Last Few Townhouse Units at 80 Cristobal Street , Otis, Paco

For those looking for townhouses at the heart of downtown Manila. There is a new community that is located at #80 Cristobal Street, near Otis (Paz Guanzon street) , Paco , Manila.

Cristobal-Brochure-12-10-18-1

Features and Vicinity

The 21 Units Concrete buildings had 2 to 4 garage area. It had 3 storey. There are only few remaining units and this is near popular supermarket chain, church, malls, Philippine Columbian Association, Paco Park and cemetery, United Nations street , Luneta and Pandacan.

There is also a swimming pool area with manicured pocket garden and children’s playground.

Unite O -features an inner pool view area with lot area of 114 square meters, floor area of 303.20 square meters.

Interiors

Compound type townhouse with grade 60 rebars, full elegant lights, individual septic tanks, main solid steel high fence gate, swimming pool and solar.

Safety and Security Features

The townhouses had a good feng shui. It also had security guard house with CR and CCTV cameras. The compound is also well-lighted and barangay hall is located just few meters away.

Contact

For those interested to visit, Please contact:  Ms. Nikki Parulan – Marketing Representative 
email : wparulan@gmail.com / 0926-064-2982

 

 

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Visit to the San Fernando de Dilao Church in Paco

A visit to Paco district in Manila is incomplete without a short visit to the famed San Fernando de Dilao Church or popularly known as Paco Church. The church also served as a pro-Cathedral of Manila from February 7, 2012 to April 9, 2014, when  Manila Cathedral had undergone retrofitting and some restoration works. This was the second church that was designated as pro-Cathedral after San Miguel of Archangel Church in San Miguel , Manila .

Paco Church during the Filipino-American war destroyed around 1899 ( photo courtesy : Mr. Dennis Maturan )

I have visited this church several times whenever i visit some of our distant relatives , cousin or friend within the vicinity.

Paco Church around late 1930’s during American commonwealth ( photo courtesy : Mr. Dennis Raymond Maturan) notice that there were no clock

Paco is one of the old districts of Manila. I would recall that we would also pass the old neo-classical Paco railway station, Paza Dilao , Philippine -Columbian Association and the Paco market.

San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church post war period around 1960’s with its clock ( Photo courtesy : Mr. Dennis Raymond Maturan )

” Dilao ” or ” Dilaw” is a Tagalog word for yellow , in reference for turmeric or Curcuma longa which used to be found or planted within the area. Paco is also the site of the Japanese settlement in the country when about 3,000 to 3,500 Japanese resided in the district. The settlement also one of the oldest known recorded Japanese town in the world.

entrance to the church

The highest known Daimyo ( Feudal Lord)  was Dom Justo Takayama (born Hikogorō Shigetomo) (1552 – 3 or 5 February 1615) was buried within the district.

Most of the original Japanese immigrants have gradually assimilated into the local population, a lot of them have intermarried local people. Some have changed their surname while some have settled in nearby provinces by the mid-17th and early 18th century.

The church inside is notable for its Romanesque-Byzantine interior with recently  renovated Italian Baroque styled Altar, most notably the Latin inscriptions.

Historial marker installed in 1936

Historical marker installed in 1999 which marked the 400th anniversary of the parish 

dome of the church with latin inscriptions

side altar –right

sacred heart of mary and jesus statue -left side

Saint  Ferdinand III

King Ferdinand III – born around 1198/ 1199/1201 – 30 May 1252.  Ferdinand was canonized in 1671 by Pope Clement X  and, in Spanish, he is known as Fernando el Santo, San Fernando or San Fernando Rey.

Santo Entierro 

Santo Entierro is a life sized sculpture of dead Christ . Parishioner would call the dead Christ as Nuestro Señor Padre de Santo Sepulcro also known as Señor de Paco. The dead Christ was encased in an elaborate carved wooden casket with glass and glass lantern.

The devotion started in the late 19th century. The dead Christ is normally paraded during Good Friday celebration with the district.

When we visited the church , the main altar is fully decorated with white orchids and flowers. There seems to be a wedding ceremony.

 

Address : 1521 Paz St. , Paco, Manila City

 

How to Commute: 

There are many ways on how to visit San Fernando de Dilao church , Fastest way is to ride LRT line 1 and hop off from Pedro Gil station ( formerly known as Herran Street ) there are jeepneys with Paco , Santa Ana signage and just drop-off at the Paco market or Paco Catholic School.

Paco PNR station – a short walk or one ride ( jeep) from the station will lead to the church

 

 

 

 

 

Recuerdos de Patay : Memories of the Dead Captured on Photos

Jose Honorato Lozano – Entierro de un Parvulo; Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid, Spain; 19th century

Source: http://www.bne.es/es/Micrositios/Exposiciones/Rizal/Exposicion/Seccion4/Obra21.html?origen=galeria

 There is a feeling of eerie while looking over old photos of dead relatives and dead people. When there is grief and sadness over one dead relatives or love ones.

Before the advent of photography , Rich families would commission local painter to have their recently deceased relatives ( mostly infants, children before the age of reason around 7 years -old or younger ) painted all dressed -up with fineness and carrying important things like cross , flowers, toys or their favorite items. The dead were given lavish procession before they were buried in local cemeteries or churches.

Dead Child by Simon Flores- medium oil on canvas 1902- National Art Gallery 

One of the most famous local painter is Mr. Simon Flores y dela Rosa – He lived from 28 October 1839 – 12 March 1904 in San Fernando de Dilao ( Paco district ) in Manila.

He was one of the most celebrated Filipino painters in the last quarter of the 19th century.  , but went to live in Bacolor, Pampanga during the most prolific years of his career. He was influenced by his two uncles who were painters: Fabian Gonzales, who decorated the ceilings of Malacañang Palace and Pio de la Rosa, who was Flores’ first painting teacher.

National Museum : http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/

Major General Henry Lawton funeral cortege procession near the Paco cemetery

Major General Henry Lawton was killed on December 19, 1899, in the Battle of San Mateo and temporarily interred at Paco Park before he was transferred to his final resting place in the United States. He was the highest ranking US military officer to be killed in the Philippine-American War (1899-1902).

Memorial services given much attention with such pomp and pageantry for the privilege rich and middle class that some westerners who visited the islands in the 18th , 19th and early 20th century had recorded these burial practices in the annals of their journals and publication.

But the tradition is not exclusive to rich and middle class families. There were also people who practice these even in the lower classes to a lesser extent.

This is an undated photo ( probably mid-1948 ) of my maternal grandfather in Fujian province , China . They visited a traditional turtle shaped graveyard .

 Photography

With the invention of new medium ( Photography) it quickly spread across the world in the mid -19th century .

In the Philippines , There were some photography studios that opened its doors in the late 19th century in downtown Manila.  . Aside from baptisms, weddings, first communion , and portrait photos. There is also another form of bizarre art or keeping memento of someone’s recently deceased relatives or love ones.

an old family photo within Chinese cemetery in Manila – This might have been taken around 1957

old family photo taken around 1957- All Saints Day

Recuerdo de Patay ( literally called memories of the dead . It is also known as memorial portraiture,  memento mori, post-mortem photography, cadaver photo , dead people photos , mourning portraits, grieving family photography, fotografia de los muertos , cemetery photography) . It is the most visible reminder on how dearly loved these people and their relatives until their death .

funeral wake with paper house, lantern, mercedes benz , airplane , mahjong table and litter complete with people – These items are burn the moment after internment – to accompany the dead to their after life.

Several decades ago, Our Filipino-Chinese neighbor told us that some Chinese still follow  age -old custom of dressing-up their dead relatives into several layers of dress. Aside from a vest that is worn with some prayers . They even had to get the exact time of their death and even hire feng shui experts on what compatible colors the decease person shall wear. This can influence the fate of the next generation if improperly conducted. This is just a few of the so-called beliefs that is still being practice by the community.

These photographs served as keepsakes to remember the deceased. This was especially common with infants and young children; early childhood mortality rates were extremely high during pre-war days .

wealthy native funeral circa 1917 – Three elegant priests in stylist silk robes join the family beside an expensive , flower -draped coffin surrounded by glass funerary lamps

But some historians would say otherwise, The reason “why” there are a lot of infants and children photos commissioned during the pre-Vatican 2 days is that people believed that dressing the children would send them straight to heaven and they are pure without sins and are absolute from punishment.

The later invention of the carte de visite  or view postcard which allowed multiple prints to be made from a single negative, meant that copies of the image could be mailed to relatives.

This is also quite popular in some parts of Europe, United States , Caribbean , Latin-American countries and even in the Philippines.

Although it seems to be a taboo to take photos of dead people ( except relatives). This is out of respect and courtesy at the present time. It seems to be the norm several decades or centuries ago.

dead relative from maternal grandmother side (possibly her sister or cousin )circa early 1940’s

 When i was cleaning and arranging photo albums several weeks ago, I was amaze with an old lady possibly in her late 50’s or 60’s dress in a period traje de mestiza traditional black- color with black veil and white cloth tied around her chin . There is a rosary in between her arms. There is also a black crucifix beside her and 2 white candles lighted on top.

She was laid on a bed with white cloth as bedding. She probably died on natural causes at home.  I tried to ask some members of my family on a more accurate details.  All they  can remember is that she can be a distant relative of my grandmother who died in the province.

Now , people can record funeral services of their decease relatives or love ones using a lot of modern equipment.

Bibliography and References:

  • Best , Jonathan – A Philippine Album: American Era Photographs 1900 -1930,  Bookmark , Inc. copyright 1998 page 117
  • Hau , Caroline S. (2015)  Recuerdos de Patay and Other Stories : UP Press
  • Ocampo, Ambeth R. (2008) “Recuerdos De Patay”. Rizal Without The Overcoat. Pasig City, Metro Manila: Anvil Publishing, Inc.
  • Wilcox, Marrion, Harper’s History of the War, Harper, New York and London, 1900. [Sometimes called Harper’s History of the War in the Philippines]

De La Salle University – Inaguration of Mr. Henry Sy Sr. Hall

DLSU campus Taft Avenue, Manila

The author had the privilege of witnessing the closing ceremony of DLSU centennial celebration last June 15, 2012  Friday .  The event was highlighted with the inauguration of a new building that was name after Mr. Henry Sr. Sy .

De La Salle brothers together with Brother Armin Luistro , DEPED secretary(second from left ) Dr. Paulino Tan – ( third from the left – Chairman board of trustees SM foundation ) Brother Narciso Erguiza Jr.  DLSU chancellor and president ( six from the left ) Ms. Elizabeth Sy – 8th from left ( President of SM hotel )Mrs. Teresita Sy-Coson 9th from left ( Vice -Chairperson SM Investments Corporation , Mrs. Felicidad -Sy (  4th from right – wife of  Mr. Henry Sr. Sy)  , His Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto – 3rd from right ( Papal Nuncio ) , Mr. Han T. Sy  – second from right ( President of SM prime Holdings ),He is a mechanical engineering graduate of De La Salle University and Mr. Herbert Sy -director ( SM Food Retail Group )

This building is the first major building under the Centennial renewal plan, along term development master plan to rationalize the whole campus set-up and responds to the need for more space for research, development and learning.

Designed by the country’s leading architectural firm Leandro V. Locsin Partners.

Website: http://locsinarchitecture.com/

Architects designed the Mr. Henry Sr. Sy hall. The building is comparable to a “ Habitable tree”, a concept that seeks to capture the university continuous role in the Philippine education.

Facade of  Mr. Henry Sy Sr. Hall within the Da La Salle campus inaugurated last June 15, 2012 with thousand of alumni, students, vips, media , family members of Mr. Henry Sy Sr.  , De La Salle brothers attending the opening .

It’s institution’s stand on environmental responsibility, sustainability and continuity can be seen thru its GREEN spaces and environmental projects

Barringtonia asiatica (Linn.) Kurz. locally called Botong , Boton ( Tagalog), Banilad , Bitoon ( Bisayan/ Cebuano )

Botong  is a tree growing to a height of 8 to 15 meters. Leaves are large, obovate or obovate-oblong, 20 to 40 centimeters long, entire, thick, shining, stalkless, blunt-tipped, and pointed at the base. Flowers are very large and white, borne in short, erect, few-flavored racemes.

The DLSU Botong tree is the counterpart of  UP centennial tree, Metro Manila College – Tandang Sora or Katipunan Tree , FEU – Heritage Tree. This particular tree is said to have been planted within the campus  during the 1920’s by the founders of the university . This had been recently marked with appropriate marker .

Vanda Penang- Manila one of the dozens of orchid species and hybrids that are planted within the DLSU campus garden

Its present campus is the equivalent of a mini-oasis in this part of Taft Avenue where high rise condominium units, pollution and lack of green space in the surrounding areas.     There are also several pocket gardens that can be found within  the campus.

 Vertical landscape which consists of Asplenium nidus , microsorium  ferns planted on a wall .

The campus showcases a lot of pocket gardens with lovely flowering plants, orchids, ferns , indoor plants  and old native and introduced trees.

Commemorative marker marks the massacre of innocent lives during the closing days of the second world war

The school had also witness a lot of turbulent moments in our country’s history such as the atrocities of the last world war which not only left the university’s building and archives in chaos but the lost of innocent lives during the last days of the battle of Manila.

Repeated bombings of the area resulted in the total destruction of the gymnasium and the loss of library holdings and laboratory equipment. On February 12, 1945, a band of Japanese soldiers massacred 16 brothers and several families who had taken refuge with them in the college chapel.

DLSU Saint  La Salle Hall  shorty after the liberation  in 1945  ( Photo courtesy : DLSU archives and Mr. John Tewell.

Most of the earlier buildings were designed under the classical Greek revival of  Neo- Classical style, It is similar with the other famous buildings of pre-war Manila which includes the National Museum for Filipino People (formerly known as Finance Building) National Art Gallery Museum (Legislative or Old Congress Building), Manila Central Post Office and countless of major government buildings built during that era.

 75th anniversary commemorative stamp of De La Salle University with the neo-classical building on the background and Saint Benile on the foreground  issued in 1986 scanned from personal collection of the author . It was issued by the Philpost in June 16, 1986 , Lithography by : APO- Neda with perforation 13x 13 1/4  Wmk 3 ,   php 3.00 stamp was printed on 500,000 quantity issue .

The La Sallian education in the country was said to date back in the year 1905 when Archbishop Jeremiah James Harty – an alumnus of a La Salle School in the United States petitioned the Superior General of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools .

a 6 centavo De La Salle College commemorative stamp issue which marked the 50th anniversary of the college. photo by Courvoisier printed in Switzerland . 3,000,000 pieces were issued in June 16, 1961 .

– FSC for the establishment of a De La Salle school in the Philippines due to the very small number of Catholic institutions at that time.

Archbishop Jeremiah Harty

Archbishop Harty’s request was rejected at first due to lack of funds,  He would  continue to appeal to  Pope Puis X for the establishment of additional Catholic schools in the country.

De La Salle University 75th anniversary commemorative souvenir sheet – Php 7.20 face value with 20,000 pieces quantity issue

From March up to June 1911, nine De La Salle Christian Brothers from Europe and the United States led by Brother Blimond FSC of France arrived in the Philippines. Together On June 16, 1911, the Brothers established the first Christian Brother school in the Philippines, De La Salle College, on Calle Nozaleda (now General Luna St.)  in Paco, Manila.

With an ever-growing student population, the brothers decided to relocate at the present location on Taft Avenue in the district of Malate in 1921.

Green and White buntings -add to the festive atmosphere inside the campus

Campus Celebration:

There was a mass officiated by his Excellency, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, as the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines  installed last May 10, 2011.

DLSU chapel

Archbishop Pinto is the 15th Papal Representative and the 10th Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines. He entered the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See on May 1, 1984, and has served successively in Papua New Guinea, Argentina, and the Vatican City State Secretariat.

GMA Kapuso channel 7 executive Mr. Mike Enriquez , Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, Dr. Lydia B. Echauz – President of Far Eastern University ( Picture courtesy of Andrew Pamorada)

He also served as Apostolic Nuncio to Cape Verde, Senegal, Mali, and Guinea-Bissau, and was Apostolic Delegate to Mauritania.Born on May 26, 1952, in Bari, Italy, Archbishop Pinto was ordained a priest on April 1, 1978. He holds a doctorate in Canon Law and is fluent in Italian, French, English, and Spanish.

 Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim – a special guest  together with Mr. Stephen Pamorada a DLSU student pose for a souvenir shot in front of the chapel

After several minutes at the chapel, I was warmly greeted by Ms. Marge Liggayu ( office of strategic communication )  and  Mr. Stephen Pamorada( HCS member and DLSU student ) , He acted as my impromptu tour guide  around the DLSU campus . He thought that it was my first time to come to a campus event. I told everyone that  i used to come as a seminar participant in our graduate school program  and probably three or four more occasions .

A proud DLSU student with matching green t-shirt and green archer cap

Mr. Henry Sy Sr. Hall one of the newest landmark inside the DLSU campus

The building, which has yet to be opened, is 14- story high and will house research facilities and study areas. SM Investments Corporation donated  P300 million for its construction.

SM Prime Holdings:http://www.smprime.com/s mprime/index.php?p=587&type=2&sec=49&aid=12506

I also saw Far Eastern University president Dr. Lydia B. Echauz during the building inauguration and mass.

School Bazaar

There are about 50 to 60 bazaar style market , selling different items from handmade accessories , shoes, pins, umbrella, foods, home made pastries and different t-shirts.

Green and White colored DLSU ANIMO  baller – a hotcake item for DLSU alumni, students and memorabilia hunters !

DLSU t-shirt were selling like hot cakes – Long lines of students , alumni  and memorabilia collectors were on buying spree in a university wide bazaar

The most sale-able items were T-shirts and collectible merchandise  lists  in every DLSU  students , alumni and memorabilia collectors  . Unfortunately , the centennial DLSU stamps issuance was shoved -off  according to a member of the stamp advisory committee member of the Philippine Postal Corporation last year ! Sayang ! The next stamp issuance for DLSU  if granted  will be  25 years from now. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will issue a DLSU centennial commemorative overprint but the public must still wait for now  .

DLSU – Gokongwei College of Engineering students  posed together with battery powered car which will compete in international car racing in Malaysia this July .

Concerts :

After the whole afternoon of touring around the campus, The group was treated to an evening of cultural presentation , modern dance, music and entertainment .

DLSU- Lipa students performed the religious dance ( Subli ) from Batangas

I opted to stay at the public concert held at the Henry Sy Sr. Hall were thousands of  students, alumni , priests  and invited guests were on hand to see how the DLSU education system had accomplished in their 100 years .

The school had already marked its milestone by having several campuses and affiliated schools from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao . My heartfelt congratulations and thanks to the warm hospitality and accommodation   to the office of Ms. Marge Liggayu , Mr. Vin Ello , Mr. Stephen Pamorada and Mr. Andrew Pamorada  and all those people that the author met during the activity .  Until next visit !

References:

De La Salle University-Manila. Student’s Handbook: 2003-06. Manila: DLSU Press. 2003

page 21, page 108, 1997 Dr. NGO’s Catalogue of Philippine Republic Stamps and Postal Stationeries

Press Kit from Ms. Marge Liggayu and Mr. Vin Ello ( Office for Strategic Communications)

Archbishop Jeremiah James Harty :  http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/bharty.html

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas : http://www.bsp.gov.ph/

De La Salle University: https://my.dlsu.edu.ph/

National Museum : http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/

Stuart Exchange : http://www.stuartxchange.org/Botong.html

Manila Chinese Cemetery- mounts, monuments,mausoleums ,magnate

The Manila Chinese Cemetery (founded in 1879) is the second oldest cemetery in Manila after Paco (1820), and was designated as the resting place for the Chinese citizens who were denied burial in Catholic cemeteries during the Spanish colonial period. In later times, however, even the Chinese who had converted to Catholicism were allowed to be buried in this cemetery. The place was also designated as a burial ground for people who died of communicable diseases.

Chinese cemetery -south gate entrance arch

The cemetery was once featured in several international programs like Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous in the 1980’s and on several international travel guidebooks.

a family mausoleum with dragon design and pagoda

The Chinese Cemetery is part of the three-cemetery complex of Manila; namely: Campo Santo de La Loma (La Loma Cemetery) 1884, Cementerio del Norte (North Cemetery) and Cementerio ng mga Instik ( Chinese  Cemetery). During the nineteenth-century, only the Catholics were allowed to be interred in La Loma. The paupers, non-Christians, victims of communicable diseases, and enemies of the colonial government were relegated to the Chinese Cemetery  for burial. The Chinese cemetery also sits on the highest  elevated portion of the district.

Through the years, as more of the Chinese rich interred their dead here, the cemetery was acquired by the Philippine- Chinese Charitable Association, Inc., and became a private cemetery. Prime movers are Don Carlos Palanca Tanchueco ( Tan Quien Sien) , Lim Ong which contributed in purchasing both the present Chinese cemetery lot and Chinese General Hospital .

Joaquin Saez Co Guanco mausoleum

A typical family cannot just buy a burial plot outright at the Chinese Cemetery; the family must properly coordinate with the Philippine- Chinese Charitable Association that had control of the site, proper measures, paper works must be done in order to secure a family burial plot . Some Filipino- Chinese may even consult the services of Feng Shui expert before the actual interment of the family members.  Many believed that choosing a proper place for graveyard is very important for the welfare not only of the dead but also for the future generation of the clan.

A family plot can only be leased for twenty-five years then can be renewable for another 25 years and so on. However, if one had achieved exemplary accomplishments in life — toward the betterment of the society  while living, that  person could be rewarded a burial site for free as in the mausoleum for Chinese martyrs and fire volunteers.

an emptied family mausoleum

For those families unable to afford a continuance of the lease once due for renewal, they are no longer allowed to do any more maintenance work on their respective grave site or mausoleum. However, the cemetery administrators will not evict the buried by digging up and disposing the remains, because they might only attract bad luck into their life. Instead, a grave site or mausoleum will be left untouched to decay with time.

Mang Nolasco

According to Mang Jun Nolasco one of the tomb caretakers, there used to be over 600 caretakers at any given time in the Chinese cemetery. They lived in nearby places. This was some sort of a profession; some of us here are already tomb caretakers for more than 40 to 50 years! However in recent times their numbers had decline to barely 250.  The cost in maintaining a family mausoleum relatively high, imagine you need to pay a renewal fee to the association which happens when the term lease expires, then the association will measure the family plot –The association charges a typical fee of Php 1,400 per square meter, excluding renovations, re-painting and others.

Most of the families who moved out of this place would just buy plot outside in a modern memorial garden. At least they own the lot.

Chinese Fu-Dogs made from ceramic

There are about ten security guards on bicycle patrol and another ten security guards on foot patrol.  They guard some of the vital vantage points of the cemetery, the perimeter walls bordering  (North Cemetery), main gate, and temple. Sometimes vandals would cross the walls from North cemetery to Chinese cemetery.  The 30 feet high adobe wall separates the Chinese cemetery to the North cemetery.

A Chinese Fu-Dog guardian of family mausoleum – made of ceramic

Located near the main entrance was the pyramid-shaped monument (a significant symbol to Free Masons) now stands on the original site of his resting place at the Chinese Cemetery.   Apolinario Mabini, “the Sublime Paralytic“, and as “the Brains of the Revolution.” Is one of our country’s national heroes.

Apolinario Mabini grave  with pyramidal- shaped monument  and historical marker

He was buried inside the Chinese cemetery for the aforementioned criteria: he was a Mason; hence, a non-Christian; he died from cholera (a communicable disease back then) ; and his insurgent writings and involvements in the 1896 and Filipino-American 1898 revolution deemed him enemy of the state. Upon his death on May 13, 1903, he was buried in the Chinese Cemetery, His remains were later transferred to his hometown in Tanauan , Batangas   to a permanent gravesite.

Apparently, Apolinario Mabini had a street named after him near his gravesite.

This is the simple De Vera family mausoleum located within Ceng Chong Road a few blocks from the YU– Chu Family mausoleum (more popularly known as Regal mausoleum) within the cemetery.

De Vera family mausoleum

My grandfather was Mr. Federico De Vera of Sorsogon and Samar province (August 18,1909 to December 20, 1956)  Chinese- Filipino origin. ( Mother’s surname is said to be Hernandiso )

My maternal grandfather is a farmer, trader and worked before in Rialto Studio . During the Japanese occupation, my grandfather was a guerrilla intelligence spy. Being married with 8 children at that time, he choose to stay as an underground spy with few actual combat encounters against the invading Japanese forces in Sorsogon province. There was also one incident that he was spotted by 2 Japanese soldiers while boiling peanuts and was fired-upon twice, Luckily he escapes towards the creek by diving .

frangipani blooming beside the family tomb

Mrs. Toribia  (Tankiko / Tangkeko / Tangueco ) Lim -De Vera hails from Bulan , Sorsogon (May 17, 1910 to November 20, 1983) is of Spanish – Chinese –Filipino origin. However, According to family members, De Vera family surname belongs to the Chinese  (So) surname clan.

My maternal grandmother is also a farmer, plant lover, herbalist ,  entrepreneur. She also knew how to drive a car (at the time when very few knew how). She  can speak in Spanish, Bikol – Sorsogon, Tagalog, English, Mandarin and Hokkien.

grandparents pictures on top of the gravestone

Colorful ribbons signify a recent visit made by family members or friends. These colorful papers  are pasted all over the tombstones and mausoleum.

She maintained 3 general merchandise stores about 6×6 square meters in Matnog, Sorsogon in the early 1940’s which sold a variety of school supplies, candles, candies, light bulbs, rice, canned goods, dress, dried fish, abaca, cigarettes.  It is said to be one of the biggest in Matnog area before they were ransacked by the Japanese during the closing days of the second world war.

According to some old relatives, her family is a distant relative of the Realonda – Rizal’s mother.

tomb stone marker

This family mausoleum was built on December 1956, when my grandfather died of a sudden heart attack.  The simple cross and old frangipani tree that severed as point of reference. The family mausoleum is not grand or ornately built compared to nearby mausoleum but the simple architectural structure would imply the simplicity and the income bracket of the family.

There were other relatives from So, De Vera , Ymaz , Lim , Chan , Kho, Dy  family clan  and some victims of the infamous Ruby Tower earthquake  who were  also buried within the cemetery.

Yu-Chu family mausoleum

Locate in between Kong Teh and  Ceng Chong road is UNO High School ( Filipino- Chinese School ) founder  Don Domingo Yu Chu family mausoleum – . This prominent Filipino- Chinese educator, businessman , philanthropist , copra magnate envisioned founding a school to educate the youth thus UNO school is his lifetime dream. He also help to established Chang Kai Shek College .  The family mausoleum is more popularly known as Regal mausoleum ( since Regal is the film company  Mrs. Lily Y. Monteverde) .

Don Domingo Yu Chu monument

The family mausoleum is one of the most popular mausoleum  in the cemetery . The big green tile roofs and massive structure almost 3 to 4 stories high, with tombstone marker made from carrara marble and granite  are all imported from Italy .  Big Chinese fu-dogs guard the main entrance  and a statute of the family patriarch Don Domingo Yu Chu  stands .  This is also one of the most massive structures within the cemetery.

Ma Mon Luk mausoleum with his two wives

This mausoleum with a huge crown on its top belongs to famous restaurateur  Mr. Ma Mon Luk ( Mami King ) . His two wives are also buried here on either side of him. Ma Mon Luk was a salesman, showman ,cook and hopeless romantic; his was a life worthy of a telenovela (soap opera). He worked very hard and started to peddle his goods , people used to call his mami ( gupit)  in pre-war Intramuros and Binondo  areas. Some of his first clients were students from Colegio de San Juan de Letran , Ateneo and Filipino- Chinese.

At least three Ma Mon Luk restaurants are still operational in Benavides ( now called Masuki), Quezon Boulevard

near  Quiapo church and Quezon City  Quezon Boulevard  near Banawe.

While some of his descendants opened another mami chain called Masuki which had 3 to 4 stores in operations – Benavides ( original Ma Mon Luk ) , Greenhills , Ortigas .

Chamsamco family grave

A family mausoleum which caught my fancy was the Chamsamco family built in 1947 with the famous swastika equilateral cross . Archeological evidences of this design may be traced back from the Indus valley region dates back from the Neolitic period.  This is widely used in Eastern and Dharmic religion such as Buddhist, Hindusim, Jainism.

modern style family mausoleum

The Chinese cemetery is a repository of various architectural marvels from simple tombstones, ornate, art deco, modern, traditional , hybrid , classical .

Manila Chinese Cemetery

Location :Felix Huertas Street corner Aurora Boulevard

Transportation : jeepney ride, tricycle , ( LRT- Blumentritt station) , pedicab
Opening Hours: 7.30 am to 7.00 pm daily.
Admission: Free.

Note: Tour guides are available ( offered by the cemetery) rates differ from Php 300 to Php 500  individual or group.

But if you knew someone with dead relatives or friends just hop along with them.

Video taping is not allowed . ( permission must be sought)

* The author occasionally does a free walking tour around the area upon request by close friends or relatives.