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10 Interesting Cemeteries in the Philippines and Things You Should Know About Them

5 Must-Visit Cemeteries in the Philippines

Dark Tourism is the act of travel and visitation to sites, attractions and exhibitions which have real or recreated death, suffering or the seemingly macabre as a main theme (as mentioned by thepinaysolobackpacker.com). Honestly, I didn't know that there's such a term not until she posted an article about it on her blog. In my previous travels, I have been visiting remarkable cemeteries in different parts of our country. I have acquired a fascination not only on heritage houses but also with old and interesting cemeteries that are rich in history and has a lot of "out of the ordinary" stories to tell.

Must-see Cemeteries in the Philippines



I visit cemeteries because of its rich historical value, notable architecture and vibrant past. These cemeteries had been part of our rich culture and heritage, thus, paying a visit brings me back to the past. With this, I want to take you to some of the interesting cemeteries that I've visited in my previous travels.


1. Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery

Location: Nagcarlan, Laguna


Built by the Franciscan Missionaries in 1851, this cemetery is said to used as an underground crypt were Filipino revolutionaries plotted against the Spanish rule. It is also a known fact that cemeteries like this is where only the elite Catholic families were buried during that time.


Because of it's rich history, this burial ground has been inscribed by the National Historical Institute as a National Historical Landmark.


This visit is part of our 2-day Western Laguna Road Trip. Click here to read more.


2. San Joaquin Roman Catholic Cemetery

Location: San Joaquin, Iloilo


The most compelling feature of this century-old Roman Catholic cemetery is the Campo Santo sitting on a hill overlooking the sea. This chapel is popular for its intricate baroque architecture with oriental influences. It is even made more impressive by the grand stone staircase approaching the beautiful chapel.


The chapel is made of white coral and fossil stones alternating with coral stone-red bricks. It is said to be used by the locals during the early days, to celebrate the holy mass before a burial.


This visit is part of our Iloilo-Guimaras adventure in 2010. Click here to read more.


3. Paco Cemetery

Location: Paco, Manila


Probably one of the oldest cemeteries in our country, Paco Park is Manila’s municipal cemetery during the Spanish colonial period. Most of the wealthy families during that time interred the remains of their loved ones here. Tough it was originally planned as a municipal cemetery for the well-off and established upper-class Spanish families who resided in the old Manila, it was also used to bury victims of a cholera epidemic that swept across the city during that time.


Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal was secretly interred here by the Spaniards after his execution in Bagumbayan in December 30, 1896. It is also the final resting place of the three Filipino martyr priests, Mario Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora (GOMBURZA), who were executed by the Spaniards in 1872 for their participation in an uprising against Spain.

This visit is part of our Paco Park and Cemetery weekend in 2011. Click here to read more.


4. Camiguin's Sunken Cemetery

Location: Catarman, Camiguin


One of the most photographed sites in Camiguin. The sunken cemetery is a result of the volcanic birth of Mt. Vulcan. Some areas in the town of Bonbon diminished during that time that led to the sinking of the town's cemetery to below sea level. In 1982, a huge white cross was erected to mark the cemetery that was swept by the said eruption.


This visit is part of my visit to Camiguin last August 2011. Click here to read more.

5. Sagada's Hanging Coffins

Location: Sagada, Mountain Province


Interesting Cemeteries in the Philippines and Things You Should Know About Them

Sagada is famous for its hanging coffins, it could be one of its most iconic tourist attractions. If you want a closer look of the hanging coffins, you need to take a short trek deep down the valley. It wasn't an easy trek, you need to be extra cautious with every step to reach the site. This practice of burying is believed to make the deceased loved ones closer to heaven. There are several coffins here and it's a mix of the old and some new ones. If you go here via a guided tour, listen carefully to your guide as he will give you information on the history and the tradition behind the practice of the hanging coffins.

This visit is part of my visit to Sagada, Mountain Province. Click here to read more.

Sagada Travel Guide Budget Itinerary

6. American Memorial and Cemetery

Address: Taguig City, Manila, Metro Manila
Hours: Open from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

The American Memorial and Cemetery is a huge complex with more than 17 thousand graves and known to have the largest number of graves of any cemetery for U.S. personnel killed during World War II. Don't miss visiting "The Memorial," which has huge mosaic maps located in four rooms that recall the actions of the United States Armed Forces in the Pacific, China, India and Burma (Myanmar). Also, you will see the seals of the American states and its territories carved on the floor of The Memorial.

MORE PHOTOS HERE: 7 Interesting Places in Manila: Where to bring your Balikbayan and Foreign Guests

Things to do in Manila Philippines

What to do in Manila Philippines

What to do in Manila Philippines

7. Old Badjao Burial Grounds

Address: Sta Cruz Island, Zamboanga City

One of the things you shouldn't miss when visiting the the pink sand Sta. Cruz Island are the Old Badjao Burial Grounds on the eastern part of the island. It was quite interesting to see the details of the grave where there are miniature wooded boats and human effigy. As Badjaos are popularly called sea gypsies, they live almost their entire lives in the sea. These miniature wooden boats signifies their deep connection to the sea in the form of grave markers. It is also noticeable that there are some items such as plates and mugs on their graves. Later on, I learned that they also put the departed's favorite items in the graves.

MORE PHOTOS HERE: Visiting the Old Badjao Burial Grounds on Sta Cruz Island, Zamboanga City

Sta Cruz Island Zamboanga City

Badjao Burial Grounds Sta Cruz Island Zamboanga City

Badjao Burial Grounds Sta Cruz Island Zamboanga City

8. Kabayan Fire Mummies Burial Cave

Location: Kabayan, Benguet

Located in Mt. Timbac, this is a small cave with several wooden coffins where you could see the Kabayan fire mummies. For more photos, tips, reminders, and how to get there, read my previous article: Into the Caves of the Fire Mummies of Kabayan, Benguet

photo courtesy of Gabriel Malvar





9. Lumiang Burial Cave

Location: Sagada Mountain Province

Considered as one of the most visited burial caves in Sagada, the Lumiang Burial Cave is just 15 minute walk south of the main village, towards Ambasing. Lumiang cave is the start-off point of the cave connection where you enter Lumiang Cave an exit through Sumaguing cave.

ALSO READ: Things to do in Sagada

10. The Cemetery of Negativism

Location: Camp John Hay, Bagui City

There are no humans buried here, but it's a cemetery where people bury negative traits. The Cemetery of Negativism is quite an interesting attraction inside Camp John Hay for its graveyard that seems like a pet cemetery with small tombstones and figures on them. Definitely, a must-visit when in Baguio City.

SEE ALSO: Top Things To Do in (and near) Baguio City

Top Things to do in Baguio

How about you? Are cemeteries also part of your usual travel itinerary?


This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for October 2011 with the theme "Dark Tourism: Philippines in Focus" hosted by Gael Hilotin of The Pinay Solo Backpacker.

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11 comments :

Mhe-anne Ojeda said...

yes i visit the historic cemetery and war memorial but my fave really is the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial which is the subject of my post for the blog carnival-http://mheanneojeda.blogspot.com/2011/10/dark-tourism-manila-american-cemetery.html. but for those regular cemeteries I visit those where relatives might be to do my genealogical research for my family history!

Edsan/ Islandvacations said...

I admire your passion in visiting cemeteries. Being a history buff myself, I've realized I must do the same to have a better understanding of the past of the places I shall visit. Thanks for sharing.

Bonzenti [Con Tour] said...

I have almost of the same entry as yours, but I have of different experience in visiting the sunken cemetery of camiguin island in 2007. That was my first time visiting cemetery in off places away from home.

Batang Lakwatsero said...

andaming sementeryo! ansaya.. paco park pa lang napuntahan ko dito.. gusto ko subukan mag dive dun sa sunken cemetery.

Pinoy Adventurista said...

@Mhe-anne Ojeda - i used to work in Taguig and I pass by those cemeteries almost everyday, but i haven't been there... hehehe!!! soon! I'll find time to visit... thanks Ms Mhe-ann! :)

Pinoy Adventurista said...

@Edsan/ Islandvacations - thanks din po Sir Ed! really, cemeteries has a lot of stories to tell... :)

Pinoy Adventurista said...

@Bonzenti [Con Tour] - oo nga eh... mas extensive yung story mo.. hehehe!!! thanks Bonz! :)

Pinoy Adventurista said...

@Batang Lakwatsero - yeah, creepy cguro yung view underwater... hehehe!!! katakot... :) thanks Ivan!

thepinaysolobackpacker said...

ay wow! hangdame mu na pala napuntan na nice cemtery. thanks for sharing Merv! =)

happysole said...

i used to pass by the San Joaquin cemetery during my college days, but never really got to set foot in it. buti ka pa! one of these days mababalikan ko rin 'to. :)

Billy Palatino said...

2 pa lang npuntahan ko jan Sir PA...Paco and Nagcarlan....Way to go sir! See you on the road!

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