This is an entry that should have been done a week before. But due to prior commitments and other matters I had to postpone it. But since it is still a month of remembrance of the departed, better late than never in sharing this particular entry.
As a post-All Saints Day entry, the Urban Roamer decided to check out a cemetery as it is a yearly tradition here. This year, we went up deep in Quezon City to visit the vast memorial park known for its patriotic Filipino flair, the Himlayang Pilipino Memorial Park.
The park was the brainchild of Tomas Aguirre, the same man behind Banco Filipino and BF Homes. And of you’re sensing a pattern here, you’re not mistaken. Aguirre is one businessman who was very proud in brandishing the “Filipino” on his ventures.
As such, he was a pioneer in tapping the rich Filipino history and culture in developing a place as beautiful and morbid as a burial complex, the last place one may think to appreciate Filipino history and culture and a venue that is, at least here, a place more identified as usually Western and Catholic.
The park was opened in 1971, originally a 5 hectare property that used to be St. Peter Memorial Park that the Aguirre group acquired. The park was redeveloped into the Himlayang Pilipino that we know today, and was eventually expanded to its current land area of 35+ hectares.
As mentioned earlier, the park serves to honor the history and culture of the Philippines. And this is evident with the sights to see here: a salakot-shaped chapel, sculptures depicting classic Filipino stories and murals depicting Filipino personages and events, including the entrance reminiscent of the walls of Intramuros.
One of the sculptures found there is a sculpture done by Florante Caedo, son of famed Filipino sculptor Anastacio Caedo, which portrays Emilio Jacinto, one of the leading of the leading figures of the Philippine Revolution, leading his men into battle on a horseback. IMO one of the best sculptures of this type that I have seen.
Another landmark in the memorial park is the two-sided mural sculpture also done by Caedo honoring Melchora Aquino or Tandang Sora, the grand old lady of the Philippine Revolution who helped treat wounded revolutionaries during the Philippine Revolution. Incidentally, the land where Himlayang Pilipino now stands used to be a forested area in the backyard of Melchora Aquino’s house in what is now Banlat. Thus it was appropriate that in 1970, her remains were transferred from her original resting place in Manila North Cemetery to here where it remained until 2012 when it was transferred to Tandang Sora Shrine in Banlat where her home used to be located.
Even if you have no loved one buried in these grounds, Himlayang Pilipino is a nice place to visit for the wide open spaces and rolling terrain, not to mention the generally serene atmosphere. (except on All Saints/All Souls Day of course) More importantly, it is a place where you can get to appreciate our history and culture, offbeat as its location may be.
Himlayang Pilipino is located in Barangay Pasong Tamo in Quezon City, a few kilometers off from Tandang Sora Avenue. For more information, you can check out their website at himlayangpilipino.com.ph.