After our overnight stay in Go Hotels Otis, we packed our things early and proceed to our next destination in Manila. I have been aiming to visit this place for a long time and when I found out that it was just one ride away from our hotel, we decided to put it on our itinerary.
We visited the Paco Park and Cemetery, a simple and quaint park in Paco, Manila. Although it is being tagged as Cemetery, the place is now a recreational garden and is a popular wedding venue for those couples who want a garden-like settings. It might be a small and simple place in Manila but it has a huge historical significance too.
A welcome sign near the gate of Paco Park.
The Paco Park was once a cemetery. An order to construct a municipal cemetery was made after and outbreak of a cholera epidemic in Manila in 1807. The cemetery was primarily designed as a municipal cemetery for the affluent and established aristocratic Spanish families who resided in the old Manila, or the city within the walls of Intramuros during the Spanish colonial era. It is also interesting to note that the remains of our National hero, Dr Jose Rizal and the martyred priests (GomBurZa) ; Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgoz, andJacinto Zamora were all interred in Paco Cemetery. It is not surprising why this place was declared as National Historical Shrine.A historical marker mounted outside the walls of Paco Park and CemeteryPaco Park is a well-maintained place. It features a very serene and neat atmosphere and the entrance fee of Php10 per head is really reasonable to keep this place back to its former glory.
The inner gate of Paco Park. The park is circular in shape with an inner circular fort that stood as the original cemetery. The outer wall was built with thick adobe walls. The top of the walls were then made into pathways for promenadesThe walls were made hollow to serve as niches
A panoramic view of the niches. I’m not sure if the some of the remains are still interred here but they said that most of the remains here were exhumed and transferred to other cemeteries in Manila.
The pathways on top of the thick walls. Here, you’ll see the inner and outer walls of the Paco Park
Located at the center of the park is a domed chapel dedicated to St. Pancratius, a Roman citizen who converted to Christianity, and was beheaded for his faith at the age of just 14 around the year 304.The chapel was closed by the time we arrived there but according to the markers outside, this dome and oval chapel had an altar that was originally white and gold. On each side of the altar are the repositories for the remains of the governors and bishops.Schedule of masses of St Pancratius Chapel
It is also interesting to note that the Chapel of St. Pancratius is under the care of the San Vicente de Paul Parish and the Vincentian fathers who also manage the nearby Adamson University.
In front of the chapel is a huge circular pool/ pondOf course, the park is adorned with luscious greens and colorful ornaments as well.
On one side, you’ll find a monument dedicated to Dr Jose Rizal. Jose Rizal was secretly interred at Paco Park after his execution at Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896, and was guarded for fifteen days by the Guardia Civil Veterana. His remains were exhumed on August 17, 1898 and on December 30, 1912 was laid underneath the monument dedicated to him at the Luneta as stated in the Park’s marker.
Not too far from Rizal’s monument is another monument dedicated to the three martyred priest. According to the memorare, their remains after their execution on February 17, 1892, were buried in the cemetery grounds as they were linked to the Cavite Mutiny, as stated in the Park’s marker.The park as viewed from the top walls.
Things You Should Know Before Going to Paco Park and Cemetery
►The entrance fee to Paco Park is Php10 per head
►The park is open to general public from Tuesdays to Sundays from 8am to 5pm
►Comfort rooms are available
►Weddings could be held here
►Masses are held in St Pancratius every Sundays and Holidays (10am│11am│5pm│6pm)
►They also conduct masses every 12th Day of the Month at 9am
►Wedding Arrangements and inquiries can be done in San Vicente De Paul Parish
►Some scenes from the movie Starting Over Again (starring Toni Gonzaga and Piolo Pascual) were shot here
►National artist Ildefonso Paez Santos Jr. was involved in the designing of Paco Park (he is also the one behind the landscape designs of CCP and Rizal Park)
How to Get to Paco Park From Manila
Going to Paco Park and Cemetery is not really challenging. If you are commuting from Manila, just take a jeepney bound to Taft Avenue. From there, get off in Escoda Street and you can just walk to Paco Park. In our case, from Otis, we just ride a Tricycle that brought us directly to Paco Park for just Php20
Where To Stay in Manila
In case you are looking for more budget hotels, feel free to check our hotel recommendations via TravelBookPH and see which one suits your budget!
After spending time in Paco Park and Cemetery, we headed to our next destination and possibly the most popular park in Manila, the Luneta Park or Rizal Park! I will post more details about this trip in my next #LetsExploreManila entry.
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