capilla Found at the southernmost town of Iloilo is San Joaquin cemetery. Its a spectacular sight as these Ilonggo teens have proven when they scaled its steep stone steps to the capilla–the cemetery’s crowning glory.

San Joaquin cemetery is the last cemetery to be completed before the revolution erupted in the late 1890s. Fray Mariano Vamba, the last Augustinian parish priest of the town, initiated the project but real credit, of course, goes to the people of San Joaquin who worked on this camposanto.

Check out the ironwork above the entrance to see if you can still decipher the numbers. That’s the inauguration date, my friend.

You will see all over the capilla made of coral stone and brick (do go around it) rich stone carvings of flowers and leaves. At the entrance are more engaging designs. There’s a skull-and-crossbones (nope! that is not a symbol for death, nor pirates, nor poison) carving guarded on either side by cute little angels without bodies (cherubs). Move back from the entrance (be sure to check for approaching bullet San Joaquin jeepneys!), look up and examine the design at the pediment (that triangular space above the entrance). Its a man’s head in profile alongside a growing plant. A half circle encloses these figures and sun rays radiate from it. Guess what that means.