This is the 5th of a series. It is not only old churches that I am fascinated with but I find Spanish colonial era cemeteries, and to some extent, those during pre-war period with their wonderful architecture very interesting. When I get to places, after asking about the churches, I follow it up with: “Is the cemetery here old?”
In the Visayas, and possibly in the entire country, Iloilo has the best samples of colonial era, as well as pre-war cemeteries. Just think of the still intact chapels, the perimeter fence with their wrought iron railings and niches. The best example, perhaps that I have visited can be found in San Joaquin, Iloilo (photo above). It features a grand stairway leading to an equally elaborate and beautiful chapel at the center, all made from cut coral stones.
Not many know it but after visiting the fortress church in this municipality, tourists usually miss this beautiful cemetery with its octagonal chapel at the center. The architecture is not as elaborate as that in San Joaquin but just simple. Its style is reminiscent of the Cabatuan cemetery chapel with its form and three portals but topped with three round openings and a dome.
Negros Occidental has its share of these beatiful cemteries but not as well preserved as that of Iloilo. Most are remnants or in some municipalities, only the original perimeter fence or portions of it can still be found. In Valladolid, Negros Occidental, only the entrance arch and a crumbling fence are present. But what I do like about this place is that you can readily see the different periods.
Victorias in Negros Occidental doesn’t have traces of spanish colonial era cemetery. However, inside its cramped catholic cemetery are fine examples of art deco as well as pre-war tomb architecture.
On a visit to the Bago City catholic cemetery, only parts of the perimeter fence, entrance arch and niches can be found that are from the colonial period. However, there are several pre-war tombs that can be found. Interestingly, while roaming around, I found one niche of a fallen soldier during World War II.