Oton cemetery chapel circa July 1986

The cemetery chapel as it looked in July 1986. Note the tejas (tiles) for its roofing

A Simbahan reader, Handel Advento sent me an email together with impressive images of the then Oton cemetery chapel prior to its renovation in 21 October 1997. I was awe struck with its beauty and antiquity, a far cry from what we see now. Handel wrote:

Here are the photos of the Oton cemetery chapel taken around July 1986. A simple camera was used for these shots so I hope you understand the low quality. The chapel just caught my interest along the way to somewhere else and we simply stopped to take pictures.

He continues:

The inscription as seen in your photos now was actually on the right side entrance of the chapel (if you’re facing the front), and there was no inscription on the main entrance at that time. It was also very faded and hardly discernable.

The biggest surprise to me was the tile roof. What struck me when I first saw it was its similarity to the chapel housing Magellan’s Cross in Cebu… And there were no block-like marks on the walls. The whole structure really had the mark of antiquity at that time.

Unfortunately, the tile roofing was removed and thrown away and those block like marks etched, like what we find in most ill defined restoration projects we see around the country. From the main photo, we can actually infer that this chapel really had three portals with the two found at its sides. These portals had the same column, finial and skull and cross bones decoration. As Handel pointed out, these portals also had inscriptions. Probably, during the renovation, they closed the two side entrances.

My gratitude to Handel Advento for this important images and information.

Photo credits: Handel Advento/Maximilius Tuason


  1. Thanks Estan for posting! I hope this photos will really be helpful in showing how important it is for us to take care of such structures.

    I really feel bad about the loss of the tile roof. When I saw it, I was really impressed by the fact that it was still intact, and based on what I saw, there didn’t seem to be any structural defect that would warrant its removal. We have very, very few structures left today with the original colonial-era tile roofing. I hope that we can still preserve what is still left.

  2. Pingback: The old cemetery of Oton, Iloilo | Simbahan

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