Janiuay cemetery’s grand stone steps

(Janiuay cemetery’s grand stone staircase. Photo courtesy of Ayala Museum)

Inaugurated in 1884, Janiuay (pronounced as ha-nee-wai) cemetery was hailed as the most artistic cemetery in the Philippines! The town’s parish priest, Augustinian friar Fernando Llorente spearheaded the ambitious project. (Prior to this assignment, he was head of Dingle, a town where he also had a stone cemetery constructed.

The inauguration was such a grand affair, three full days of pomp and ceremony. No less than the Archbishop of Manila, Msgr. Pedro Payo was guest of honor.

Situated on elevated ground, the cemetery has three grand staircases which dramatically lead to three arched entrance gates. Life-size stone statues used to line the entrance. A seven-foot cross of solid limestone was erected between the capilla and the main gate. 52 carabaos hauled the limestone block from the mountains of Dingle and then carved on site. Of course, the cemetery’s crowning glory was its octagonal capilla. (Eight is the number of the resurrection.) Like Dingle’s, Janiuay’s capilla had lancet-shaped doors and windows (Fray Llorente must have loved the Gothic style) as well as exquisite stone and wood carvings. Manila artisans worked on the interiors.

At present, the Janiuay cemetery is only a shadow of its former self. The once gleaming limestone blocks are badly weathered. The stone statues and the giant cross are long gone. Nevertheless, taking in the majestically elevated facade, climbing its steps and looking around the once richly ornamented capilla is a must-do experience for visitors.


  1. christina pancoast said:

    hi there we should meet im your sister we have the same father call lil she can tell you every thing and garet misses you so do litle christopher i wont so much to be a part of your life

    April 27, 2009
  2. I am requesting the final resting place of Mrs. Nenette C. Colacion-Pancoast.(former American Citizen from New York City. )
    She left to be with God on 06 September 2006.
    Does anyone know the plot number ? Her last request was to be next to her father.
    She has many relatives and family located in Janiuay 5034.
    I would also like to inquire as to the health of Lola Alicia C. Colacion (1194 San Pedro Street ? ) whom has recently obtained the age of 80
    Information of the concerned can be submitted to Mr. Carl Pancoast,legal next of kin and lawfully wedded.
    carl.pancoast@nychhc.org ( or) carlpancoast@rocketmail.com

    February 24, 2009
  3. miss ko na ang janiuay ba………. matagal na din ako hindi naka owi jan…….maganda talaga ang janiuay yan lng masasabi ko ah…………

    February 6, 2009
  4. nellie marin said:

    summer joy, i have the original copy that was
    kept by us. no offense but, the cemetery was
    started by father miguel carrod along with the
    janiuay church which was later continued and
    finished by capitan placido marin. i will call
    you sometime after the holiday. i do not want
    you to discuss to anybody, because they are looking for the original book.
    merry christmas and happy new year to everybody!! tita nellie

    December 24, 2007
  5. […] courtesy of Joy Rosal-Sumagaysay of the “I love Iloilo” blog. Click Here to read more about Janiuay […]

    November 19, 2007

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