Monday, March 28, 2011

A Walk Tour in Manila | Manila North Cemetery

"Lives of great men all remind us 
        we can make our lives sublime, 
And, departing, leave behind us 
         footprints on the sands of time"  

- Psalm of Life, H.W. Longfellow

I made a little photowalk at Manila North Cemetery yesterday. I came to search for the graves of the great men who once lived and made a contribution to our nation's history, culture and art. A kid with great love for history would definitely find this activity fun and exciting.

This old, populous cemetery is located north-east of Manila, at the Manila-Quezon-Caloocan border, with Chinese Cemetery (West) and La Loma Catholic Cemetery (North-West). It harbors the remains of our country's three past presidents, leaders, national artists, and heroes. Bodies of some rich and popular are also found here.

I used this list as my reference while I do the search in this large cemetery. The following photos are the only ones caught by my curious eyes.

the gate to the cemetery
flowers and candles for sale

At 3:45 PM, I reached the main gate of the cemetery along Blumentritt street in Manila. A lot of flowers and candles are for sale at the gate. You'll know you're on the right place if you see the Chinese General Hospital to its left.

Here's a bad sketch of the place:

The central street is the Main street. The triangle at the end is the pyramid, FPJ's grave at the corner. Chinese Cemetery at the left and Chinese General Hospital at the lower left.

As I enter the gate, the first graves I saw were the Nakpil's, Q. Paredes', President Osmeña's, Figueras', Lacson's, and President Magsaysay's.

The Nakpils: Julio, Juan, and Anita. Julio being the father of Juan, the national artist for architecture. Julio also became the husband of Gregoria de Jesus, widow of Andres Bonifacio. Anita was the wife of Juan.

Jose Figueras, former Labor Secretary of President Quirino. The famous Bustillos street in Sampaloc Manila is now named after him.

Quintin Paredes, former House Speaker and Senator. The long street in Binondo is named after him.

Arsenio Lacson, the greatest Manila Mayor as they say.

President Sergio Osmeña, 2nd president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. At the back lies his wife, Esperanza. 

President Ramon Magsaysay, the "Man of the Masses", 3rd President of the Third Republic of the Philippines. At the back lies his wife Luz.
I reached the circle where a number of gravestone is located. At the center is a structure similar to Quezon City Monument, statues of Jesus and Mary around it. Not so far from this spot are the graves of Mayor Villegas and Francis Burton Harrison.

A number of gravestones at the circle.

Mayor Antonio Villegas, one of the founding father of my beloved Pamantasan.

Francis Burton Harrison, former US Gov-Gen to the Philippines. The long street in Pasay City is named after him.
I continued my walk along the Main street, and saw a number of dramatic statues, graveyard of the Masons, Arcadio Arellano's grave, AFP graveyard, the Mousoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion.

A dramatic statue of an angel.

Graveyard of Armed Forces of the Philippines

Masons' graveyard.

Designed by Arcadio Arellano, Mousoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion houses the remains of the heroes of the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish and the Americans (1896-1901). Bodies of M.H. del Pilar and Maria Agoncillo-Aguinaldo were once interred here before they were exhumed and reburied to Plaridel, Bulacan and Aguinaldo Shrine respectively. General Pio del Pilar is buried here.
Arcadio Arellano, a great architect.
The Main Avenue led me to the grave of President Manuel Roxas, located at the center of a small roundabout. Near the Roxases are the graveyard of the Quezon's and the Legarda's.

President Manuel Roxas, the last president of the Philippine Commonwealth and the first president of the Third Republic. On the left lies the body of the former senator, Gerry Roxas; on the right is Gerardo Roxas Jr.

Manuel Quezon Jr., son of President Manuel Quezon. President MLQ was once buried here, he's now at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

Benito Legarda, vice president of the Malolos Congress. The famous Legarda street in U-belt Manila is named after him.
At the end of the Main Avenue is pyramid guarded by two sphinx. This tomb is owned by the Tuazon family, not sure though if it is the famous Tuazon Clan.

who said Philippines got no pyramid?
I turned right upon reaching the end of the Main Avenue. To my surprise, it's as if I'm already walking in a residential street. Kids were running, men were playing cards, old folks doing chitchats. I also saw a sari-sari store. Then I found FPJ's mausoleum.

Fernando Poe Jr., the king of the Philippine Cinema.
a child's statue

dripping candle

I walked the length of the street, and saw no important grave. I turned left again, then I saw Ka Amado's and Atang's tomb. Two great National Artists.
National Artist for Literature Amado V. Hernadez, and his wife National Artist for Music Atang Dela Rama.
From the grave of the national artists, I walked my way to the Puyat's grave, east of the Main Avenue. The residents there started to ask me if I was lost, but I told them that I was just a tourist. They again offered a hand and said that they can help me if it is for school, but again I declined.

Gonzalo Puyat, a business tycoon, started as a furniture maker. A street in Quiapo is named after him.
Jesus' face all over the place.

It was around 5:30 PM, and again I was standing before the pyramid at the Main Avenue. On my second walk on the Main Avenue, this time I was walking southwards, I saw the good looking statues of angels and remakes of Michael Angelo's La Pieta, took pictures of them of course. Some graves I haven't notice on my first go were the graves of Pancho Villa, and the Thomasaites'.

where's He pointing at?
a cross on top of an old mausoleum.
white angel
Thomasites, the first American educators in the Philippines.
Pancho Villa, a renowned boxer during the 20's.
When I reached the Roxas grave again at around 5:40 PM, I saw a tall statue of a fireman at a distance. I entered a narrow path to reach it, walking between old tombs and small hovels built by the caretakers. Before I entered the site, a woman asked me where I was heading, I told her that I just came take a picture of the fireman. Then, tadaa, it is indeed the graveyard of our brave firemen. From afar, children were calling me to take their picture (parang nakapasok ako isang hidden community). I smiled at them but I walked my way back to the Main Avenue (I was quite cautious for my safety).

Firemen's grave.
I saw this Mama Mary statue on my way back to the Main Avenue.
I saw the Rizal grave, Ladislao Bonus's grave, and Huseng Batute's grave as I walk towards the exit. Another grave I did not notice at first was Recto's, it is located just in front of President Magsaysay's.
Rizals, our national heroe's family. Among them is Narcisa Rizal-Lopez, Jose's sister. Jose's parents, Don Francisco and Doña Teodora were once burried here, they're now at Calamba, Laguna.
Ladislao Bonus, the father of the Philippine Opera.
Jose Corazon De Jesus, or "Huseng Batute", lyricist of the famous poem now a song "Bayan Ko"
A dead tree I saw on my way.
A structure I saw on my way.
colorful apartment type of tomb.
Claro M. Recto, former senator, one of the greatest of his generation
I left the cemetery at around 6:15 PM, very much satisfied with my experience.



  1. Whatta walk to remember! Never knew so many known personalities lie here. Awesome post!

  2. thanks ms gay. hndi ko talga yan malilimutan. haha, muntik na ako habulin ng aso sa sobrang usisero ko :)

  3. Ivan, ang hilig mo sa cementeryo. It's as if I walked with you. Have always wanted to do this, but thought of joining a group rather than solo. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. i have a goal kasi kaya puro sementeryo pinuntahan ko.. :)

  5. Thank you sa blog mo... I like it specially when you mention about my lolo Don Quintin



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