200 Years of History, PACO Park  

By Bianca Marie France E. Viadan 

The PACO Park ,originally named as Cementerio General de Dilao, was built in 1807 by the Dominicans during the Spanish Colonial Period as a resting place for Aristocratic Spanish Families and Colonial Elites who resided in the Old Manila.

The historical cemetery built for the wealthy Spaniards bears 200 years of our country’s history. In 1822, PACO Cemetery was expanded, wherein its circular walls were enclosed by another, and gave rest to the devastating cholera epidemic victims.

A sad detail, people who have died for our country were also buried in nameless graves in PACO Cemetery. Notable heroes buried there include Fr. Jose BurgosFr. Mariano Gomez and Fr. Jacinto Zamora, the three Filipino Priests known as GomBurZa, who were executed by the Spaniards after being accused of Mutiny labeled as traitors by the then Colonial Government. Our National Hero José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda, who wrote the Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, and who fought for the Philippines independence in a silent but powerful way, was also secretly buried inside the cemetery after his execution at Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896.

The Cemetery was converted into a National Park in 1966. PACO Park, just like Rizal Park, was placed under the responsibility of National Park’s Development Committee or NPDC and has now become a very popular venue for weddings and receptions.

PACO Park is a place of painful yet beautiful memories. It is a symbol of war but also a symbol of bravery which brought us hope and peace. History may be our past, but it is also the history that made us who we are today. Going back in time is not only to know the memories of the past but to realize that we who exist in the present were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to enjoy history itself without the need to go through those wars and be part of another history.

Visit PACO Park and see the beauty of this old cemetery. Reminisce and go back in time while enjoying the amazing architectural design of its inner and outer circular walls. Be mesmerized by its beautiful surroundings and Chapel dedicated to St. Pantricus.

What we have gone through in our lives and this Historical Places were like a book for us to re-discover. It is that kind book we didn’t need to read just to know its importance in our existence, but a book we needed to remember to understand its significance on the way we live in the present. Past will stay in the past but its contribution in the present will stay with us no matter how many years have gone by. Let’s celebrate what we have today but don’t forget to celebrate the battles and trials we have won. Those memories have thought us valuable lessons which makes each history deserved to be remembered.

Always keep in mind that reminiscing the past doesn’t mean that you stopped on moving forward, there were moments that we needed to look back and remind ourselves where we are once, how many wars we have won and how far we have come.

Source: Paco Park Markers, National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) Official Website, Legacy Senate Government PH Official Website, Atlas Obscura Official Website, Wikipedia, Unveiling Rizal on Weebly

Bianca Marie France E. Viadan , Operations Management. Born on the 2nd day of October year 1990, eldest daughter of 2 and currently residing at Tarlac City. Graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology. A Philippine ARMY reservist graduated in Advance ROTC. Traffic Control Room Specialist at SCTEX base. Fond of writing poems, short stories, reading, photography, singing, and playing the guitar. Ambivert loves to travel and discover nature. Forgiving and friendly in nature.

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