The Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery in Laguna is one of its kind, being the only underground cemetery in the country. Built in the mid-1800s, it was eventually to become the final resting place of friars and some prominent individuals of the city. The dead buried here stood witnesses to clandestine meetings of Filipino revolutionaries during Spanish colonial period and even guerrillas during World War II. Its uniqueness and long history drew me out of my resting hole in Metro Manila to go on a day trip to see the historic crypt.
Going There (from Manila)
(the details are a little fuzzy to me now since I took this day trip last November)
- Get on a bus going to Lucena.
- Ask to be dropped off at San Pablo, Laguna.
- Ride a tricycle going to Nagcarlan jeepney station.
- Get on a jeepney headed to Nagcarlan and tell the driver to drop you off at Nagcarlan cemetery.
I couldn’t remember the fare because it was two months ago but prepare at least 250 pesos and that is just one way.
Some things to take note of…
- There is no entrance fee to the park, underground cemetery, and its adjoining museum.
- You can go crazy over taking as many photos as you want but photography is prohibited in the crypt.
- Don’t wait to get to Nagcarlan before taking your lunch. The choices there are limited and a bit pricey; the eatery we found (the third place we inquired in) had items in the menu that were all good for sharing.
- The underground cemetery and the chapel above it were both intensely creepy. I thought I wouldn’t have any problem going down but apparently not. I do not believe in ghosts and I’m not superstitious at all but I couldn’t bring myself to go down even if I came with a friend. Obviously, it would have been a waste of time and resource to go to all the way to Nagcarlan and not see the crypt (but I was seriously considering this). My friend and I decided to wait for more visitors to come. After about half an hour of waiting, we saw a family of four approaching, and we decided to go down with them… you know safety in numbers.
- Underground there was a musty smell and the ambiance felt clammy. It was still very eerie even if there were almost ten of us there (including some neighborhood kids who treated the crypts as if it were a playground)
There are other places nearby people could visit. A local told us that there was a waterfall that was just a jeep away but we opted to immediately head back to the city. Overall, it was a nice visit. I should have known better that the trip would take a spooky turn. After all, I was visiting a cemetery built at least a hundred years ago.