The cemetery chapel ruins of San Pablo

San Pablo cemetery chapel ruins overrun with vegetation

San Pablo cemetery chapel ruins overrun with vegetation

The municipality of San Pablo in Isabela used to be the capital of Cagayan province. And for this, it has the oldest church in the province, dating to the 17th century and has the tallest bell tower in Cagayan Valley. However, the current church has been in ruins with the nave without a roof. The presbytery has been rehabilitated and a roofing put near the altar where masses continue to be celebrated.

I’m not sure if the original cemetery was just beside the church which was the case prior to the decree of King Charles VI of Spain in 1787. Tumauini used to have it but has now been cleared. While the one in Ilagan, only vestiges of the adjacent camposanto, a low hanging wall and bas relief of skull and crossbones, can still be seen.

From that decree and succeeding decrees, as compliance was not immediate, the camposanto, or parish cemetery was relocated to a place farther from the church. In the case of San Pablo, it was built beside the highway. Overgrown with weeds, only the walls of what once was the cemetery chapel is left standing.

Note: Photo taken in 2006


  1. Hi Estan,

    I never knew San Pablo was once capital of Isabela Province.
    It was never mentioned in Dominican History, but maybe I
    am wrong. The fact it was a magnificent church lying in ruins.

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