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The Cemetery Beneath San Bartolome Chapel

Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery is one of the unique attractions that can be found in the province of Laguna. The cemetery was built in the 18th century by the Franciscan missionaries.

by Jhaypee Guia on June 21, 2012
The Cemetery Beneath San Bartolome Chapel


Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery is one of the unique attractions that can be found in the province of Laguna. The cemetery was built in the 18th century by the Franciscan missionaries. It is enclosed by a unique circular structure. The intricately designed wall and wrought iron gate with a red-tiled walk lead to the small chapel, where an altar-like structure is located. The tombstones are embedded on the underground level and brick walls of the cemetery. In the crypt of the cemetery, according to history, is where the local Katipuneros and followers of the secret revolutionary societies called Katipunan plotted against Spanish rule.

The cemetery was a burial place for rich personalities during the Spanish period, especially people who came from elite families. This is the only underground cemetery of its kind in the Philippines.

San Bartolome Chapel

The first church, which was of light materials, was built by Rev. Tomas De Miranda, O.F.M., who was assigned to this town in 1583 as resident priest. The second church of brick and stone was built in 1752, but was partly destroyed by fire in 1781. A choirloft was added to the reconstructed church in 1845 by Rev. Vicente Velloc, who built the Nagcarlan Cemetery and its underground crypt.


The architecture of the Nagcarlan Church is Baroque. Its facade has a semicircular arched main entrance flanked by semicircular windows. Its bell has a Muslim-inspired crenellations. The embellishments of the facade and the side entrances are distinctly Baroque and this impression is enhanced by the play of light and shade among the architectural details which include tall pedestals that lift the columns on the second level, fenestrations, and columns of varying number and length. These details alter the church's otherwise stolid rectangular structure.


The underground cemetery is located in the town of Nagcarlan. It is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Laguna. It is 16 kilometers northeast of San Pablo City, or 103 kilometers south of Manila.


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How to Get There

Via South Luzon Tollway

From Manila, take the South Luzon Tollway and drive from Nichols entry up to the south end. Take the exit going to Lucena drive until you reach the Sto. Tomas, then take the left road of the junction. The left road will take you all the way to San Pablo. At San Pablo, head into town (westward) and try to get to the road that goes to Liliw, Laguna, on the west side of San Pablo. From there, follow the road up to Rizal and then to the town proper of Nagcarlan.

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