(Cabatuan cemetery capilla, 1995. Photo by JRSumagaysay)

The cemetery of Cabatuan can boast of its nearly perfect square lay-out with a vast area of 28, 930 sq.m. The newspaper El Eco de Panay covered its grand inauguration on February 4, 1894. It described Cabatuan cemetery as Roman in style with robust pilasters topped by pear-shaped ornaments and iron grills as enclosure. At the center majestically stands the capilla with three entrance archways and eight urns on the cornice. A dome (media naranja) crowned this capilla.

113 years after, Cabatuan cemetery has managed to preserve its expansive vista. The three entrances and perimeter walls with their iron gates and grills are generally intact and the view of the capilla from the national road remains unobstructed. However, the original dome of this capilla has long been replaced by a flat concrete roof.

Point of interest would be the stone carvings of the marty’rs palm and skull-and-crossbones at the capilla’s walls. Aside from this, Cabatuan cemetery has at its main entrance gate, a stone tablet inscribed with a traditional Catholic hymn for the dead: Hatagi siya O Guinoo sang capahuayan nga dayon (Eternal rest grant unto him/her, O Lord). Interestingly, we continue to sing this prayer during funerals and All Saint’s Day.