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.