City of Manila

Manila South Cemetery (AKA the Manila Cemetery in Makati)

It’s the Halloween-All Saints-All Souls season once more, which means another opportunity for the Urban Roamer to roam those places few people don’t really dare to wander off to except on this occasion. In the past years, the Urban Roamer has walked around a number of cemeteries around the metropolis, which you can check out in our archives. This year, we check out a certain cemetery that lies in a unique geographical situation. Unique in the sense that it lies within the borders of one city but is administered by another city, the Manila South Cemetery.

pardon the faces seen on the cemetery entrance

As the name implies, (not to mention the above photo) the Manila South Cemetery is run by the City of Manila, yet it is located within the borders of Makati. Apparently, this set-up goes as far back as in the 1920s when Manila acquired the Makati property to be the site of its new city cemetery, in addition to the existing one up north near La Loma.

Some may not help make comparisons between the two Manila cemeteries; to be honest, Manila North wins hands down as far as burials and tombstone architecture are concerned. Actually Manila South Cemetery does not have many notable burials, save perhaps for the tomb of Pres. Elpidio Quirino, as well as that of Ramon Bagatsing, the city’s longtime mayor.

Elpidio Quirino’s tomb at the Manila South Cemetery, which is ironic given that it was Quirino who made the proclamation in 1949 to move the capital of the Philippines from Manila to Quezon City. Then again, maybe he was buried there because Quezon City, sadly does not have a prominent public cemetery. (QC has 3 public cemeteries but they are rather small in area) UPDATE (3/2/2016) Last February 29. 2016, Quirino’s remains were reinterred to the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, joining other fomer presidents like Carlos Garcia and Diosdado Macapagal who are buried there.

There is also that “rustic” feel in this cemetery, perhaps due to surprisingly much space that has been developed yet as burial ground, though a bit of landscaping would have helped make it look better somehow.

Speaking of sights, Manila South Cemetery bears a unique distinction as of late for being located right next to a residential high-rise project of SMDC known as the Jazz Residences. I hope those living there are not bothered at all being neighbors to a cemetery as some may consider that as unlucky.

The towering Jazz Residences right behind Manila South Cemetery

Nevertheless, one can still see some interesting mausoleums and tombs in this cemetery, though they may not be as grand as those found in the north.

Manila South Cemetery can be considered as a jewel in the rough with so much open green space that can be developed as a “green” burial development that would help bring some green breathing space to a congested metropolis. I hope the city government taps that potential not only for the benefit of the dead currently and would be buried there but also for the living that they get a natural breathing space they, as well as the metropolis deserves to have.

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