Hitting two birds with one stone: two things I love doing the most. I got to travel…and volunteer!
This picture was taken during a volunteer trip (#Project Jomalig: Feed the Kids, Change the World c/o JourneyingJames) that I did with a few travelers in Jomalig Island. To get to this place, we rode a 3-hours van ride + 6-7 hours of boat ride in *drumroll* Pacific Ocean.
You see, Jomalig is so far and hard to reach that only a few knows this place exists…. so far that Jomalig is considered “the most nutritionally depressed municipality in the country”.
It’s always nice to see people smiling despite all the hardships life throws in. It’s inspiring.
The first time I’ve been inside a cemetery was when I was in college. I used to be scared whenever our car passes a cemetery hey, I was a kid then. Kids are afraid of ghosts okay! I’m scared with the cemetery itself but can’t help not to look at the tombs and mausoleums. Lately, I’m becoming more and more fascinated with ’em – don’t ask me why, idk either.
– a side trip-
Twin Bunga Falls
Before going inside the Cemetery, we decided to drop by to a nearby falls to pass up time since we’re still waiting for some friends who were still shopping in Liliw. It was around 2PM and the sun was scorching hot. Heat stroke? No thanks.
Entrance is 5 pesos/head. Upon entering, we were warned to be extra careful in swimming since there’s a very deep part in the middle. We stayed in one of the stilts built around the area to pass time until we decided that the sun won’t barbecue us anymore.
“The Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery in Laguna is the only one of its kind in the Philippines – it is a burial site located inside, or more accurately, beneath a church. This church is rich in history – it was built and designed for funeral mass in 1845 by the Franciscan priest Fr. Vicente Velloc. He also directed the construction of an underground graveyard 15 feet below the church. ”
The chapel served as the last station of the funeral rites before entombment.
Those planks of wood above are original pieces of the chapel’s ceiling.
Some people with third eye (my godfather, for one) who have been there claims that there’s a “bantay” or a guard standing in that post.
[UPDATE]: When my grandmother learnt that we went to this Underground Cemetery, she scolded us not to go again. Apparently, she is aware that there’s a “bantay” too. According to her, the bantay sometimes go with you.. and when he touches you, expect sickness or something weird to happen. — Thinking about it, the bantay might be the one responsible for our friend feeling really weird and sick right after. Nabati in short. Who knows.
It was a really hot and humid kind of day but once you set foot inside the underground cemetery, the temperature changes. It’s quite cool down under, a heebie-jeebies moment. And no, not because of the “bantay”…. I hope.
Throughout the Revolution of 1896 and the Filipino-American War, our revolutionary leaders used the crypt as a secret gathering place. It also served as the guerrillas’ safe-house during the World War II.
We chanced upon an old lady (I’m positive she’s a real person) who happened to be the caretaker of the famed underground cemetery. I asked her about the “trivia” that says that the underground cemetery is connected to the church by an underground tunnel and one of the tombs serving as the secret door. She just laughed and brushed off the thought as such stories are just hearsay and that there’s no evidence and explorations done supporting the “trivia”.
Being only one of its kind in the Philippines, you should definitely not miss this. If you’re on your way to Liliw, Majayjay, San Pablo or Pagsanjan , try dropping by the Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan. You’ll pass it anyway. ; )
The Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery Historical Landmark open for public viewing from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday.