Cemetery Tour: Cementerio de Janiuay

Janiuay Cemetery gates

Perhaps the most notable among all of the cemeteries in central Iloilo would be the cemetery of Janiuay, some 30 kilometers from Iloilo City. This is the town after Cabatuan, so if we started our trip there then its just 15 minutes away.

Janiuay town is settled in the foothills of the Panay Cordillera which its fertile valley is irrigated by Suague River. The church itself is new after some of the guerillas burned the old Spanish colonial era church in World War II. What is remarkable heritage site here is not in the town proper but several kilometers away from the town plaza, another place for the dead…the Filipino-Hispano cemetery.

Built through forced labour and was finished in 1884 under the supervision of the Agustinians, Dominicans and Don Placido Martin, this one hectare cemetery has baroque and gothic designs incorporated at the portals, the stone and wrought iron fences, the camposanto and the walls of the niches. As reported by the Philippine Commission during the American colonial era, this one is truly remarkable. Continue reading Cemetery Tour: Cementerio de Janiuay

Cemetery Tour: El Cementerio de Cabatuan Iloilo

We left the southern coastal towns towards the inland towns. Several kilometers away from Iloilo’s new airport is the town of Cabatuan (well actually the airport itself is in Cabatuan). Another landmark of Iloilo’s ecclesiastical prowess is the massive brick Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino. With this massive church comes a very massive cemetery located just several kilometers south of the town proper.

In fact I think for a Spanish colonial era Roman Catholic cemetery like this in Iloilo, this is already massive. Believed to be about 2 hecatres, the cemetery is guarded by stone and wrought iron fences and three portals with faded inscriptions in the native tongue and cross bones on relief. Continue reading Cemetery Tour: El Cementerio de Cabatuan Iloilo

Cemetery Tour: Miag-ao Iloilo Camposanto

Miagao Camposanto

Actually, this is already becoming a heritage trail trip nowadays. Mostly tourists bypass these landmarks simply because its not interesting nor it will only give you the creeps! Hindi nga nakasulat sa Lonely Planet so why bother pass by it when you have a UNESCO World Heritage Site Church sitting prominently at the top of a hill, looking like a giant yellow sentinel guarding the town of Miag-ao, some 40 kilometers away from Iloilo City.

What am I referring to? Actually amateur heritage buff would miss this jewel hidden within the place of the dead. The Camposanto of Miag-ao. Yes, Miag-ao has one of those Spanish colonial era cemetery chapels like the one in San Joaquin. But the difference is, its not that quite imposing, but it is made up of red bricks. Interesting fact here is that it has the only red-brick dome in Western Visayas that is still intact…well almost. Continue reading Cemetery Tour: Miag-ao Iloilo Camposanto

Cemetery Tour: Camposanto de San Joaquin Iloilo

San Joaquin Iloilo Camposanto

Because its the Halloween season or nearing Todos Los Santos, I’ll be featuring four of the several Spanish era cemeteries of the province of Iloilo within this week. Known for their unique camposantos, construction and baroque features, these has stood the test of time and an addition to the heritage sites that manifested Ilonggo, Spanish, Chinese and mestizo creativity along with its century old churches and houses.

Located 59 kilometers southeast of Iloilo City towards the province of Antique, this laidback southernmost town of Iloilo of San Joaquin is our first stop for the tour. It was believed to be one of the places of the mythical “Barter of Panay” where Bornean datus traded the legendary golden hat and long necklace to the native Ati or Aborigenies for settling in the lowlands.

Being the farthest town down south, it has maintained its rustic charm with a century old church featuring the relief of the Battle of Tetuan. Maybe a manifestation of the Christian settlers here against the marauding Moro raiders during the Spanish colonial era.

Continue reading Cemetery Tour: Camposanto de San Joaquin Iloilo

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