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The Manila North Cemetery (Spanish: Cementerio del Norte; formerly known also as Paáng Bundók) is one of the oldest cemeteries in Metro Manila, the Philippines. The cemetery is owned by the City of Manila, the national capital, and is one of the largest in the metropolis at 54 hectares. It is located alongside Andrés Bonifacio Avenue, bordering it are two other important cemeteries: the La Loma Cemetery and the Manila Chinese Cemetery. Numerous impoverished families notably inhabit some of the mausoleums.[1]

Manila North Cemetery
Manila North Cemetery 2.jpg
Entrance of the Manila North Cemetery
Location Santa Cruz, Manila
Country Philippines
Coordinates 14°37′59″N 120°59′20″E / 14.633°N 120.989°E / 14.633; 120.989Coordinates: 14°37′59″N 120°59′20″E / 14.633°N 120.989°E / 14.633; 120.989
Type Public
Owned by Manila City Government
Size 54 ha (130 acres)
Find a Grave Manila North Cemetery



Aerial view of Cementerio del Norte (1928)

The Manila North Cemetery was formerly part of La Loma Cemetery, but was separated as an exclusively Catholic burial ground.[2] The cemetery was laid out in 1904.[3] Through the years it serves as the final resting place for key figures in Philippine history such as former Presidents Sergio Osmeña, Ramón Magsaysay and Manuel Roxas; historian Epifanio de los Santos; and actor Fernando Poe Jr.[4]

The cemetery's being one of the oldest cemeteries in the metropolis is evident on the different designs of mausoleums that reflect the prevailing architectural styles in the Philippines. The styles range from simple, plain-painted with a patch of greenery, to very complex designs that contain reliefs that are difficult to carve while also having different colors.

Current conditionEdit

Due to the ever-decreasing space for the dead, many tombs are stacked one on top of the other.

Informal settlersEdit

Many people already live inside the cemetery and some of them serve as caretakers of the mausoleums where they also stay to survive. When the families or owners of the mausoleums come, especially during and after All Soul's Day, the families transfer to other places. In addition, the informal settlers often serve as informal tour guides, bringing visitors to tombs of famous people and discussing the oral history of the area.[3] Others take advantage of the quantity of visitors during the Allhallowtide holiday, setting up stalls to sell drinks and snacks, and providing visitors other services like renting out their toilets.[5]

The Manila city government is now trying to find solutions on the issue of squatting.

Heritage StructuresEdit

Bautista-Nakpil PylonEdit

The Bautista-Nakpil Pylon at the North Cemetery was designed by Juan Nakpil as a tribute to both Bautista and Nakpil families, including his uncle and benefactor, Dr. Ariston Bautista. The funerary pylon is a tall, square podium which has four human figures on the top corners that form a gesture of prayer capping off the tall columns. The frontal side is embellished by geometricized flowers, spiraling foliage, and nautilus shells in low-relief concrete panels which has a highly decorized stoup on the lower portion.[6] An octagonal lantern-like form sits on top of the podium with miniature columns buttressing on all sides and crowned by a rigid dome.

Mausoleum of the Veterans of the RevolutionEdit

The Mausoluem of the Veterans of the Revolution (Spanish: Panteón de los Veteranos de la Revolución) was designed by Arcadio de Guzmán Arellano, brother of Juan Arellano, and was built in commemoration of the bravery of the Filipinos in the independence revolution.[7] The memorial was commissioned through Executive Order No. 87, issued by Governor-General James F. Smith on August 28, 1908. The neoclassical structure is a massive cubic structure on an elevated square podium. A shallow dome rests on a drum fenestrated by small openings to allow the circulation of air and primarily to let the natural light to come in. Swags, frets with key patterns, and human figures that represent grief to those who died fill up the façade.

Notable burialsEdit

Most of the people have their tombs on the main avenue of the cemetery while other notable people are located near the main entrance.[3]

Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolución
Magsaysay Memorial
Juan Nakpil Memorial
Poe Family Mausoleum

Group plotsEdit

  • American Association plot
  • Armed Forces of the Philippines Cemetery
  • Boy Scout Cenotaph (in memory of the 24 Boy Scouts who died in a plane crash en route to the 11th World Scout Jamboree)
  • Firemen's plot
  • Jewish Cemetery
  • Masonic burial grounds
  • Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolución
  • Military and police plot
  • Thomasites' plot
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars plot (now neglected, since relatives all migrated to the USA)

Popular cultureEdit

  • Red Carabao Manila ( enlists English-speaking guides through its hostel located near the entrance of Chinese Cemetery and is editor recommended in the latest edition of Lonely Planet Philippines (2015). Email in advance to arrange a visit.
  • The Museum Foundation of the Philippines and Carlos Celdran’s Walk This Way both used to hold walking tours the Chinese Cemetery, North Cemetery and La Loma Cemetery.
  • Manila North Cemetery and Chinese Cemetery have a trove of funerary architecture. Mausoleums are designed to look like Chinese pagodas, Hindu Shikhara temples, Egyptian pyramids guarded by Sphinxes, Greek- and Roman-inspired temples, Romanesque-type churches, even Art Deco mausoleums.[9]
  • The horror film in 2010 Cinco movie of episode Paa.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ James Chance (2010). "Living with the dead: Manila's North Cemetery". Pictures of the Year International. Donald W Reynolds Journalism Institute. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Republic of the Philippines: Presidential Museum and Library."Our Heritage and the Departed: A Cemeteries Tour Archived 2015-09-28 at the Wayback Machine.".
  3. ^ a b c Vintage Philippines. December 2, 2010. "Manila North Cemetery: A Time Capsule of Philippine History Archived 2014-05-03 at the Wayback Machine.".
  4. ^ Philippine Daily Inquirer. November 2, 2012. "Did You Know: Manila North Cemetery".
  5. ^ Sauler, Erik. November 2, 2012. Philippine Daily Inquirer. "From buko shakes to portalets, entrepreneurs thrive at Manila North Cemetery".
  6. ^ Lico, Gerard (2008). Arkitekturang Filipino: A History of Architecture and Urbanism in the Philippines. Quezon City: The University of the Philippines Press. pp. 331–332, 339. ISBN 978-971-542-579-7. 
  7. ^ Lico, Gerard (2008). Arkitekturang Filipino: A History of Architecture and Urbanism in the Philippines. Quezon City: The University of the Philippines Press. p. 289. ISBN 978-971-542-579-7. 
  8. ^ [1] CWGC Casualty record.
  9. ^ Walter Ang. October 28, 2013. "8 Trivia About Manila Cemeteries".

External linksEdit