Nagcarlan is a municipality in the province of Laguna. Just over 100 kilometers away from Manila, it offers historical landmarks and natural attractions to tourists who are looking for a quick and affordable escape.
The town is home to the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery, the only underground cemetery in the Philippines which has been declared as an Important Cultural Property for its outstanding value to the nation. I did a little research and I found out that the cemetery was built in 1845 and it also served as a hiding place for the revolutionary Filipinos during the World War II. The rich history behind the landmark makes it a popular choice for educational tours and budget trips.
We reached the cemetery at around 5:30PM, so we were not able to get inside and explore the whole place. However, we tried to admire the landmark from the other side of the gate. The chapel was originally built for funeral masses and it reminded me so much of St. Pancratius Chapel in Paco Park. On both sides of the chapel are apartment-style niches. The hollow walls also resonated those of Paco Park.
Most of the niches in the walls are hollow, while some still have the remains of people who most probably lived in the town of Nagcarlan. It was also said that while the cemetery was intended for the late locals of the town, the tombs directly underneath the chapel only served as a resting place for Spanish friars and other prominent people.
We also stopped by yet another beautiful baroque church–St. Bartholomew the Apostle Church. It was the same church that was featured in the 1974 version of Kampanerang Kuba starring Vilma Santos and its teleserye remake starring Anne Curtis in 2005 (which by the way, I loved watching as a child). It also looks a lot like our old churches back home in Cavite–St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Bacoor, Cavite and St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Kawit, Cavite.
Much like Liliw, Nagcarlan also has a cold climate and a quaint atmosphere which I loved. After saying our prayers and taking a few photos at the Nagcarlan Church, we hit the road once more to visit another town as we continue our Laguna day trip.