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“The Underground Cemetery of Nagcarlan”

The Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery was built in 1851 by the Franciscan Missionaries. As far as I can remember, this is the only underground cemetery that has been built in the Philippines. During the Spanish Colonial period, this cemetery was used by the Katipuneros as a secret meeting place.

The oldest niche in the cemetery had the date "1886". The interment was in 1982, before the cemetery was declared a National Historical Landmark. Most of those buried in the cemetery were town folk who belonged to elite Catholic families.

The cemetery facing the road that leads to the Poblacion, has an arched entrance of about 18 feet high and two iron-gate grills. Opposite the gate across the width of the grassy and gravely path both side of which is lined with cypress trees. Of about six feet is the cemetery chapel topped with a tower liked structure with a niche for statue and iron cross. The chapel is like a grand niche built into the cemetery so that its facade is aligned with the cemetery walls where the above ground niches numbering 240, 120 on each side are located and its body extends towards the outer lines of the periphery of walls.

The chapel is used as the last station for the funeral rites before entombing the dead. Of Baroque style, it has windows on each side covered with wrought iron grills. The ceiling is wooden revealing singular seraphic and design characteristic of the religious order to which the builder, Father Vicente Velloc, belonged. The altar is intricately carved wood, is of the same style. The flooring is old red tiles with red and blue porcelain tiles that served as a foot high paneling around the inside lower portion of the walls. The chapel is without pews or furniture except a coffin stand. Right under the floor of the chapel is a crypt to which a passage located at, and towards the right side of its door.

The Chapel of the Underground Cemetery The NHI Logbook of Underground Cemetery

The Chapel's Altar with the image of the Santo EntieroChurch signage

To this crypt, two flights of stairs, the first one of nine steps leads to a landing above which was a Spanish inscriptions now illegible, which a prominent member of the Nagcarlan Historical Commitee has previously recorded and translated.

It reads:
Go forth, Mortal Man, full of life Today, you visit happily this shelter
But after you have gone out,
Remember, you have a resting place here
Prepared for you….
-Underground Cemetery Spanish Inscription-
View from the First Nine Steps
Going down the second flight of stairs of six steps leads to the crypt proper or the underground portion of the cemetery. This is lit by there small iron grilled windows that open towards the outside ground at the ground level. These are just below the ceiling of the crypt. Arrange into rows on the four walls are 36 niches where the dead of the town's privilege are buried.

On the main gate is a small board telling the visiting hours, the last hour of which was supposed to be 4pm. But upon asking it closes sometimes up to 530-6pm, due to number of visitors specially when weekends.

The Long Aisle view from the Underground Cemetery Church

Pictures of the Depository Crypts of the Underground Cemetery and around the walls of the cemetery
“HISTORICAL BACKGROUND SUMMARY”

Quick Info:
Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery Nagcarlan, Laguna
Location: Along Nagcarlan-Rizal Road – boundary of Nagcarlan town and Brgy. Bambang Open from 8:00am – 4:00pm (Tuesday-Sunday)
No entrance fee
August of 1973:
Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery was proclaimed a National Historical Site

The Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery Historical Landmark, built by the Franciscan Friar Vicente Velloc in 1845 is a fine example of Spanish colonial architecture....
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