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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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October 30, 2012

laguna: nagcarlan underground cemetery


The Crypt

The feast day of Todos los Santos (All Saints' Day) is one of the most celebrated holidays in the Philippines (just like Christmas and the Holy Week). In this predominantly Catholic country, almost everyone heads to the cemetery to pay their respects to dear departed relatives and love ones. And speaking of cemeteries, there's one in the province of Laguna that stands out from the rest.

It may be the only one of its kind in the Philippines - an underground cemetery, a crypt located under a small chapel in the town of Nagcarlan.

It was build by the Franciscans during the mid-1800s.  A Franciscan friar by the name of Fr. Vicente Velloc oversaw the design and construction of the small chapel as well as the crypt some 15 feet below.

Underground Cemetery Chapel

From the outside it looked like your ordinary burial grounds. A quaint chapel with a wall of tombs on both sides is at the end of spacious yard.  There is not much inside the chapel, until you notice a flight of stairs heading down.

Stairs leading down

Going down the stairs one can't help but get that eerie feeling.

The Crypt 3

A damp and dark chamber with a couple of light bulbs glowing in one end greets the visitor to the crypt.  I could image how it could have felt like in the old days when there was no electricity yet and folks would use candles.

The Crypt 3


We were trying to keep our voices down, trying not too make such a racket while we were taking photos. The silence added to the eeriness.

Light shines through

We were taking our sweet time and stayed down after some of the visitors already went back up. The caretaker probably thought nobody's down in the crypt anymore that he turned off the light.

Tombs

With such a small crypt its but natural that no new "tenants" are added. The caretaker said only the elite of the town are buried here, and some of the tombs dates back to the late 1800s.

Historians said that the crypt was used by the Filipino Katipuneros (revolutionaries during the Spanish rule) as well as the guerilla fighters during the Second World War for secret meetings or as a place to seek refuge.

Cemetery Chapel

Today the underground cemetery is considered as a National Landmark and is being maintained by the National Historical Institute.
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2 comments:

bertN said...

Interesting!

Wends of Journeys and Travels said...

Nice post and one for the brave souls. I wished I can come here too

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