The National Historical Com- mission of the Philippines recently opened the Museo ng Libingan sa Ilalim ng Lupa in Nagcarlan, Laguna, the agency’s first heritage- centered museum.
Located in a building in front of the octagonal-shaped cemetery, the museum features artifacts associ- ated with the 19th-century burial ground and the techniques used by NHCP in conserving the chapel and perimeter walls as well as the properties of the materials utilized in its construction.
The history of the cemetery is told through audio-visual presentation and infographics.
Former NHCP chair Ma. Serena Diokno conceptualized the mu- seum’s theme. She said the museum veered away from their usual his- torical narratives addressing the gap between that and the concepts on heritage and conservation.
NHCP commemoration and museum division head Bryan Paraiso explained the heritage-themed mu- seum was made to educate the people on the difficulties in preserving and restoring heritage edifices using sci- entific methods.
The cemetery of bricks, adobe and river stone was built by Franciscan friar Fr. Vicente Belloc in 1845 who also made renovations on the town’s church in the same year.
The chapel of neoclassic facade has a crypt 15 feet below the ground, containing 36 niches where priests and the town’s prominent residents were interred, and more than 200 niches above ground and incorpo- rated into the perimeter walls.
The crypt served as a meeting place of the Laguna leaders of the revolution in 1896 and of Filipino guerilla during World War II.