Maasin Catholic Cemetery of 1882

Maasin City is the capital of Southern Leyte is one of the oldest towns in the province and is the seat of the Diocese of Maasin. The Jesuits founded the town in the 1700s. After their expulsion, the Augustinians took over. In 1843, the Franciscans started evangelization. Located 1.5 kilometers east of the cathedral, a Spanish colonial era structure, the Maasin Catholic Cemetery is perhaps one of a few in the province that is more or less with its original structures intact.

The old cemetery

The cemetery was probably constructed in 1882, based on the inscription found at the pediment of the entrance arch. The inscription was written in old Cebuano. I have given its current form or equivalent and an English translation follows:

OHTAUO NGAGATANAO CANACO! CA
GAHAPONSAMA PA ACO CANIMO UG
MA MUSAMANAUSABICAOCANACO!!!
MDCCCLXXXII

In Cebuano:

O tawo, nga gatanaw kanako! Kagahapon sama pa ako kanimo. Ugma musama na usab ikaw kanako!!!

Which translates to:

O man who is looking at me. Yesterday I was like you. Tomorrow, you will be like me!!!

I’m not sure, however, if this cemetery was built with a chapel as what can be found now is modern and I haven’t seen any traces that might indicate there was an old one. But one unique thing about the Maasin catholic cemetery is the presence of two twin pillars at the center. Today, these two have been transformed as a dagkutan, area where catholics light a candle, thus, blackening the surface, especially of the left pillar. I haven’t seen archival images of this cemetery so I can’t say what used to stand at the top compared to the cross and angel statue present now. Only the right pillar’s inscriptions are clear. However, the text, is undecipherable. These two might have been added in 1885 as the year was inscribed.

There’s not much can be seen inside this cemetery.

Maasin Catholic Cemetery
Entrance arch of the Maasin catholic cemetery
Maasin Catholic Cemetery
Inside the cemetery with its twin pillar with almost similar inscriptions.
Still existing perimeter walls
Maasin Catholic Cemetery
Inscription at the pediment of the entrance arch in Cebuano
Skull and bones bas relief at the right pillar
The 1885 inscription at the right pillar
Unreadable inscription at the right pillar
Hard to decipher inscription at the right pillar
Back portion of the entrance arch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *