"There is a grand homecoming. A mass reunion of Ilocano families happens in the cemetery."

[VIGAN, ILOCOS SUR, PHILIPPINES] ▬ Situated on a hill, thousands of departed Ilocanos have found their place in the constantly shrinking space of the Vigan Public Cemetery. There's a big old acacia tree on one corner while the cemetery chapel soars very noticeably on the highest part of the hill.

VIGAN PUBLIC CEMETERY

[VIGAN] ▬ THE PUBLIC CEMETERY AT NIGHT


▬ The Location and Its Names ▬


#VIGAN


THE VIGAN PUBLIC CEMETERY IS LOCATED NEAR the boundary of Brgy Tamag (south), Brgy VIII (east), Brgy VII (north) and Brgy Paoa (west). North of the public cemetery is bounded by the Mira Hills, south by the wide expanse of land and rolling hills in Tamag owned by the Crisologos (political clan in the province), east by the Jardin de Caridad (a privately-developed cemetery) and to the west by the industrial lots of the PMFTC (formerly NTRCI, used to be owned by Lucio Tan). The cemetery occupies at least three (3) hills.

In Vigan, this public cemetery is popular for the name Campo Santo (literally, camp of the saints) and panpantoc (pronounced as pan-pan-tô in the stereotype Vigan Ilocano accent). The term panpantoc is derived from pantoc which means "hill". The prefix pan- is added to refer to a group of hills (which actually describes the physical features of the cemetery being composed of several hills).


▬ A Bad Reputation from the Past and How It was Corrected▬


THE VIGAN PUBLIC CEMETERY USED TO HAVE a bad reputation. The notoriety stems from the dump site near it. This dump site used to be open, smoky and has this repulsive smell. Everyone needs to endure the agony of passing through the piles of garbage before reaching the cemetery. So during those times, when they say panpantoc, they are merely referring to the hideous dumpsite. 

Eventually, the dump site was closed and the former garbage land was privately developed—now the posh Jardin de Caridad is born, a private memorial park.


▬ The Bigueño Reunion ▬

EVERY NOVEMBER 1 AND 2, THE CEMETERIES become a busy place until midnight. There is a grand homecoming. A mass reunion of Ilocano families happens in the cemetery. People reunite for one purpose—to visit the grave of their departed loved ones. This tradition is common to Roman Catholic followers although some members of different denominations also practice this tradition. The cemetery stays bright with candles the whole night.


▬ The Grave of Floro Crisologo, a Prominent Ilocano ▬


ON 01 NOVEMBER 2015, I VISITED THE public cemetery. I was looking for a good vantage point so that I can capture a good photo of the cemetery. I saw a hill and I climbed up to the top giving me a good view of the cemetery. I wasn't aware at first that the hill I just climbed is where the grave of Hon Floro Crisologo is located. 

It is my first time to see his grave. I even saw her wife Hon Carmeling Crisologo together with her family and important guests. Floro Crisologo is the assassinated congressman in 1970 while her wife, Carmeling, was the governor of Ilocos Sur that time. The Crisologos ruled the province before the Singsons took over. ▬ end

VIGAN PUBLIC CEMETERY

[VIGAN] ▬ THE PUBLIC CEMETERY AT NIGHT


► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] This post is filed under the category "Landmarks and Structures." To see more posts from this category, scroll down and look for the "More Posts from this Category Landmarks and Structures" section below.

[2] Photos here were taken on 01 November 2015.

[3] The information posted on this article is based on a first-hand knowledge I've learned through the more than 20 years of my residency in this city, that is since birth. I am very familiar of the culture and traditions of Vigan and I grew up practicing many of these traditions.

[4] All maps I used on this post are the works of Eugene Alvin Villar and Mike Gonzalez published on Wikipedia. Source: 1 | 2 |

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EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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