La Loma Cemetery: The oldest cemetery in Manila

la loma cemetery
La Loma Cemetery | @grupokalinangan via Wikimedia Commons

La Loma Cemetery: The oldest cemetery in Manila

La Loma Cemetery is a National Cultural Treasure for its historical, cultural, and artistic value. A number of historical figures were buried here, while it was one of the few Spanish sites in Manila that survived World War II.

Campo Santo de La Loma is the oldest cemetery in Manila, opened in 1884, and originally known as Cementerio de Binondo. It was an exclusive burial ground for Catholics during the Spanish period. Back then, being laid to rest on the consecrated ground was held high by society. Therefore, Spanish officials threatened Filipinos with the indecency and humiliation of being denied burial here if they were even suspected of rebellion.

In the 54-hectare property bloomed mausoleums, tombs, and structures that display the evolution of architectural designs and styles from the late Spanish era to the present. The centerpiece is the century-old funerary chapel dedicated to St. Pancratius, more commonly known as the Lumang Simbahan. It was used as a fort by Filipino fighters during the Philippine-American War and, along with the rest of the cemetery, survived from the ruins of World War II.

Oldest Cemetery in Manila

Established in 1884, La Loma Cemetery, originally called Cementerio de Binondo, is the oldest operational cemetery in Manila.

It occopies 54 hectares of hilly terrain at the boundary between Caloocan and Manila.

The cemetery was witness to epidemics, as well as the ravages of war, becoming a battlefield in 1899 during the Filipino-American War.

Many famous people are buried at La Loma Cemetery, such as Cayetano Arellano Felipe Agoncillo, Marcela Agoncillo, and Librada Avelino, to name a few.

In 2020, work began on the conservation of the cemetery chapel. The first phase was completed in 2022.


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