All Soul’s Day is just around the corner and what better way to anticipate it but a three-part series about cemeteries and the age old practice of Filipinos to honor their dead, specifically here in Cebu. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4. This post first came out in simbahan.net.
Cebu doesn’t have the impressive colonial era cemeteries of Iloilo. There’s no ornate polygonal cemetery chapels like that of San Joaquin, Cabatuan and Janiuay. However, it does have its own camposanto capillas that would also delight lovers of these heritage structures.
Having gone around these areas for a few years now, I can’t help but notice the carved relieves of skull and cross bones lining the walls or skeletons, perhaps representing Death, carrying a staff and an hourglass decorating the pediment of the cemetery chapel. These two are quite common.
These cemeteries were built in the 19th century and those that are featured here are found in Cebu City (Calamba) and in the southern towns of Oslob and Boljoon which were under the Augustinian Order. In the north, I haven’t found these yet except remnants of walls. There are also relieves found in a few other towns but usually these are just skull and cross bones.
Unfortunately, like the fortifications that still exists in this island province, these are in bad condition and are in danger of crumbling to oblivion.