Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Resurrected Memories In the Sunken Cemetery

The famous large cross in the sunken cemetery in Catarman, Camiguin

Like any other travelers or local tourists in Mindanao, one of our planned trips in 1997 was to visit the Camiguin Island. But in most cases, planned trips or vacations were not even realized because of unexplained intervention. May it be that intervention is divine or human, still we have to follow our intuition and vibration just to do away from possible uncertainties on the road.

The idea to visit this most visited Island in the Northern Mindanao was already conceived 10 years ahead, until the final decision cave-in in 2007, when my friend Lui Mamino's mother visited his family which was coincided with the visit of my mother-in-law.  These two important people in our lives, are both from Luzon.

The invitation by my Kumpareng Lui happened as we bumped each other in the Monastery Church, here in Malaybalay Ciy. Since we have already in our mind the plan to visit this island, without second thought, we accepted that invitation. 

After having been through in many tourist spots here, from the Katibawasan Falls to Ardent Hot Spring, we then headed to this most photographed large cross of the Sunken Cemetery of Old Catarman
The Mount Vulcan
The sunken cemetery is part of the Old Capital of Camiguin, and they called it as the Old Catarman, which was devastated by the spasmodic eruption of the Mount Vulcano in 18th Century period. The sunken land and the graveyard reached up to 20 feet was due to the molten lava that burst out from the said volcano.

In 1982, the large cross above was built on the solidified lava as its foundation to mark the site that became the graveyard of the ancestors of the Camiguin People. When we learned all these things from our van driver which was also our history teller, especially the density of people who died of that eruption including those who were buried alive, my wife and other companion that time including me felt so uncomfortable in taking pictures on this site.  
The Ruins of Cotta Bato or the Spanish San Roque Church
Especially when we chose the ruins of the San Roque Church, also known as the Cotta Bato (as inscribed on the tablet of the retained wall of the ruins right at the entrance) as our backdrop. It seemed that for every click of our camera, we felt gruesome that there is somebody looking at us from the third dimension and shivering my spine as we passed-by the waving trees caused by sea wind.
Every time I heard terrible stories of this kind, my imagination would tend to bring me back to their time, a feeling like I was there, hearing those people yelling for help which you can not give to them since you felt also so helpless to save yourself, watching fireballs spewed along with volcanic ash, the tremor because of shaking ground caused by earthquake, swaying of tall trees, seeing tidal waves and things like rolling boulders from the slope, burning houses and so on. It is indeed so intensely horrifying. 

So, what I did to calm down that intense mode was I prayed silently to ease up the energy that dragged me in so ghastly. A feeling that we have to control in order to transform a negative vibes to a positive one. Nevertheless, what I showed to my companions and my family was a cheerful father with a positive vibe in order for them to feel comfortable. I didn't showed to them, that in a short moment while exploring the ruins, I was horrified with what we learned from our driver on what had happened to this place, and why it was called a sunken cemetery. 

By then, I remembered my Uncle Andy told me when he visited us here in Bukidnon, that every time we happen to pass by a cemetery, do not be scared but instead pray for the eternal repose of the departed souls and that they will "REST IN PEACE". 
Sunset in Camiguin after we've been through in Catarman
And I said to myself silently, as we passed-by this beautiful and striking sunset while remembering those departed ancestors of Camiguin people, 

"Do not be weary of sunset that tomorrow will never come, be revitalized that sunset is a good sign of tomorrow to come into our life".

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"The Resurrected Memories In the Sunken Cemetery"  is my 2nd entry to the Blog Carnival of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers for the month of October 2011, with the theme Dark Tourism:  Philippines in Focus hosted by Gael Hilotin of ThePinay Solobackpacker.


20 Con Tour Passers by:

  1. Bonz, really this is only your second time to join the blog carnival?that means your "My Hometown" entry was the first! I have been to the sunken cemetery of Camiguin but that was in 1997 when camera is not yet digital. So glad for your post!

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  2. Thank goodness I didn't know about the history of the church when I was there. I've been there twice already, in 1993 and in 1995. Had there been a digital camera for me back then I'd likely capture real scary images[Oh well, I just unexpectedly did before in one of the hotels here in CDO].
    Thanks for the info, Sir Bon. Now I know the story behind...

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  3. I've been there also some time in 2006 and have had that same nostalgic vibe you felt upon setting foot at Cotta Bato and watching the large close from therein. Nice post indeed!

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  4. Erratum: I mean "large cross" not " large close."

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  5. @Mhe-ann Ojeda

    Hi Mhe-ann. O nga mhe-ann. Medyo nabusy. sasali sana ako nun, but i'm not in the mode in writing. Lalong lalo na yong Encounter with People on the Road. Meron sana ako. sayang lang. Really, ha. You some third dimension encounter in one of hotels in CDO? San yon. PM mo nga ako sa FB.

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  6. Hello Shai. Supplemented with research and the tales told by the driver in transit to this famous large cross in sunken cemetery. Kung may maganda rin akong digi cam dati. I probably captured good sites with good result. Pero at least, na save ko mga pix ko sa hard disc dati.:-)

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  7. Sir Ed,

    Nakapanindig balahibo nga lalong lalo na dun sa cotta bato. ang laki ng church at yong fortress niya, ang lalapad. talagang used to defend from invasion dati cguro yon.:-).

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  8. aww.. nakaklungkot isipin ang mga namamatay at nalilibing ng buhay..

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  9. @Batang Lakwatsero

    Ivan, o nga eh. Parang bang pag nandun ka sa site, seems like you experience also what those people had during their time. Nakaka-awa nga eh at nakakalungkot.

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  10. nakakalungkot ngang isipin kung ilang tao ang namatay, same as my entry about Ormoc. :(

    thanks for sharing this, do people swim in the waters near the sunken cemetery? nacurious ako.

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  11. @Ed

    Yup, even children care to swim in the sunken cemetery. Si James nga Ed, nag swim. May post siya. Dun ako nag ka idea para sa entry ko sa blog carniva...:-).

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  12. I went to high school in Iligan City, and never even had a chance to come here! I hope to be in Camiguin in November though. Will be sure to check out the Sunken Cemetery :)

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  13. Hi, aleah.

    Just try to feel the place. Especially that ruins of the church. If had a good camera that time and at the same a blogger, I would explore more the place. Good luck and see you around. hope to see you personally in one of your travel gigs.:-).

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  14. ayy ayoko nyan. i cant stand to keep taking photos in a creepy place, baka may makita kong something sa camera ko.. hehe scary!

    but i would really love to go snorkeling in the sunken cemetery.

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  15. @Chyng

    I know that you can do snorkeling in the sunken cemetery. Another kind of adventure which is a unique one.:-).

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  16. same with chyng, katakot baka may lumabas na iba sa pics. lol

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  17. I'm so looking forward to shoot the underwater cemetery next week! :)

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  18. Vin, tama ka, nakakatakot ngang isipin. lol. kakaripas ka ng langoy.

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  19. @Christian | Lakad Pilipinas

    O nga bro. maganda daw sa ilalim nyan. kelan next week bro? PM me. Its an honor to meet you.

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  20. Interesting. I always love visiting these old places from the Spanish era. The Sunken Cemetery will be worth checking out. It would be better (and creepier) if they have diving tours there so you can see the tombs.

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