The half buried Camposanto de Bacolor

Front of cemetery chapel

Front of cemetery chapel

Bacolor is one of the oldest and historic towns not only in Pampanga but also in the country. It was established by the Augustinians in 1575, was the capital of Pampanga for two centuries and was the base of the Spanish colonial government during the British invasion of Manila in 1762-1764. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1995 buried the town with the parish church half buried.

Behind the San Guillermo Church is the octagonal Camposanto de Bacolor that has a cemetery chapel at the center. This article mentions that the first recorded burial was in 1771. Interestingly, it seemed that the parish priests assigned here never bothered to follow the royal edict issued during the late 18th century whose implementation have been followed up through succeeding royal notices up until the middle of the 19th century that instructed parishes to have the cemeteries, then located within the church complex, or in what usually happened, constructed just beside the church, in distant areas for sanitary reasons.

Like the church, most of the chapel has been submerged with only the dome spared. After the eruption, a little layer has been cleared to expose just the top of the windows and an octagonal cement cordon, probably to protect it from further inundation, especially floodwater during the rainy season, has been constructed.

I have not seen archival images of how the capilla might have looked or even how high the fence must have been. Or if it has an interesting entrance arch. For now, we only have the dome to look at.

NOTE: Images taken in 2011.

Left, detail of niche, probably from the top of the chapel entrance; right, detail of the roof

Left, detail of niche, probably from the top of the chapel entrance; right, detail of the roof

Detail of section of dome overgrown by vegetation

Detail of section of dome overgrown by vegetation

Back of the chapel

Back of the chapel

Right side of chapel

Right side of chapel

Modern cemetery entrance arch

Modern cemetery entrance arch

How the dome of the camposanto juts out from the 1995 lahar level

How the dome of the camposanto juts out from the 1995 lahar level

The half buried San Guillermo Church infront of the cemetery

The half buried San Guillermo Church infront of the cemetery

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