Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Tale of Two Cemetetira in Tagbilaran City: Taloto and Masonic Cemetery


November 2 is All Saints’ Day. On this day many Filipinos visit the cemetery to pay respect to their departed loved ones.

When Tagbilaran became a town in 1742, the cemetery was located around the Catholic Church. At the start of the 20th century it was transferred to the present site of Lourdes Church or K of C. During the 1930s it was transferred to Maria Clara St. Since the place was always flooded, another cemetery was constructed at Camboktot, Dampas District. During the 1950s the cemetery at Maria Clara St. was abandoned.

In 1912 the Protestants had already their cemetery at Dampas District, the same site as it is today. The Municipal cemetery was at the present site of Bo-oy South Elem. School until 1953 when it was transferred at Tiptip District. The Victoria Memorial Park was started in 1975.

The Taloto Catholic Cemetery and the Masonic Cemetery were established for special reasons.

Taloto Catholic Cemetery

According to Fr. Escolastico Enciso in his Cosas Notables de Tagbilaran (Notable Events of Tagbilaran) written on 6 August 1890, the barrio of Talotò, Tagbilaran had more population than the Poblacion or town center.

Many rich people lived in Taloto because sea trading was easier to conduct and
potable water was more available than the town center. Since the residents had difficulty going to the poblacion for church services, they petitioned the Bishop of Cebu to allow them to have their own chapel. The people were permitted to construct their chapel.

On 4 August 1889, the Parish Priest of Tagbilaran, Fr. Enciso, blessed the chapel advocated to the Holy Cross (Santa Cruz). For twelve (12) consecutive nights, until vesper, a chant was held. The following day the solemn Mass with sermon was held.
There followed a procession by devout inhabitants of Taloto, which they do annually to the Holy Cross.

After the establishment of the chapel in 1889, the people of Talotò requested and were granted permission to construct their own cemetery. The same reason was invoked – that it was inconvenient for the people to go to the poblacion four (4) kilometers away. Until the present, Talotò requested and were granted permission to construct its own cemetery. The same reason was invoked – that it was inconvenient for the people to go to the poblacion four (4) kilometers away. Until the present, Talotò is the only chapel in Tagbilaran City that has its own cemetery.

Masonic Cemetery

On January 1931, the American Superintendent of Schools in Bohol, Arnold Bartlett, died. He was a Roman Catholic but he was refused burial in the Catholic Cemetery because he was a Freemason.

On January 11, 1931 his brother Masons performed a funeral service for Mr. Bartlett. He was temporarily buried at the Protestant Cemetery before his body could be brought back to the United States.

That event prompted the brethren of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 to establish their own
Masonic Cemetery. The non-Protestant brothers were afraid that they would have nowhere to be buried when their time comes.

During the April 31 Stated Meeting of the Lodge it was decided to appoint a committee to select a suitable site for a cemetery. The committee members were Bros. Anacleto M. Sevilla and Felix N. Maceda with Bro. Emilio Buenaventura Jr. as Technical Adviser.

During the November 14, 1931 Stated Meeting, the committee reported that a lot was purchased for use as a Masonic Cemetery. It was a 2,750 sq.m. lot, located one and one-fourth kilometers from the Provincial Capitol Building along the now J.A. Clarin St. (formerly Washington St.). The purchase price was eighty pesos (P80). It was further reported that efforts where made to purchase the adjoining lots.

During the June 11, 1932 Stated Meeting of the Lodge the committee again reported that the Lodge had successfully purchased the two adjoining lots in barrio Dampas, Tagbilaran for the Masonic Cemetery.

Even though it was already used in 1932, the Masonic Cemetery was not yet properly fenced and delineated. It was during the incumbency of Brother Catalino Castillo as Worshipful Master (He was twice a Vice Mayor of Tagbilaran and many times a Councilor – JBT) when the cemetery was properly laid out. On November 6, 1937 a Special Meeting was held for the dedication of the Masonic Cemetery. It was also made to coincide with the official visitation of the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Philippines Joseph H. Alley, who took the honor of dedicating the Masonic Cemetery.

Until the present, the existing Masonic Cemetery of the Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 is among the very few Masonic Cemeteries in the Philippines. Buried at this cemetery are deceased members of the fraternity, their wives, children and relatives.

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