By Glendel Nazario
The Manila North Cemetery is one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in Metro Manila covering 54 hectares. Formerly known as Paang Bundok, the cemetery used to be a part of the La Loma Cemetery but was seperated from it in 1904, making it an exclusive Catholic burial ground. It is well-known for being the final resting place of notable personalities.
One of the famous is actor Fernando Poe Jr., or “Da King” (The King of Philippine movies). Poe ran for the 2004 Presidential elections but lost to the would-be president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Poe died in December 2004, at age of 65 and was buried at the cemetery with his mother and father.
The cemetery also serves as the resting place of former presidents Sergio Osmeña, Ramon Magsaysay and Manuel Roxas. But aside from the actors and politicians, a lot of noteworthy individuals including heroes and national artists were buried at the Manila North Cemetery.
Melchora Aquino or Tandang Sora is known as the Mother of the Katipunan who helped revolutionaries by providing them with medical attention and food. Tandang Sora died in 1912 after she returned to the Philippines from Guam where she was exiled and was buried at the Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolución and is now at the Tandang Sora National Shrine in Banlat, Quezon City.
Other noteworthy people buried at the Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolución are Juan Arevalo, Assembly member of the Declaration of Philippine Independence and son of Bonifacio Flores Arévalo, the treasurer of La Liga Filipina and founder of Sociedad Dental de Filipinas, currently known as the Philippine Dental Association. Propagandist Marcelo H. Del Pilar was formerly buried at the mausoleum before his remains were moved to his house in Marcelo H. del Pilar Shrine in Bulacan, Bulacan. Pío del Pilar was also buried here and was one of those during the Philippine Revolution who advised Emilio Aguinaldo to change the punishment of commutation or banishment to execution for brothers Andres and Procopio Bonifacio.
The brains of Katipunan Emilio Jacinto, who was also a high-ranking official during the Philippine revolution was also buried at the cemetery, when he was moved from Santa Cruz, Laguna.
Three national artists were also buried at the Manila North Cemetery. One is Amado Hernandez, a Philippine National Artist for literature and that his works such as Luha ng Buwaya (Tears of the Crocodile) and Mga Ibong Mandaragit (Birds of Prey) stem from his experience as a guerilla and labor leader. As great minds think alike, the other National Artist is none other than Hernandez’ wife, Atang de la Rama-Hernández, a bodabil performer and singer, who later on became the first Filipina film actress, and National Artist for Theater and Music. The third is Juan Nakpil, a National Artist for Architecture proclaimed in 1973. Nakpil was known for his numerous works in the field of architecture including the design of the International Eucharistic Congress altar and the improvement of Quiapo Church in 1930 by erecting a dome and a second belfry.
The first Asian flyweight world champion Pancho Villa was also buried here after he died in 1925 at the age of 23.
The Manila North cemetery is not only home to the remains of our loved ones, but also contains a rich history to it, holding numerous personalities who made exemplary contributions to the country that perhaps deserves also a candle or a bouquet of flowers. A peek at their mausoleums and tombs would be a great trip back memory lane, to find out what type of life they lived, who were they, and why we should not forget about them like the ones we love.
Tags: Amado Hernandez, Juan Nakpil, Manila Bulletin, Manila North Cemetery, Manila North Cemetery one of the oldest biggest cemeteries in Metro Manila, Metro Manila, national artists, noteworthy individuals, Paang Bundok, Tandang Sora