My fascination on colonial cemeteries grows out more when I had my tour in Iloilo. Cabatuan was the last town I visited during my stay there and its aged cemetery was my last stop. The daylight was starting to hide and darkness is prevailing fast when we reached this heritage marvel.
Cabatuan cemetery was built with the leadership of Fr. Juan Porras and was inaugurated on February 4, 1894. It is the only cemetery in the Philippines that has perfect square and is enclosed on all four sides with intricately-designed steel railing.
Among the campo santo that I visited in Iloilo, this is the most preserved. Like Janiuay Cemetery, it lies along the main road and very much visible to the public. It has three entrances which were enormous and in good state yet the simplest of its type. The design is more of Romanesque with some Gothic characters, however the huge octagonal baroque mortuary chapel or capilla at the center was beautifully restored.
It once have faced near deterioration of its heritage value when the parish priest headed the construction of covered extension of the central capilla. But because of uproar among Cabatuananons and heritage conservationists the on-going construction was stopped and demolished as it will deface the old structure constructed in the 19th century. While the municipal government of Cabatuan said the extension chapel is illegal due to lack of appropriate permits.
How to get there
From Iloilo City, to reach the town of Cabatuan, one has to take jeepneys that are available in Centraline Terminal fronting Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro District of Iloilo City. You have an option of riding air-conditioned vans that are also available in the terminal.