As has been the “tradition” for the past 8 years or so, it is that time of year once more for the Urban Roamer to visit one of those places in the metropolis dedicated to the “dearly departed.”
This year’s trip found this Roamer on the metropolis’ eastern end to visit perhaps the most prominent burial place in this part of the metropolis, the Loyola Memorial Park Marikina.
Inaugurated in 1965, the Loyola Memorial Park became known as one of the pioneers in introducing the concept of a “memorial park”, along with it the Western and contemporary practice of lawn burials. It can be said that it was the turn to have such a facility after the south had theirs the year before with Manila Memorial Park.
Behind the idea and the development of Loyola Memorial Park was a man by the name of Gil J. Puyat. Yes, the same guy after whom the Makati road known before as Buendia was named after. Gil Puyat can be described as the era’s equivalent of Manny Villar, in the sense that he has an established presence in both business and politics. At the time, Puyat was already serving as and would become Senate President in 1967. Unlike Villar though, Puyat’s family were already well-known in business with his father Gonzalo being involved already in various businesses like trading of bowling and billiard equipment and steel roof manufacturing. The opening of Loyola Memorial Park Marikina marked a new direction for Gil Puyat the businessman as he would go on in establishing another memorial park in Sucat, a preneed company, and a chain of memorial chapels…all bearing the Loyola name.
Covering an area of 36,000 square meters, Loyola Memorial Park Marikina is one of the largest cemeteries in the metropolis, located right in the of Marikina’s Barangay Tañong. Considering its proximity to Loyola Heights in Quezon City, this may explain why the memorial park was named as such. In fact, there is even a statue of the Catholic saint Ignatius of Loyola located within the memorial park and bearing the same pose as the one found at the Ateneo de Manila Loyola Heights campus.
Being a prominent cemetery, there are a number of prominent personalities buried here. The Puyats have a mausoleum here. Another senator, the renowned Miriam Defensor-Santiago is also buried here, though sadly the Urban Roamer was not able to find it that time, as well as her Senate peer Ernesto Maceda, Camilo Osias, Araneta patriarch J. Amado Araneta, Philippine Star founder Betty Go-Belmonte, University of the East founder Francisco Dalupan Sr., and University of the Philippines President Vidal A. Tan.
But it is being the cemetery where many who belong to the entertainment industry have been buried that has made Loyola Memorial Park Marikina such a popular landmark even for a cemetery. The tombs of actor/host German Moreno, siblings Rogelio and Jaime de la Rosa, Nida Blanca, Jay Ilagan, Mina Aragon, Julie Vega, Francis Magalona, and entertainment writer Oskee Salazar can be found here, some being visited regularly by their devoted fanbases during their respective death anniversaries.
As resting places go, Loyola Memorial Park Marikina has become an important landmark that has shaped the landscape of this part of the metropolis. While things in this material earth are not as eternal as that in the afterlife, there is no doubt it will continue to shape the development of the metropolis in the foreseeable future.