Among the historical sites in Manila, Paco Cemetery/Park must be the most accessible in our house. It's just one jeepney ride away from home. In about 15 minutes, I could be in the park already. Although it is very much accessible in my place, I just reached it last June of this year and the second time was this month of September.
Historical significance of the shrine started when the City of Manila suffered cholera outbreak during Spanish colonial era. Completed in 1820, it served as the municipal cemetery for those who died from the illness. Originally, the cemetery was intended for the well-off families of the city to bury their deads.
9 of the niches were dedicated to the Dominicans who lend their services to the victims.
There is a mortuary chapel (St. Pancratius) inside the park, which now serve as focal point of the site and where weddings were held. Inside the mortuary is the mausoleum of Governor-General Ramon Solano y Lladeral .
The cemetery is probably one of the oldest existing of its kind in the country. There's a fountain place right in the middle of the park. It enhances the place and adds drama on the surrounding's ambience. Obviously, it was integrated recently.
The Mortuary chapel was in circular layout with domical red roof. The rustic wall was retained with some grown up plants and mosses on it and which I found better. Presence of Greek columns can also be seen in the exteriors of the edifice. It is supporting the broken pediment at the top of the door and big mouldings at the uppermost portion of the wall.
The cemetery has a footprint area of 4,114.80 sq.m. and was designed by Nicolas Ruiz.
Enhancement and add ons on the site like the walkway shown above gave efficient access to its visitors. Lamp post were also installed to light the area during night.
The park was surrounded by two separate wall fortress. Right on the thick walls were the three layers of niches. Vincentian brothers was the current administrator of both park and the mortuary chapel.
Just like the massive walls if Intramuros, one can stroll around on the two walls' elevated pathwalk. The walk offers a better view of the entire park.
Abundance of large broad branched trees was also evident in the place. Really the park was well maintained through the administration of Vincentian priests of the nearest Adamson Univesity.
Dr. Jose P. Rizal was once secretly interred in the place before it was laid beneath on his current burial shrine in Luneta. It was from December 30, 1896, his execution day up until December 29, 1912. That was for 16 years. Aside from the country's national hero, the remains of three martyr priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora was buried there after punished to death by the Spaniards with the use of garote in February 1872.
Separate portals with arch gates can also be seen in the park. Few niches were placed there. Probably. it was for the elite
Life's Two Destinations
1. Internment of the Dead. Formerly used to be a real memorial park of the residents of Old Manila and some of the notable person of the Philippine history. As mentioned, the national hero and Filipino genius Rizal and the 3 martyr priests GOMBURZA (Gomez, Burgos and Zamora). Also, the victims of Manila's cholera outbreak.
2. A Haven of Love Vows. Nowadays, the park serves as good wedding venue. Wedding activities suits the tranquil ambience of the place. I assumed that every week, weddings were held there because in my twice visit in the place, a wedding ceremony is on-going.
Entrance fee is 10 Pesos.
This cemetery was my second Spanish Colonial Cemetery after Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery.
- From Taft avenue, you can drop off at Padre Faura Street in corner of Manila Science High School.
- Go straight at the end of the street and you'll reach General Luna Street.
- Walk through the street in right direction coming from Padre Faura Street.
- You'll see the outer wall of the old cemetery. And there you go!