Paco Park was originally planned as a municipal cemetery for the well-off and established aristocratic Spanish families who resided in the old Manila, or the city within the walls of Intramuros during the Spanish colonial era. Most of the wealthy families interred the remains of their loved ones inside the municipal cemetery in what was once the district of Dilao (former name for Paco). The cemetery was built in the late 18th century but was completed several decades later and in 1822, the cemetery was used to inter victims of a cholera epidemic that swept across the city. The cemetery is circular in shape, with an inner circular fort that was the original cemetery and with the niches that were placed or located within the hollow walls. As the population continued to grow, a second outer wall was built with the thick adobe walls were hollowed as niches and the top of the walls were made into pathways for promenades. A Roman Catholic chapel was built inside the walls of the Paco Park and it was dedicated to St. Pancratius. On December 30, 1898, Philippine national hero Dr. José P. Rizal was interred at Paco Park after his execution at Bagumbayan. Interment at the Paco Park ceased in 1912. It had been the burial ground for several generations and descendants of those who were buried in the park had the remains of their ancestors transferred. During the Second World War, Japanese forces used Paco Park as a central supply and ammunition depot. The high thick adobe walls around the park were ideal for defensive positions of the Japanese. The Japanese just before the liberation of Manila in 1945, dug several trenches and pill boxes around and within the Park with three 75 millimetre guns to defend their fortification against the charging 148th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Battalion of the United States Army and Philippine Commonwealth Army. The park was converted into a national park in 1966 during the term of President Diosdado Macapagal. Paco Park’s...
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