The camposanto of Cabatuan is one of the country’s well maintained and artistic cemeteries, one of a few extant structures that have survived in Iloilo province. It is located along the highway, just a few kilometers before the massive and equally beautiful brick church in this municipality.
I’m not sure when this was exactly built as there are no markers found unlike in the cemeteries of Pototan, San Joaquin and Janiuay, all in the same province. However, Marie Joy Rosal-Sumagaysay, in her paper (under References) wrote that these are typically 19th century. She also said that Paco, Manila’s circular cemetery, completed in 1822 was the capital’s first extramural cemetery and may have inspired the building of these type of structures in other provinces.
The cemetery consists of three notable structures. Marking the boundary is a fence with three arched entrances. The middle entrance leads directly to the octagonal capilla or chapel. At the back end, is a wall with niches. All these are still original and in use.
These structures are all made from limestone quarried from the hills of Iloilo. However, due to the nature of the material and the ravages of time, it has become discolored and at first, I thought that it was of volcanic material. The surface is also overgrown with moss and other vegetation. I hope that the local chapter of the Historical Conservation Society represented by Gian Alvarez and Bernie Arellano, who I’m very much grateful for assisting me during my visit, will see to it that such growth, especially the weeds and small trees will be on check before it will further weaken the stones.
Structural details will be tackle in upcoming posts.