ogie Alcasid has dominated the entertainment scene in the Philippines since 1988. One of his most famous songs, “Pangako,” became popular thanks to its theme of undying and transcendent love. Either a solo version or a duet featuring Alcasid’s wife, Regine Velasquez, might be played during a funeral.

2. “Maalaala Mo Kaya” by Carol Banawa

Carol Banawa is a well-known Filipino singer and actress who has performed around the world. This tune is actually the theme song for a Philippine-based drama series. Thanks to its subject matter, it has also become a popular funeral song.

3. “Lumayo Ka Man Sa Akin” by Rodel Naval

Rodel Naval was a beloved Filipino singer, songwriter, and actor. He grew up in a close-knit family and wrote this song as a tribute to his late mother. Sadly, Naval also passed away at a young age, but his legacy lives on through this traditional funeral song.

4. “Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo” by Basil Valdez

Basil Valdez is one of the most beloved singers in Filipino history. While he came up through the folk scene, he really found his niche in movie and TV theme songs. This sad ballad actually served as the theme song for a hit Philippine drama series and remains a constant favorite at funerals. You might hear it specifically at a funeral for a couple.

5. “Kahit Isang Saglit” by Martin Nievera

This touching ballad is about a person who wishes to see a deceased loved one just one more time. Nievera, who is known as the “Concert King” of the Philippines, won a prestigious Awit Award for his recording.

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6. “Hanggang Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan” by Basil Valdez

This isn’t the first Valdez song on this list, and it likely won’t be the last. This moody song is about a couple staying in love despite the challenges they face. Valdez excels at crafting emotional songs that set the tone for a funeral.

7. “Saan Ka Man Naroroon” by Carol Banawa

Even though she released this song when she was a teenager, Banawa’s emotional maturity made this song a hit. It has been a mainstay at Filipino funerals ever since.

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Contemporary Filipino Funeral Songs

Filipino funerals share a lot of commonalities with funerals from other cultures. This may include using more modern funeral songs instead of traditional or religious ones. You might expect to hear these contemporary Filipino funeral songs at a Filipino funeral.

8. “Huwag Ka Nang Umiyak” by KZ Tandingan

KZ Tandingan is a singer and rapper best known for winning “The X Factor Philippines.” She covered this popular song that had earlier fame when released by Ebe Dancel and the band Sugarfree.

9. “Ikaw Lamang” by Gary Valenciano

Like Basil Valdez, you can expect to see the name Gary Valenciano more than once on this list. Many of his songs have become popular for use at funerals. This Awit Award-winning ballad is technically a love song, frequently played at burials and funerals.

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10. “Paglisan” by Color It Red

This gentle ballad isn’t necessarily what you would expect from an alternative pop-rock band. But its message about unending love makes it a popular selection at funerals. The title roughly translates to “leaving” or “parting” in English which gives some clues about its tone.

11. “Ang Buhay Nga Naman” by Noel Cabangon

Cabangon is a folk singer and composer known for crafting songs that deal with important social issues. This song about a loved one who has passed away is a modern-day funeral classic.

12. “Magpakailanman” by Wency Cornejo

Music is so important to Filipino culture that even TV theme songs can become something of a cultural touchstone. This song is the theme to a Philippine drama series with the same name. In recent years, it’s also become popular to play at funerals.

13. “Kanlungan” by Noel Cabangon

This is another emotional and realistic song by folk artist Cabangon. It reminds people of the regret they can feel when they don’t spend enough time with a loved one before their death.

14. “Malayo Pa Ang Umaga” by Rey Valera

Rey Valera is a beloved figure in Filipino pop culture and this is one of his most cherished songs. Its upbeat message might be unexpected at a funeral. The title literally translates to “The Joy Comes in the Morning.” But people gravitate toward its uplifting feeling of hope and happiness after dark times.

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Catholic Filipino Funeral Songs

The Philippines is an overwhelmingly Catholic nation. In fact, it is home to the third-largest population of Catholic people on the globe. Filipino Catholicism has its own flavor, as it has been heavily influenced by indigenous and conquistador practices. These Catholic funeral songs might be expected at a religious Filipino funeral.

15. “Hindi Kita Malilimutan” by Basil Valdez

This Basil Valdez song, which is loosely adapted from Isaiah 49:15-16, is a perennial favorite at funerals. If you attend a Filipino funeral, you will almost undoubtedly hear this song during burial or at a funeral mass.

16. “Tanging Yaman” by Carol Banawa

The title of this classic funeral song translates in English to “Only Treasure.” The piece was originally composed by a man named Manoling Francisco. Francisco has composed more than 150 songs, many of them liturgical in nature.

17. “Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos” by Gary Valenciano

This religious pop song talks about how God will lend you support in your darkest times. It has since been covered by Vina Morales, but the Valenciano version is more likely to be played as part of a funeral mass.

18. “The Warrior is a Child” by Gary Valenciano

This song was originally recorded by the contemporary Christian artist Twila Paris. Prolific Filipino singer-songwriter Gary Valenciano popularized his own version of it in the Philippines. The original is widely considered to be one of the greatest songs in Christian music. Meanwhile, Valenciano’s cover has gone on to become a popular funeral song.

19. “I Will Be Here” by Gary Valenciano

This is actually a cover of a song by the contemporary Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman. Valenciano released his modern take on the track in the year 2000. This song, which celebrates the love between family and friends, is popular at weddings and funerals alike.

20. Traditional Catholic Funeral Hymns

Catholicism in the Philippines looks a little different to Catholicism elsewhere in the world. But some Filipinos will opt for a traditional Catholic funeral mass. In this case, they might gravitate towards certain Catholic hymns for the service:

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  • “Amazing Grace”
  • “Ave Maria”
  • “Hosea”
  • “How Great Thou Art”
  • “Let There be Peace on Earth”

Any of these songs might be right at home at a Catholic funeral in the Philippines.

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Modern and Traditional Funeral Songs in Filipino Tradition

The Filipino culture is rich, diverse, and above all else, musical. Music plays an important role in the cultural heritage of every person in the Philippines. As a result, music is treated seriously. Most Filipinos even have an unofficial soundtrack to their lives.

So it makes sense that music also plays a key role in Filipino funerals. This list of modern and traditional songs would all be at home on a Filipino funeral music playlist.


  1. “70 Most Popular Filipino (OPM) Funeral Songs.” Spinditty, Spinditty, 6 November 2020, spinditty.com/playlists/Most-Popular-Filipino-Funeral-Songs-OPM-in-the-Philippines.


What is a good song for someone who passed away tagalog? ›

Ang Buhay Nga Naman” by Noel Cabangon

This song about a loved one who has passed away is a modern-day funeral classic.

What is the most played song at a funeral? ›

'My Way' is the song most likely to be played at a funeral according to SunLife's 2021 Cost of Dying report with one in every 25 funerals playing Frank Sinatra's 1969 hit.

What is a good song for saying goodbye? ›

Our top 10 sad songs about moving away

And these songs perfectly express every feeling when moving away: “A Bad Goodbye” – Clint Black and Wynonna Judd. “I Try” – Macy Gray. “Don't You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds.

What is a good song for a celebration of life? ›

Uplifting funeral and memorial songs

“Always Look at the Bright Side of Life” by Monty Python. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. “Closer to Fine” by Indigo Girls. “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers.

What is a song you don't play at a funeral? ›

"Hells Bells" by AC/DC

Similar to “Highway to Hell,” this song just has too many negative connotations for most funerals. It's likely a good idea to steer clear of AC/DC altogether.

What song is played at every funeral? ›

The most requested song for a traditional funeral service is “Amazing Grace,” a Christian folk hymn written by English poet John Newton. Many find the message of forgiveness and redemption a beautiful tribute to the mercy of God.

Which song is used to mourn the death of loved ones? ›

1. “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton. A reminder that it's okay to cry and grieve the loss of a loved one.

What is the final song at a funeral called? ›

What do you call the exit music at a funeral? Reflection – a piece of music typically played partway through the funeral service, this is a time many mourners use to reflect on their lost loved one. Exit – a piece of music played as mourners exit the crematorium.

How many songs should be played at a funeral? ›

How many songs will be played? Ideally, three to four songs should be played at a service. A more somber selection usually commences the service. A song that helps tell the story of a loved one's life is generally played after the eulogy and possibly after a reading.

What is a good song to dedicate to your mom funeral? ›

We also included Alison Krauss' “Down to the River to Pray”, “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion, “A Song For Mama” by Boyz II Men, “You Can't Loose Me” by Faith Hill, You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban and “Wind Beneath my Wings” by Bette Midler.

What song does 50 Ways to Say Goodbye sample? ›

I mean, it says it on the tin: "50 Ways to Say Goodbye" is of course derived from Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," another song dealing with the end of a relationship.

What music touches your heart and soul? ›

Classical music touches human's heart and soul, make him better, give him ideas and peace. Why churches like classical music so much? Because it helps to find the connection with God.

What should you not say at a funeral? ›

Here are some examples of what NOT to say at a funeral:

S/he has had a long meaningful life. Don't worry too much, you will be fine. I have been through this, and I'm sure you too can be fine. Look on the bright side, she is in a better place now.

Which song is known as Death Song? ›

"Death Song" or "In Praise of Death", a 1926 song by Korean singer Yun Sim-deok.

What organ music is played at funerals? ›

Ten more of the best pieces of organ music for funerals:

Widor: second movement from Symphonie gothique. Vaughan Williams: Prelude on 'Rhosymedre' Flor Peeters: Adagio from Suite Modale or his Aria. Handel: Ombra mai fu from Serse.

What's the hardest part of a funeral? ›

Attending a visitation can be the hardest part for people to attend, because it involves talking to the deceased's family. A good recommendation is to say something simple such as “I am sorry about your loss”, especially if there are many other guests waiting to share their condolences.

Who should speak first at a funeral? ›

The speech is ideally given by someone who knew the person well enough to gather and share memories and highlights of his/her life. Sometimes the choice is obvious within the family. There is often one person who seems to be the unofficial family spokesperson.

Who walks in first at a funeral? ›

Unless they have chosen to be seated beforehand, the family comes next, chief mourner(s) first, walking with whomever he or she chooses. Close friends may follow, completing the procession. The family and pallbearers occupy the front rows, with friends filling vacant places on either side.

What is the number 1 hymn? ›

1. Amazing Grace – John Newton, England (1779) Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound / That saved a wretch like me / I once was lost but now am found / Was blind, but now, I see.

What is a good song for a memorial slideshow? ›

The Most Popular Funeral Songs

'My Way' by Frank Sinatra. 'Wind Beneath My Wings' by Bette Midler. 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. 'Ave Maria' by Franz Schubert.

What music soothes your soul? ›

Classical and softer music, for instance, may have a calming, stress-relieving effect, whereas hard rock could have the opposite effect.

What is it called when you feel music in your soul? ›

While frisson is usually known for being evoked by experiences with music, the phenomenon can additionally be triggered with poetry, videos, beauty in nature or art, eloquent speeches, and the practice of science (mainly physics and mathematics).

How many songs should be sung at a funeral? ›

How many songs will be played? Ideally, three to four songs should be played at a service. A more somber selection usually commences the service. A song that helps tell the story of a loved one's life is generally played after the eulogy and possibly after a reading.


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