Heritage tour in the Province of Iloilo shall not only include churches and ancestral houses but also colonial cemeteries dated back in Spanish occupation. And one of these is San Joaquin Cemetery.
Built in 1892, the Campo Santo of Town of San Joaquin, one of the Iloilo's farthest town, have catered deads of the province for more than a century.
Lies along the National Road, the cemetery is very visible when you are passing Iloilo-Antique Road. Only meters higher, from the sea level, one can have a beautiful vistas of the sea.
The locals would call it "Campo Santo" probably have adapted the colonial tounge, meaning a holy field as it refers to cemetery. The word is not new to my ears because I was used to call it the same in our hometown. As usual character of our heritage structure, the cemetery possessed the Baroque Architecture. It can be seen on the huge balustrades-fences adorned with pot-like on its top.
Romanesque characters was also noticed on its gate arch. It has pilasters on both sides seemingly supporting a pediment on the top. There were figures on 3 corners of the pediment. On top of the gate was quite large size statue of Jesus Christ with arms stretched wide.
What was most striking on this cemetery was the mortuary chapel that would welcome its visitors. Made up of coral blocks that was stacked genuinely and cladded with baked red bricks. The high dome looks like a priest caps has also gave a classic elegance. It stands tall as it sits on the higher part of the campo santo.
The site layout of old cemeteries must be standard. The chapel shall be located on the center so that the dead could receive final blessing/ceremony before the actual internment
The old wooden door painted with fading mahagony color also enhanced the feature of the capilla plus the half-circle transom window on its top. Of course the gigantic detailed mouldings and the small pediment shows grandeur.
How to get there:
In our case, we rode jeepney going to Miag-ao Church first and then boarded another jeepney bound to San Joaquin. But if you'll be coming from the city, one has to go in Super, a market where it serves as terminal for jeepneys going to South-Eastern Iloilo towns. Just tell the driver to drop you by in San Joaquins Old Campo Santo. The trip would take about an hour more or less.
Other option is to board on bus. It is Ceres Buses specifically bounding to Antique with terminal located in Molo District. Aside from air-conditioned ride and comfortable seats, you will probably enjoy country scenes along the way. Besides, the travel time is shorter.