The old cemetery of Daraga

A 20th century wood and cement chapel at the central part of the cemetery

A 20th century wood and cement chapel at the central part of the cemetery

The province of Albay in Bicol has its own share of interesting old cemetery architecture with the cemetery chapel in Tabaco City, one of the most beautiful in the country. Closer to Legazpi City, the town of Daraga has its share. It’s located around 400 meters from the hill where the old parish church is strategically built and is accessed at the Binitayan Road to Legazpi, bypassing the town center.

The cemetery is quadrilateral in form that still has it’s old, low lying wall, a beautiful entrance gate and a cemetery chapel, now painted pink and probably built in the 50’s or 60’s. I didn’t go around the space and can’t say if there are interesting niches and mausoleums.

It’s interesting to note that the wall is made of mamposteria, rocks piled on top of one another while the columns are made of cut volcanic rocks. This is just a conjecture but the walls might be the oldest part of the cemetery with the cut stones as columns in the gate, the iron fence and the supporting buttress like columns of the walls added later when technology and affluence might have engendered the townsfolk or parish priest to upgrade.

While the wrought iron gate is interesting in itself, the stylized grills still with metal fasteners, it’s the center that is of note. It has a three-dimensional, obliqued and life like rendition of a skull now rendered with gapped dentures, both front and back and fastened with metal bolts. This says so much about the technology of the times, and quite unlike the simple bas relief of cross and bones found engraved on stone.

I don’t know if the cemetery used to have a chapel. The present one, located at the center is newer, made of cement with a wooden ceiling and different type of architecture. I surmise it was built in the middle of the 20th century or later. The metal grill was welded, instead of using metal fasteners. The window’s cement grills also is reminiscent of a style from that period.

Wooden ceiling and columns of chapel

Wooden ceiling and columns of chapel

Wooden ceiling of the chapel

Wooden ceiling of the chapel

Back portion of the cemetery chapel

Back portion of the cemetery chapel

The cemetery entrance with its iron fence

The cemetery entrance with its iron fence

Detail of gate pediment with a skull cast. Front and back of the section is the same.

Detail of gate pediment with a skull cast. Front and back of the section is the same.

Details of iron fence grill and column

Details of iron fence grill and column

The cemetery walls of mamposteria

The cemetery walls of mamposteria

Low lying cemetery walls made of masonry and maposteria

Low lying cemetery walls made of masonry and maposteria

Corner wall of cemetery

Corner wall of cemetery

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