Virac’s cemetery walls and entrance arch in 2006 and 2015

Entrance arch with vegetation at pediment, 2006

Entrance arch with vegetation at pediment, 2006

Virac is an interesting town when it comes to religious heritage structures. Other than the massive cathedral that has been heavily renovated, it is in the smaller barangays where there are small heritage churches made from mamposteria that have not been documented much. But more of this stuff at some other time. It is the existing heritage structures at the cemetery that I am focusing.

Way back in 2006, I was on assignment in this province for the book project Philippine Church Facades. It was my first visit to Virac and was just a week after the devastating typhoon Reming (Typhoon Durian). After photographing the church in Bato, I visited this cemetery which is built along the road and far from the Cathedral. I don’t know when this was built as there were no visible dates at the pediment of the arch, although there seems to be a square block at the center which, probably held the inscription but has now faded.

It’s a simple entrance arch of stone. It’s about a meter thick and has a triangular pediment. What sets this apart from other heritage cemeteries in the country are the decorative and rounded columns at the flanks and the way it is constructed gives the impression of semi encased columns. A globular stone crowns the capitals.

The walls is typcial with other cemeteries and is made of mamposteria and a close inspection reveal that other than the rocks, corals have also been included. Vase like finials, most probably added later tops the columns.

This year, 2015, I was able to go back for another book assignment and visited this cemetery again and there have been changes. The front wall has been covered with a cement paletada. Apartment type niches have been built at both sides of the main entrance, even swallowing up the columns at the back as well as built right directly against the wall.

I’m not sure when this cemetery was expanded since in 2006, I wasn’t able to check it out but you can still see a portion of the mamposteria wall now in between graves.

Width of the entrance arch which is about a meter, 2006

Width of the entrance arch which is about a meter. Flanking the middle photo are the two whole columns that, interestingly are semi encased, or as how it is constructed, 2006

Front view of section of cemetery wall, 2006

Front view of section of cemetery wall, 2006

Front wall of cemetery, 2006

Front wall of cemetery, 2006

Detail of mamposteria walls that include coral stones, 2006. Only the left side portion of the wall hasn't been covered with cement paletada.

Detail of mamposteria walls that include coral stones, 2006. Only the left side portion of the wall hasn’t been covered with cement paletada.

The mamposteria walls have been covered with cement paletada while the back has been built with apartment type niches, 2015

The mamposteria walls have been covered with cement paletada while the back has been built with apartment type niches, 2015

Current state of the entrance arch with vegetation overgrowing the pediment, 2015

Current state of the entrance arch with vegetation overgrowing the pediment, 2015

Antique lintel of the entrance arch, 2015

Antique lintel of the entrance arch, 2015

Portion of the wall that used to surround the cemetery, 2015

Portion of the wall that used to surround the cemetery, 2015

Rear of the entrance arch with both sides swallowed by additional apartment type niches, 2015

Rear of the entrance arch with both sides swallowed by additional apartment type niches, 2015

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