Tuguegarao cemetery’s forsaken arch and fence

Backside of entrance arch with the ugly shed

Built by the Dominicans probably in the 19th century, the cemetery entrance in Tuguegarao City would have been a sight to behold, (not as grand as that in Roxas City though) with its beautiful entrance arch made of bricks, a curving pediment with three finials, two flanking the center. The graceful roundness calls to mind the form of the San Jacinto de Cauili ermita near St. Paul in busy Tuguegarao City. Interpreted another way, it looks like a half submerged skull with the eye sockets the portals. At the sides is the equally beautiful brick perimeter fence.

But all that is a memory.

In its place is a rundown structure that has been neglected and allowed to deteriorate. Not minding its heritage significance, a shabby shed has been built infront and behind the entrance arch that blocks the beautiful two arched entrance. Not only that, graffiti deliberately mar its naked brick surface.

The low perimeter walls are also in bad state. It’s the front and one side that is still intact but many parts have weathered or built over with modern niches. Some parts have already deteriorated badly and crumbled away. Curiously, I haven’t seen any remnants or trace of a cemtery chapel either at the center or at the far end. Either it doesn’t really have one or the original has been cleared out.


  1. A twin arched entrance? Two portals? That’s highly unusual, the first time I’ve heard of it. It’s such a shame this thing went to rot, because a twin arched entrance could be the only one of its kind in the country. Also, the Cagayan Valley style of church architecture has been documented in one scholarly journal as architecturally and asthetically distinct.

  2. Hi!

    Have you also seen the San Jacinto Ermita and the Horno in Tuguegarao?

    You know i have seen old photos of the Tuguegarao Cathedral and the facade back then was completely different . It was white washed and had more brick ornamental insets even on the pillars. The two niches for the statues had decorative scrolls and a pediment and on the first and second entablature were snake like or “s” shaped scrolls. You can still see the silouette if you look closely. I think what they did to the cathedral back in the 80’s? was to remove the protective stucco or plaster (and in the process removed also the decorative brick insets) and now moisture can seep through the facade wall. You can see the damge on the lower part of it. There’s also the flying buttress found on the left wing of the cathedral. It’s a bit damaged now with cement and cinder blocks built on it.

    Thank you and good work!!

  3. Darwin, yup, i have pictures of both. will post the horno sometime soon.

    regarding the cathedral, yes, i have old photos of it and they did some renovations and unfortunately, altered the original look. I still have to see that flying buttress though when i get back after holy week.

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