By Kathryn Joy Jeruta*
Inside the dark, gloomy and under-repair Jaro Cathedral we got to see lapidas all around. These are not the contemporary lapidas that are ever present in cemeteries. Those inside Jaro Cathedral are bigger, older and more artsy than our modern day lapidas.
With Juvic Velez who is an officer in the church secretariat, we were able to see first-hand about 40 of these old lapidas that are inside the century-old Jaro Cathedral. The lapidas have Spanish inscriptions giving us the idea that these may have been around during or just after the Spanish era. It also shows of how much influence our Spanish colonizers have had in our culture.
All the while we have been thinking that these are just lapidas with no real remains inside. We were really surprised when our guide told us that indeed the remains are buried in the church. Given the privilege to be buried in church are high-ranking church leaders such as the archbishop and the bishop. Aside from there, we saw on other lapidas names of prominent families in Jaro. Family names such as Jalandoni, Villalobos, Javellana, Lozada and Javelosa can be found inside. These people were important patrons of the church.
A name worth highlighting is Don Manuel Arguelles who is the first layman to be given the privilege to be buried in the church. He was one of the people who spearheaded the building of this cathedral. His marble lapida (5 feet and 3 inches x 2 feet and 10 inches) is placed on the floor.
The lapidas inside the church appear to be really ancient giving the suggestion of how old lapida making as an art really is.
*About the author
Kathryn Joy Jeruta is in her second year at UPV majoring in business management. She finished her secondary education at St. Joseph School.