Death in Stone: Relieves of old cemeteries in CebuCategories Places
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.
12 thoughts on “Death in Stone: Relieves of old cemeteries in Cebu”
ang tiyaga mo dito. hindi ko kasi masyadong napapansin yung mga ganyan sa mga napuntahan kong sementeryo. simula nitong undas malamang maghahanap ako ng ganyan.
dong, that’s what you get when love of travel gets entwined with religious architectural heritage. hehehe, these are details that are easily missed but once you get to look for it, you’ll just get surprised :p
these are fascinating. :O i wonder why they were carved.
Although they look spooky at first glance, you tend to see a different way of honoring the dead. Even in our country, kanya-kanyang kultura at tradisyon sa pagpaparangal sa patay. Nice work. More pix to come.
kouji, the way christianity was preached by the friars was more on the visual side. it was much easier for them to deliver the message and probably, my theory, it works as Filipinos are visual people. Also, the style of the era was very artistic. just imagine the many details that have been carved inside and outside of church structures.
gonli, thanx. two (or three) more posts coming.
Very interesting topic… something that is completely new to me.
interesting. 🙂 not quite the imagery i associate with the catholic faith, but quite cool. 🙂
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