8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Manila Cemeteries
The Chinese Cemetery is considered the second oldest cemetery in Manila. It was designated for Chinese individuals who were denied burial in Catholic cemeteries during the Spanish colonial era.
The Ruby Tower Memorial is inside the Chinese Cemetery. It was built in 1974, dedicated to the Chinese-Filipinos who perished in the collapse of the six-storey Ruby Tower building on August 2, 1968 during an earthquake that hit Manila.
Manila North Cemetery or Cementerio del Norte or Cemeterio Municipal de Manila, was also formerly known as Paang Bundok. It is one of the oldest cemeteries in Metro Manila. It is also one of the biggest at 54 hectares.
The first presidential burial in Manila North Cementery was President Manuel Quezon (later exhumed and reburied at Quezon Memorial Circle.)
Other late presidents buried in Manila North Cemetery include Manuel Roxas, Sergio Osmeña and Ramon Magsaysay.
Some National Artists buried in Manila North Cemetery include:
- Ronald Allan Kelly Poe, also known as Fernando Poe, Jr., National Artist for Film
- Ma. Atang dela Rama, known as the “Queen of the Kundiman,” National Artist for Theater, Dance and Music
- Amado Hernandez, National Artist for Literature
Some Filipinos involved in the resistance and revolution against Spanish colonial rule are buried in Manila North Cemetery:
- Melchora Aquino, also known as Tandang Sora and Mother of the Katipunan
- Emilio Jacinto, also known as the Brains of the Katipunan
- Gregoria de Jesus, widow of Andres Bonifacio, also known as the Muse of the Katipunan
- María Agoncillo-Aguinaldo, wife of Emilio Aguinaldo (later exhumed and reburied at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite)
- Marcelo H. del Pilar (later exhumed and reburied in his house in Marcelo H. del Pilar Shrine Bulacan, Bulacan)
Manila North Cemetery and Chinese Cemetery have a trove of funerary architecture. Mausoleums are designed to look like Chinese pagodas, Hindu Sikhara temples, Egyptian pyramids guarded by Sphinxes, Greek- and Roman-inspired temples, Romanesque-type churches, even Art Deco mausoleums.
The Roxas family’s pet dog Bogie is also buried (complete with a headstone) at the burial plot of former President Manuel Roxas in Manila North Cemetery. He was 10 years old when he passed on.
You can take a walking tour of the Chinese Cemetery with Old Manila Walks, founded by Ivan Man Dy.
The Museum Foundation of the Philippines and Carlos Celdran’s Walk This Way both used to hold walking tours the Chinese Cemetery, North Cemetery and La Loma Cemetery. If many of you contact them, who knows, they might resurrect their tours.
Sources for this 8List include:
Have you ever taken a walking tour of any of the cemeteries mentioned in this 8List? Do you think you would be brave enough to take one? Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below.