CAMPO SANTO: Culture Sacred Treasures


It’s been 34 years since its been establish, but its beauty still lies in its red bricks and oriental baroque architecture. Whenever you reach the top of the stair, you will stop in awe of the view of the sea and the ambiance of the atmosphere. Many years has been past but the beauty of the structure still amaze a lot of people. It is also a sacred place for catholic people where they believe that the souls of their be loved rest in peace. It is known as the most beautiful Spanish colonial cemetery in Iloilo and in the Philippines, the cemetery is popular for its very intricate chapel which is described to be like a crown sitting on top of a hill at the very center.

Beautiful things are old

The Camposanto de San Joaquin was established in 1982 by an Augustinian friar, Fray Mariano Vamba. The cemetery reflects the many years that have passed by with its interesting collection of reliefs, carvings and statues. Carvings and Statue are at the entrance to the cemetery, in the gateway with an arch. There are figures on the top, with the statue of Jesus Christ on the center and on each side of Christ, two columns with angelic figures are poised as guard. In addition, sculpted heads of two cherubs and a skull representing death marks the entrance of the cemetery. The rest of the cemetery is enclosed in stone walls that are topped with iron-wrought grills. There are several statues and carvings found in the walls.

Red and Stone is use as the centerpiece of the cemetery, the chapel, with its distinctive domed roof made of red galvanized iron sheets. The chapel is where final blessings are given to the deceased before they are buried. Like other cemeteries established during the Spanish colonial period, the chapel is placed in the center. The capilla is hexagonal and is built of calcareous white coral stone quarried from nearby limestone coast, fossils and red bricks of clay. It is capped by a copula roof with an iron cross at its apex.The interior is decorated with Classic motifs. Florid carvings of flowers and leaves decorate the exterior walls of the chapel, particularly surrounding the door and the roseate windows. Decorations vary from intricate floral carvings to pointed finials to a simple cemetery emblem, the skull and crossbones at the corners of the hexagon are urn-like finials.


Oriental Baroque is the style of the architecture use the cemetery is identified as Baroque architecture with clear Oriental influences, similar to other historical churches in Iloilo. The carvings are florid and ornamental such as flowers and leaves. Baroque architecture is the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late 16th-century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church and the absolutist state.

It was characterized by new explorations of form, light and shadow, and dramatic intensity. It was characteristic of Baroque architecture that, though examples are to be found almost throughout Europe and Latin America, they differ notably from one country to another. In Spain the term ‘Baroque’ originally denoted an irregular, oddly-shaped pearl, whereas in Italy it meant a pedantic, contorted argument of little dialectic value. It ended by becoming, in almost all European languages, a synonym for the extravagant, deformed, abnormal, unusual, absurd, and irregular; and in this sense it was adopted by eighteenth-century critics to apply to the art of the preceding century, which had seemed to them conspicuously to possess such characteristics.

To reach the capilla or the chapel, one has to cross a stone staircase made of twenty steps to reach the capilla or the chapel. There’s a local folklore that it was the women of San Joaquin who made the staircase, in accordance with the required contribution from the Spanish authorities.

Many of the architectural designs of the churches in Iloilo are baroque architecture. But, whats beautiful to Campo Santo de San Joaquin are the coral rocks used to build the walls and the red bricks that adds color and drama to the structure. If you have notice spanish era buildings and structure has a lot to do with carvings and statues along their buildings. That is why these kinds of structures are highly protected and preserved because of it’s significance and the work of art of the people who built it.

Iloilo has a lot of these kinds of structures that the National Museum protected. Campo Santo de San Joaquin is one of the declared National Cultural Treasures in the philippines.

Tantalizing view

Overlooking the Sea The San Joaquin cemetery sits at one of the highest points of the town, which is the top of a hill that overlooks the sea. If you visit the cemetery on a clear day, you can appreciate the beautiful scenery of the sea. The cemetery is located along the main highway of San Joaquin, which makes it easily accessible for anyone who’d like to visit the place. Among the locals, it’s called the Camposanto or the patyo of San Joaquin.

It is nice to see how these landmarks are preserved. Treasuring these kinds of structures gives us honor to our ancestors who tried to create this work of art. If it wasn’t for them we won’t have this treasures in our land the made us very proud.





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