Is the prayer room in Oslob church formerly a mortuary chapel?

Chapel structure
The chapel located a few meters infront of the Oslob church.

Detail of relief atop the chapel
Detail of relief atop the chapel
On 26 March 08, an 8 hour fire gutted the more than a century old kumbento (parish house) and church of Oslob in Cebu. What was left were the thick stone walls and belfry as well as an icon of the parish patron. This is my tribute to this beautiful and historic church with photos taken in 2005, 2006 and 2008. This is the 12th installment of a series.

Facing directly infront of the Oslob church is an old chapel that is used as a prayer room. Its facade is simple. No elaborate decorations or inscriptions. It only has three pairs of decorative columns topped by tuscan capitals. on each side of the pediment are two pedestal-like finials that might have held a vase or urn before. At the center is a relief image. Made from cut coral stones, it is a testament to its age. The current structure is modern except for the facade which is still original.

There is one curious detail that might indicate its original use before: left, atop it’s pediment is a carved relief of a skeleton holding a staff on its right hand while the left is holding some kind of a goblet. Underneath it is a rectangular depression that might have held some wooden board with an inscription.

Was this chapel originally a mortuary chapel? Does this predate the current cemetery fenced by Fray Mauricio Alvarez in the latter half of the nineteenth century? If so, does it mean that the original cemetery was found at the front of the church? Of the two sources that I have, nothing has been mentioned about this one.

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6 Comments

  1. Yes, Im certain it was once a mortuary chapel bai. Oslob church is old and definitely when it was built, there also was a cemetery nearby.

  2. Was able to ask sir Ricky Jose about this.

    He said that yes it’s a mortuary chapel but doesn’t necessarily signify that there once was a cemetery in its environs. So the old cemetery is really the one at the northern portion of the complex. This structure is perhaps for wakes?

    Interesting also bai, I asked Dale about this, because there’s a stone marker at the street going to the cemetery that says “Calle Camposanto” but the street now is called “Calle Eternidad.”

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  3. Pingback: Old cemetery and mortuary chapels in Cebu | Simbahan

  4. My my heritage is in Oslob and my lolo was once OIC mayor. Accdg to my dad the current gym which is to your left if you face the church is the old cementary.

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