Jimenez camposanto: A rare heritage cemetery in Mindanao

Wider view of Jimenez cemetery with main entrance

Wider view of Jimenez cemetery with main entrance

Compared to the Visayas and Luzon, Mindanao has the least number of Catholic religious heritage structures in the Philippines. For example, there are only quite a few stone churches built in the island during the Spanish colonial period. How much more with Spanish colonial era cemeteries?

READ MORE: Visita Iglesia: Spanish era churches in Mindanao

Jimenez in Misamis Occidental is one of the interesting heritage towns in Mindanao. It is known for its old houses and Spanish era church built in the 1880s which is also a declared National Cultural Treasure. But it was only a full year ago when I visited the town to take photos of the old houses was I able to know that it has a Spanish colonial era cemetery. I have traveled extensively in Mindanao but its the first time that I saw a heritage cemetery in this island.

READ MORE: An afternoon around the heritage town of Jimenez

The Jimenez cemetery is just simple. The original lot is bounded by a low wall of mamposteria. The only defining characteristic of this area are two massive pillars that mark the entrance. Today, a roof of galvanized iron sheets has been placed but looking at these pillars, I would say that a wooden gate might have been placed there before, unlike in most entrances wherein there usually is an arch.

There are no markers or bas relief. The low perimeter fence is intact except for a portion at the back that has been breached so that people can pass to the now expanded cemetery area. The middle of the back wall has a huge balete (banyan) tree and, is one of the biggest I’ve seen in the country.

READ MORE: The creepiest tree I’ve ever seen in my life!

Main entrance of the cemetery with these two pillars. An arch is out of the question. Just probably pillars that used to support a gate

Main entrance of the cemetery with these two pillars. An arch is out of the question. Just probably pillars that used to support a gate

Twin pillars at the entrance of the cemetery

Twin pillars at the entrance of the cemetery

Back view of main entrance

Back view of main entrance

Low wall at the front

Low wall at the front

Back view of low wall at the side of main road

Back view of low wall at the side of main road

Breached wall at the back that connects the cemetery expansion

Breached wall at the back that connects the cemetery expansion

Low wall, made of mamposteria at the back

Low wall, made of mamposteria at the back

Low wall at the left side of cemetery

Low wall at the left side of cemetery

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