Monday, October 31, 2011

Grave Matters: 5 Cemeteries Worth a Visit in the Philippines

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It's Halloween! If you want to do something unusual other than wear a Halloween costume or go trick or treat, then consider visiting some interesting cemeteries. It doesn't necessarily have to be done on Hallow's eve or on All Saint's Day. It can be a break from visiting all those historical churches, parks, and museums. Cemeteries have history, art, and sometimes, a quiet area to enjoy beautiful scenery. Here are cemeteries in the Philippines that I believe are worth a side trip:

Explore the Paco Park and Cemetery

1. Paco Park and Cemetery - This cemetery tops my list not only because of its history (this was where the Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal was once buried) but also because of its sublime beauty. It's wonderful to visit especially in the afternoon, as the dome-shaped chapel, concentric walls and  tall trees look more romantic with the play of shadows and sunlight.

Paco Park and Cemetery is located at Gen. Luna Street, Paco Manila. Read more about Paco Park and Cemetery here.
The grounds of Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery
(Photo from Laguna Travel Guide) 

2. Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery -  The only underground cemetery in the Philippines was built in 1851 and is a National Historical Landmark for being the meeting place of the Filipino independence fighters - The Katipuneros. Thus, it's not only an unusual burial site, it's a place that preserves the country's history. Art lovers, on the other hand, appreciate its amazing architecture. Learn more about this unique cemetery here.

3. Sunken Cemetery -  This cemetery is surprisingly one of the best dive sites in the picturesque island of Camiguin. The Sunken Cemetery, marked by a large cross off the shore of Barrio Bonbon, Catarman, Camiguin, was once a large cemetery that sank  20 feet under water after the eruption of Mount Vulcan (Old Volcano). See photos of the Sunken Cemetery here.

The well-kept Manila American Cemetery
4. Manila American Cemetery and Memorial - The largest American cemetery in the Pacific, the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial is one of the most tranquil places in Metro Manila. Located at Old Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio (Bonifacio Global City), Taguig, the white headstones and lush greenery call the attention of people who drive around Fort Bonifacio.  This cemetery pays tribute to soldiers and military personnel who died during the Battle for the Pacific (World War II) and also has 25 mosaic maps that features the achievement of the American armed forces in the Pacific.  Find out more about the Manila American Cemetery here.

5. Sagada Hanging Coffins -  It may not be your typical cemetery but the hanging coffins of Sagada, Mountain Province is definitely worth a visit if you wish to find out the burial practices of pre-colonial Philippines. Of course, seeing the hanging coffins also means exploring Sagada's cave connections, a must for adventurous travelers.  Here's a site you can check for more information about traveling to Sagada.

Look closely to see the hanging coffins.

Now if you're ready to move out of your comfort zone, then go visit these unique grave sites in the Philippines. Don't worry, there won't be any vampires or zombies there!

What cemetery or mausoleum do you think is worth a visit? Share it in the comment section below!

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