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Toward a History of Chinese Burial Grounds in Manila during the Spanish Colonial Period

Pour une histoire des sites funéraires chinois de Manille durant la période coloniale espagnole
Richard T. Chu et Teresita Ang See
p. 63-90

Résumés

L’étude des sites funéraires de Manille ouvre de nouveaux horizons sur la communauté chinoise et le régime colonial espagnol. Dans les deux premiers siècles et demi que dura cette domination, les Chinois ont été ensevelis à l’intérieur ou autour des églises ou encore sur les terrains des temples, démontrant la prérogative des autorités religieuses sur la vie de ces sujets coloniaux. Au cours du xixe siècle, l’augmentation de la population chinoise et les nouvelles conceptions de l’hygiène publique ont ouvert la voie à la création d’un cimetière public chinois extra-muros. Les règlements et les problèmes auxquels ont été confrontés les administrateurs de ce site funéraire révèlent que les intérêts de l’élite chinoise ont recoupé les ultimes tentatives de contrôle de la puissance coloniale, donnant ainsi naissance à un cimetière unique en Asie du Sud-Est.

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Texte intégral

Introduction

1In Manila, the Chinese cemetery at La Loma, Huaqiao yishan 華僑義山, built in the nineteenth century, is a sight to behold. Spanning more than fifty hectares, it is “home” to thousands of Chinese buried there. But their tombs are not ordinary tombs. Some are grand mausoleums that appear like a Catholic chapel or a three-story structure with combined architectural styles from the West and the East. Inside one can find stained glass windows, large canvasses of oil paintings of the deceased, marbled floors and tombs, incense holders, chandeliers, or altars bearing both Catholic and Buddhist deities, and—in many cases—a toilet.

2A few kilometers away from this cemetery, in different parts of Manila, are still found tombstones bearing the names of Christianized Chinese. Dating back to the eighteenth century, some of these tombstones are used as pavements for the old walled city of Manila, or were excavated from burial sites near or around churches. These remnants invite us to study where the Chinese in Manila buried their dead during the Spanish colonial times. Previous studies have largely focused on examining how the living and colonial authorities interacted, but did not pay enough attention to what happened when and after they died. This essay seeks to fill that gap in our knowledge by focusing on previously unused or underutilized primary source materials to offer a broader history of the Chinese burial grounds in Manila and, in the process, provide a better understanding of the Chinese community in Manila as well as the Spanish colonial regime.

Chinese Burial Grounds during the Early 1700s to the Early 1800s

  • 3 See Teresita Ang See and Richard T. Chu, “An Overview of Binondo History,” in Marya Svetlana T. Cam (...)
  • 4 However, this division in abode was not strictly adhered to, in that non-baptized Chinese could liv (...)

3The Chinese, especially from the province of Fujian, had been traveling to the different islands of what now constitutes the Philippines centuries before the Spaniards colonized them in 1565. When the Spaniards settled in the country, the number of immigrants increased, participating in the colonial economy by bringing goods from China that were then shipped via the galleons bound for Acapulco and then traded for silver. In response to the increase in the number of immigrants, the Spanish colonial government in Manila relegated them to a place called the Parián, a place that was relocated nine times between 1582 and 18603. In 1592, the Spanish Governor General bought the island of Binondo and gave it as a residence for the baptized Chinese and their families, while the Parián remained as the primary abode for non-Christian Chinese.4

  • 5 See Terry Abraham and Priscilla Wegars, “Urns, bones and burners: overseas Chinese cemeteries,” Aus (...)
  • 6 See Lorelei D.C. De Viana, Three Centuries of Binondo Architecture 1594–1898, Manila: University of (...)

4Most Chinese immigrants wished to be buried in their home villages. A large number returned to China before dying to be buried there, or, if they died elsewhere, their bodies were eventually transported back to China for proper burial.5 But for those who, for some reason, could not be or were not buried in China, they were buried in the “church pavements, walls and atriums.”6

  • 7 Binondo was first placed under the patronage of San Gabriel, and its church was named after its pat (...)
  • 8 See Michaelangelo E. Dakudao, “The Development of Cemeteries in Manila Before 1941,” Philippine Qua (...)
  • 9 The provincial superior of the Dominican Order Fray Pedro de Yre, in reporting to the Audiencia why (...)

5Prior to the eighteenth century, in both the Parián and Binondo the Dominican friars had constructed a church and convent for the task of evangelization. Hence, baptized Chinese in these two parishes7 were buried either inside the churches or in the church grounds. For burial in or around the churches, the arrangement was divided according to class, with the wealthier people being buried inside the church while “commoners” in the “simple graves in the adjoining graveyard.” According to some authors,8 non-Catholics were cremated in the grounds of a Buddhist temple in the town named Bancousay (Bankusay) near the San Lazaro Hospital for lepers. It seems that there existed special cemeteries for infidels.9 Here we will focus on the remmants of Christian Chinese burial grounds in Binondo, Santa Cruz, Santa Ana, and University of Santo Tomas.

Binondo

  • 10 See Chinben See, The Chinese Immigrants: Selected Writings of Prof. Chinben See, in Teresita Ang Se (...)

6Beside the Binondo Church was a cemetery where the Chinese were buried and which existed up to the beginning of the twentieth century.10 Due to differences with the Dominican priests, Binondo Church became a “Filipino” Church and the Chinese tombstones were removed. Some broken pieces with visible Chinese inscriptions existed up to the 1980s. Some pavements are remnants of dismantled Chinese tombs hence the name piedra china. These piedra china pavements were cemented over during the renovation of the church and a valuable piece of Binondo’s history was regrettably lost then. Aside from a few fragments with Chinese characters, there is only one large piece of tombstone dated 1722 left at the front entrance of the church and belonging to a deceased named Dionicio Coqua. The Chinese characters were apparently deliberately erased. Some Binondo elders surmised that when the Dominicans asked for the removal of the Chinese tombs around the church, the Coqua family (most probably a prominent one), must have asked permission to have the patriarch’s grave remain in the Church and as a concession, the Chinese characters were erased (Plate 1).

7Its epitaph in Spanish reads:

aqui yaze/

Here lies

jvan dionicio/coqva.

Juan Dionicio Coqua

fallec. en  27 de f.de 1722.

who died on February 27 year 1722

8The deceased Coqua would most definitely be a Christian Chinese, as shown by the vertical Chinese inscription at the middle of the tombstone and most probably the hometown or province of origins on top.

Plate 1 – Tombstone of Dionicio Coqua, 1722

Plate 1 – Tombstone of Dionicio Coqua, 1722

Harper, Ana Maria L., Sta. Cruz Church: A Living Heritage. Manila: Sta. Cruz Parish Pastoral Council, 2004, Fig. 7.

Santa Cruz

9The Santa Cruz Church likewise has a few pieces of tombstones along its perimeters. One of them only records the cyclical year jiawu 甲午 (which coincides either with 1714 or 1774) of the Chinese calendar, while the inscription in Spanish gives the year 1719 leaving us with a puzzle. Its inscription reads (Plate 2):

[]鄧富官墓

Tomb of Deng Fuguan, Qing Dynasty

唐甲午歲孟冬穀旦立

erected during the first winter month of the year jiawu

esta sepultura es de/

This is the sepulture of

ivan ivgo fa/llecio en 9 de/

Ivan Iugo who died on

nobiembre/de 1719

November 9, 1719

Plate 2 – Tombstone of Deng Fuguan, 1719

Plate 2 – Tombstone of Deng Fuguan, 1719

Photo: C. Salmon, 2015

10Another inscription, undated, is that of a head of a Chinese community or capitan native to Huanggan, Longxi district, Fujian who had what seems to be a local name, transcribed in Chinese characters, and a Chinese name (Plate 3).

  • 11 吧蘭絲昔果三胃朥 may be identified as the Hokkien transcription of Francisco Samuel.

11The inscription reads:11

  • 12 Our thanks to professors José de Encarnação, Pedro Pinto, and Luis Filipe F. Reis Thomaz who kindly (...)

龍溪 黃柑

Longxi Huanggan

甲必丹吧蘭絲昔果

Tomb of Capitan Ba-lan-si-guo

三胃朥張賢官之墓

San-wei-lao, Zhang Xianguan9

sepultura/del. cap. fr.co12

Sepulture of Cap[itan] Fr[ancis]co

Plate 3 – Tombstone of Cap[itan] Fr[anci]co (undated)

Plate 3 – Tombstone of Cap[itan] Fr[anci]co (undated)

Photo: C. Salmon, 2015

  • 13 See Anna Maria L. Harper, Sta. Cruz Church: A Living Heritage, Manila: Sta. Cruz Parish Pastoral Co (...)

12The history of Santa Cruz Church coincides almost with the formation of the Chinese community in the Philippines. In 1590, when the Jesuit Rector, Antonio Sedeño, searched for arable land outside Intramuros to support the College of Manila, he found the swamps and marshes beside Binondo. He leased the land to Christian Chinese and Tagalogs who worked the fields planting rice, corn, and sugarcane. Named after the Holy Cross by the Jesuits, the entire area became a mission village with one or two priests ministering to four hundred Chinese and a hundred natives. The Jesuits’ facility with the Chinese language enabled them to help a Chinese Christian community flourish. In just forty years, a prosperous and growing class of mestizo de sangleyes emerged who contributed heavily to the Santa Cruz parish.13

Santa Ana

13Two other eighteenth century tombstones were unearthed nearby the Santa Ana Church in Manila. The piedra china tombstones used to hang at the basement of the church.

14Santa Ana was one of the oldest residential districts in Manila located at the banks of the Pasig River. It used to be a busy marketplace, where cascoes (small wooden boats) traversed the Pasig River to sail all the way to the Laguna de Bay. In 1966, a pre-hispanic graveyard and an extensive array of Chinese ceramics and trade wares were unearthed in the inner patio of the church and surrounding areas by a team of archaeologists of the National Museum led by Robert Fox. It is not surprising that two large pieces of intact tombstones were uncovered in the area. One was dated 1744 (Qianlong 乾隆 9), the other piece had no reign of the emperor, only the cyclical characters xinhai nian 辛亥年 which may be equated to 1731 (Yongzheng 9) or 1791 (Qianlong 56). Whether it was 1731 or 1791, together with the 1744 piece, these two items are among the oldest existing tombstones in the Philippines. The artifacts and tombstones were said to have been moved to the National Museum of the Philippines.

  • 14 Go Bon Juan 吳文煥 and Teresita Ang See 洪玉華 (eds.), Heritage: A Pictorial History of the Chinese in th (...)

15The inscription of the first one which was published14 reads:

東厝

District of Haicheng, village of Dongcuo

乾隆九年

9th year of Qianlong

雷示陳貴官墓

Tomb of Luizo, Chen Guiguan

男范孫

erected by his two filial sons

孝男英   同立

Fansun and Ying

女珍娘

and his daughter Zhenniang

aqui yaze luizo

Here lies Luizo

  • 15 Teresita Ang See, “Culture, Tradition or Religion,” Tulay Fortnightly, Vol. XXIV, No. 3, July 5-18, (...)

16The Santa Ana district in Manila is unique in that aside from the tombstones and Chinese ceramics unearthed in the area, the district also has the Chinese shrine for the Santa Ana Lao Ma, also known as the Virgen de los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Abandoned). This figure is worshipped as the Catholic Virgin Mary, and at the same time is also the Lao Ma or the Chinese goddess Mazu and worshipped as the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin. While religious syncretism is a prevalent practice in the Philippines, this Santa Ana deity is probably the only one worshipped as a Catholic, Buddhist, and Daoist figure at the same time.15 The presence of this figure in Santa Ana attests further to the strong presence of a Chinese community in the area and the Chinese tombstones found in the church is therefore expected.

University of Santo Tomas

17The biggest tombstone still extant, which dates back to 1818, is located as center piece on a pocket garden at the main entrance of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Sampaloc district, Manila. It measures 67 cm x 130 cm (26.5 in x 51 in), with flower designs at the four corners. The bottom part is blank, which could be the part that was buried on the ground. Its inscription is rather blurred and the names of the deceased children are illegible.

甫山

Fushan (village of origin)

嘉慶歲次戊寅年桐月吉旦

Jiaqing wuyin by an auspicious day of the 3rd month

顯妣甲必丹娘微沓吳氏之城

Tomb of our beloved mother Vita, wife of capitan Uy

孝男…….

    同立

Erected by her five filial sons and five daughters…

孝女........

18What these tombstones, mostly bilingual, in Binondo, Santa Cruz, and Santa Ana, and UST have in common is the presence of Christian names. As mentioned earlier, during the Spanish occupation, the Chinese were forced to live within the Parián and only those baptized as Christians could live outside. That those tombstones were found in the churches showed that the families were baptized Christians. The sons and daughters likely were Christianized and products of mixed marriages. The presence of the village or place of origin in China and the Chinese dates (using the reign of the Qing dynasty emperor) were concessions to the Chinese origins of the deceased or the surviving immediate relatives.

The Move Toward Extramural Burial Grounds

  • 16 Dakudao, “The Development of Cemeteries,” p. 140.
  • 17 See Xavier Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas. El cementerio, escenari (...)
  • 18 A Royal Ordinance was issued in 1807 for this cemetery to be built, but it took years before “Manil (...)
  • 19 See Lorelei De Viana, “The World of the Necropolis: Public Sanitation and Cemeteries in 19th Centur (...)
  • 20 See Paul A. Rodell, Culture and Customs of the Philippines, Westport, CT; London: Greenwood Press, (...)
  • 21 Atkinson, The Philippine Islands, 1905, p. 224, describes the cemetery as follows: “On the thick, s (...)
  • 22 Atkinson, The Philippine Islands, pp. 223-4. Mallat, The Philippines, pp. 342-43, describes that th (...)
  • 23 According to the report made by the Philippine Commission, the Paco and La Loma cemeteries were pla (...)

19The Enlightenment in Europe resulted in new ways of thinking about hygiene and the public management of health and sanitation. A Royal Ordinance from the king of Spain issued on 27 March 1789 decreed that cemeteries in Spain should be built in the outskirts of the cities.16 This provision was applied to the colonies, including the Philippines, in another royal decree issued on 15 May 1804. The dead were not to be interred in parishes; and instead be buried in cemeteries located at some distance from the city and that were “well-ventilated, enclosed by a wall or a fence and marked by a cross.”17 The first “extramural” cemetery to be built in Manila was the Paco Cemetery. Built in 182318 after a cholera epidemic struck Manila and its environs, this cemetery became the “resting place of…Spaniards, indios, and mestizos who came from the different parishes [of] Yntramuros, Binondo, Quiapo, San Miguel, Santa Cruz, Sampaloc, Tondo, Ermita, and Malate.”19 Circular in shape, the Paco Cemetery had two concentric walls containing three levels of niches for the dead. In between the walls was a walkway and an elliptical chapel stood in the center of the cemetery.20 Here, burial also was stratified, with Spanish governors and bishops buried inside the chapel, and the Spanish insulares or peninsulares, as well as influential mestizos in the inner circular wall niches.21 Natives were buried in the outer circular walls, although they were buried between the “other and the inner circles” and were “interred without coffins.”22 The cemetery was closed in 1912 during the American occupation and was left uncared for years.23 It was formally declared as a National Park in 1966 (Plate 4).

Plate 4 – Niches inside the desecrated Paco Cemetery

Plate 4 – Niches inside the desecrated Paco Cemetery

Photo: C. Salmon, 2015

  • 24 Mallat, The Philippines, p. 341. In 1859, “as a result of [another] cholera epidemic that ravaged M (...)
  • 25 Dakudao, “The Development of Cemeteries,” p. 143.
  • 26 Dakudao, Op. cit., p. 144.

20However, it should be noted that before the Chinese cemetery was built, the Catholic Chinese were also interred in this cemetery.24 With the coming of many British merchants in the nineteenth century, an English cemetery was established in San Pedro, Macati, in the 1860s.25 Other cemeteries include those in Santa Cruz, Balic-Balic (Sampaloc), Tondo, Maytubig, Malate, Pandacan, and Santa Ana, which were all closed by 1913.26

Foundation of the Chinese Cemetery of La Loma

  • 27 See Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 5758, National Archives of the Philippines, Manila, folio S581. It (...)
  • 28 In the nineteenth century, the “properly documented” cases of cholera include the years 1820, 1821, (...)
  • 29 Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas.
  • 30 See Exhumaciones 1850–1878, Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel 1357033. Why this was so could not b (...)

21On 25 November 1843, the Governor General of the Philippines issued a decree that authorized the establishment of a Chinese cemetery in La Loma.27 The reason for the creation of this cemetery may have been connected to the cholera epidemic that struck Manila and its environs in the same year.28 In line with the specific recommendation that extramural cemeteries be built on land not only far enough from a populous place but that it also be built at an elevated place so that the wind could blow away the miasma, which was thought to spread the disease,29 the choice of La Loma in the district of Santa Cruz as the burial ground was ideal. The cemetery is situated two kilometers north of Manila and sits on hilly land. Moreover, the cemetery was established initially for Catholic Chinese due to one of the provisions of the decree that prohibited the burial of the Christian Chinese in Paco.30

  • 31 Lim was from “Liang Kui, Cheong Chiew 龍溪,漳州in Fujian. See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Associati (...)
  • 32 See Edgar B. Wickberg, The Chinese in Philippine Life, 1850-1898, Quezon City, Philippines: Ateneo (...)
  • 33 Wickberg, The Chinese in Philippine Life, p. 185, writes that in the mid-1850s, the Chinese goberna (...)
  • 34 See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, p. 5.
  • 35 See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, p. 5.

22In the 1850s, Lim Ong 林旺,31 running for gobernadorcillo of the Chinese, (called capitan 甲必丹 by the latter), promised in his campaign to buy more land for the cemetery.32 The reason for this expansion was the need for more space to bury victims of the “Chinese epidemic,” i.e., cholera, that struck the Islands in 1854. Lim fulfilled his promise upon being elected to the position.33 This expanded plot of land in the cemetery was called “dian chuy” 沾水 or zhanshui in Mandarin which literally means “dabbed with water” but refers to the act of being baptized.34 The reason for this monicker was that Lim Ong as capitan of the Chinese community of Manila had to be baptized, i.e. with holy water.35 In time, this section was called as such in order to distinguish it from the area where non-Catholic Chinese were buried.

  • 36 His Chinese name is “楊君尊親and his full name is Mariano Fernandez Yu-Chingco (sic). See Feilubin hu (...)
  • 37 See Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 5758, folio S581.
  • 38 See, for example, the Chinese in Malaya in Lee Kam Hing, “State Policy, Community Identity, and Man (...)
  • 39 See Richard T. Chu, Chinese and Chinese Mestizos of Manila: Family, Identity, and Culture, Leiden a (...)

23In 1876, gobernadorcillo Mariano Fernando Yu Chingco (or Yang Zunqin) 楊尊親36 and the leaders of the gremio de sangleyes (guild of the Chinese) sent a petition to the Governor General seeking permission yet to further expand the cemetery.37 As in Malaya and in other European colonies in Southeast Asia, the number of Chinese settling in the colonies began to grow in the latter part of the nineteenth century.38 In 1864, the total number of Chinese in the Philippines was placed at 18,000. Twelve years later, the number was up to 30,797, half of whom lived in Manila.39 On 19 June 1877, the Spanish Governor General approved the petition but imposed certain conditions, as will be described in some detail below.

  • 40 See Wickberg, Chinese in Philippine Life, p. 185. According to Philippine-Chinese Charitable Associ (...)
  • 41 The term 仙山, which literally means “Mountain of the Immortals,” is presumably an euphemism for “cem (...)
  • 42 See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, p. 5; and Feilubin huaqiao, , p. 56.
  • 43 Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, , p. 56.
  • 44 Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 20269, folio S666B.

24In early 1878, Yu Chingco “bought a tract adjacent to the previous cemetery from the Provincial of the Dominican Order” at a cost of 14,000 pesos.40 This lot with its improvement was commonly known as the Chinese cemetery and hospital on the “Sin Sien Sua” 新仙山41 or the “new cemetery”.42 Hence, the earlier plot of land in the cemetery became the “old cemetery” or “Ku Sien Sua 舊仙山.43 The division of the Chinese cemetery into the “old” and “new” can also be seen in a document dated 7 June 1878 stating that the provincial of the Dominican order José Hevia Campomanes received the sum of money to sell east of the “old Chinese cemetery” (antiguo Cementerio de Chinos).44

  • 45 Wickberg, Chinese in Philippine Life, p. 185.
  • 46 See Exhumaciones 1850–1878, Reel 1357033.
  • 47 See Exhumaciones 1850–1878, Reel 1357033. While it is not explictly stated in this case that the ce (...)
  • 48 Ignacio Sy Jao Boncan died on 23 May 1889, at the age of fifty-five, while Vicente Romero Sy Quia o (...)
  • 49 Another source mentions that the Chinese cemetery was also a place where “(v)ictims of the numerous (...)

25According to Edgar Wickberg, by 1880 the “Chinese of Manila had a community cemetery” and the major function of this cemetery was to provide a place to “bury the poor.”45 However, this statement by Wickberg needs to be qualified. As seen in the previous paragraphs, the cemetery was first established to bury the Catholic Chinese, and historical records demonstrate that they, who were mostly well-to-do, continued to be buried in the “old” section of the cemetery. For example, in May 1872, Adriano Chio-Sontiang, a Catholic Chinese living in Binondo, declared that he wished to transfer the mortal remains of his “very beloved father” the Chinese Christian Don Antonio Alberto Chio-Gosiang found in a niche of the General Cemetery of Paco to a “tomb that (he) was constructing in the Christian Cemetery of La Loma.”46 Francisco Ong Machi made on 5 May 1874 a similar request to have his father José Castro Ong Chengco’s body exhumed and transferred from the “Cementerio general de Manila” [i.e., Paco] to the “Cementerio de Loma.”47 Visiting this section of the cemetery today, one can find the tombs of other Catholic Chinese such as Vicente Romero Sy Quia (Plate 9) and Ignacio Sy Jao Boncan (Plate 10).48 Thus, to qualify Wickberg’s statement, by 1880, the Chinese of Manila indeed had a community cemetery for both the wealthy and the poor, the Catholic and non-Catholic.49

Erection of a Cemetery Temple, the Chong Hok Tong

26The Chong Hok Tong 崇福堂 or “Lofty Fortune Temple” was built for worshipping purposes (Plates 5-6).

Plate 5 – Overview of the Chong Hok Tong as it stood in 2011

Plate 5 – Overview of the Chong Hok Tong as it stood in 2011

Photo: Anson Yu

Plate 6 – Interior of the Chong Hok Tong in 2011

Plate 6 – Interior of the Chong Hok Tong in 2011

Photo: Anson Yu)

  • 50 See Wickberg, The Chinese in Philippine Life, p. 185; Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, p. (...)
  • 51 The officers of the Chinese Charitable Association said an exact replica of the steles was ordered (...)

27Its interior sheltered Buddhist and Daoist as well as Christian deities, while ancestral tablets were displayed on lateral altars. Gobernadorcillo Carlos Palanca Tan Quien-sien 陳謙善 (d. 1901) is credited for financing and building the temple. It was built at a cost of 33,980 pesos,50 and was fashioned after South Fujian-style temples as well as those found in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan. However, it was appended by two lateral synchretic structures for the hanging of two European style bells, as recorded in the stele of 1879 enlisting the expenses related to the development of both the cemetery and the building the sanctuary (see Appendix 1). This stele, along with two other, one recording the names of donors and the amounts they donated (broken and hardly decipherable), and the other the rules and regulations of the cemetery, also erected in 1879 (see Appendix 2), were sheltered inside the temple. During the demolition of the sanctuary on 12 March 2015 to give way to a new structure, these three tablets were badly damaged, and for one even broken into several pieces (see Plates 7 and 8), and are presently locked inside a temporary edifice at the back of the former sanctuary.51

The Cemetery Complex as Mirror of Chinese Unity52

  • 52 Our thanks to Claudine Salmon for contributing this section of the essay.

28Although the stele recording the names of some 890 donors and entitled Chuangjian xin xianshan juanti fangming 創建新仙山捐題芳名 is damaged, and difficult to read (plate 7), one may nevertheless glean some insights into the structure of the Chinese community of that time. The fact that since the development of the old cemetery Christian and non-Christian may be buried inside a common burial ground, even if inside separate sections existed, allows us to perceive within the community a certain number of groupings, of leaders, and of individuals.

29As regards the groupings they are related to the place of origin in China. The migrants fall into two main groups: the people from Fujian, and those from Guangdong. The first were in turn divided according to their districts of origin: Jinjiang 晉江, Nan’an 南安, Tongan 同安, Longhai 龍海, Yongtai 永泰, Huian 惠安, Haicheng 海澄, and Anxi 安溪 which allows us to presume that they had in Manila their respective associations which collected the contributions made by their members. The migrants from Guangdong, far less numerous, were regrouped into a single association named Guangdong huiguan 廣東會館.

Plate 7 – Two steles recording the lists of expenses for the New cemetery and the temple, and of the donations, 1879

Plate 7 – Two steles recording the lists of expenses for the New cemetery and the temple, and of the donations, 1879

Source: https:// www.dropbox.com/sh/wv7eypgfi69w8od/AADvzlrs8le9zuvywAlkDWHEa?dl=0

30Among the biggest donors we notice also the names of three firms big enough (perhaps wholesalers involved in import export) to contribute independently, namely Shunfa hang 順發行, Shangjia hang 上架行, and Changhe gongsi 長合公司, the cabecillas (or towkays 頭家) of which remain unknown.

  • 53 Wickberg, The Chinese in Philippine Life, pp. 200, 249.

31More difficult is the question of the community leaders. If the names of Tan Quien-sien Carlos Palanca, and that of Yu Chingco appear (without their title of capitan) in good position among the board founding members, we find amidst donors the names of five capitans (with their titles). Only two can be identified: the first Tan Chuey-liong 陳最良 who, according to Wickberg is no other than Capitan Carlos Palanca,53 the second, Yu Cing 楊親 or Yu Chingco. As for three others, Huang Bang 黃邦, Zeng Zhu 曾祝, and Ye Dan 葉丹 (who is listed among the administrators as Ye Naidan 葉迺丹), they do not appear in other sources. The composition of this elite group whose members for the most part were recent immigrants may explain why the cemetery regulations they formulated were so Chinese group oriented.

32The rest of the list records a great majority of male individuals who appear under their Chinese names so that it is impossible to differentiate the Christians from the non-Christians.

Plate 8 – Third stele recording the New Cemetery Rules and Regulations, 1879

Plate 8 – Third stele recording the New Cemetery Rules and Regulations, 1879

Source: http://www.dropbox.com/​sh/​wv7eypgfi69w8od/​AADvzlrs8le9zuvywAlkDWHEa?dl=0

Plate 9 – Tomb of Vicente Romero Sy Quia at the Chinese cemetery in La Loma, 1884

Plate 9 – Tomb of Vicente Romero Sy Quia at the Chinese cemetery in La Loma, 1884

Photo: Richard Chu, 2015

Plate 10 – Tomb of Ignacio Sy Jao Boncan at the Chinese cemetery in La Loma, 1889

Plate 10 – Tomb of Ignacio Sy Jao Boncan at the Chinese cemetery in La Loma, 1889

Photo: Richard Chu, 2015

Administration of the Chinese Cemetery

  • 54 See the article of Lee Kam Hing in this issue.

33As in British Malaya, the responsibilities of managing the cemeteries fell under the responsibility of municipalities or sanitation boards, and who in turn “were responsible to the state governments.”54 The Chinese cemetery of La Loma was under the jurisdiction of the district of Santa Cruz, which was answerable to the Ayuntamiento de Manila (Municipal Government of Manila).

  • 55 Chu, Chinese and Chinese Mestizos, p. 109.

34In terms of the governance, the Spanish colonial government assigned the Chinese gobernadorcillo or the capitan to take charge of the Chinese cemetery of La Loma. In 1870, the gremio established the Shanju gongsuo 善舉公所 or the Chinese Charitable Association.55 In the stele of 1879 concerning the regulations (Appendix 2) the term used to refer to this association seems to be Gongli suo 功力所 or Hall of the Merits. Through this association, the Chinese leaders oversaw the operations not only of the Chinese cemetery but also the Chinese hospital, and later on, the Anglo-Chinese school.

  • 56 The donors’ list includes the names of Ong Yek Pin (Wang Yibin 王翼彬), identified as Simon Ongpin, wh (...)
  • 57 The division on this map consisted of an “old plot of land belonging to the gongli suo” or jiu gong (...)

35A closer examination of the new rules and regulations set forth in 1879 gives us an idea of how the association was supposed to run the cemetery. For instance, specific dimensions were provided in terms of the size of each burial plot. Another set of rules pertains to who could be buried in the land of the Hall of Merits, including the prohibition of burying anyone who was indio (Appendix 2, Paragraph 6). However an exception was made for the brother-in-law of Capitan Ongpin,56 namely Doroteo Ricafort (and his close family) who facilitated the establishment of the cemetery (Appendix 2, Paragraph 8). The burial plot of the gongli suo was also divided into two, one for the Christians and another for non-Christians (Appendix 2, Paragraph 7). A map from the “General Report of the Chinese Community for the Years 1933-1937” demonstrates where exactly these two plots were located, i.e., just west of the Chong Hok Tong.57 Finally, the new guidelines also outlined the duties of the cemetery watchman, as well as of the capitan and the other administrators (see Appendixes 1 and 2).

  • 58 Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas.
  • 59 See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, pp. 5-7.
  • 60 Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas.

36As other studies have pointed out, the Catholic Church never stopped being involved in the administration of these “secular” cemeteries.58 This also was true in the case of the Chinese cemetery. When in 1877 gobernadorcillo Yu Chingco petitioned the Spanish authorities to allow the expansion of the Chinese cemetery of La Loma, the Spanish government approved the petition but attached certain conditions. These conditions included the creation of a board to assist the Chinese capitan, and whose members consisted of not only the Governor General and other important members of the Spanish community but also Dominican priests who were to be designated by their provincial superior.59 As Huetz de Lemps points out,60 even with the transference of the administration and maintenance of cemeteries from the hands of the Catholic Church to the civil administration, the civilian authorities, wary of handing total control of cemeteries over to the natives, and recognizing still that cemeteries could not be divorced from religious practices, accommodated church demands and involvement in the running of cemeteries. Hence, it is not surprising that directives sent by the civilian government to the leadership of the Chinese gremio contained matters of concern belonging to the realm of the Catholic Church.

Record Keeping

  • 61 See Defunciones de Chinos, Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel no. 1213058, item 3.
  • 62 Defunciones de Chinos, Reel 1213058, item 3. In the Genealogical Society at Utah, under the index h (...)
  • 63 De Viana mentions a Junta Superior de Sanidad or Bureau of Health that acted in conjunction with th (...)

37An archival document from 1870 shows a report from the district that listed the number of the dead, according to ethnicity (Spaniards, Spanish mestizos, indios, Chinese mestizos, Christian Chinese), interred daily in its cemeteries.61 Various reports were collected and tabulated by the Beneficencia Municipal de Manila (Municipal Charity of Manila) under the office of the Governor General.62 Records show that by 1889 a General Inspector of Welfare and Health, a division of the Civil Administration, had already been established to check compliance by municipalities or sanitation boards with local ordinances or decrees.63

  • 64 It should be noted that the Protestant foreigners were buried in San Pedro Macati.
  • 65 See Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 5758, folio S961. The department also stipulated that the governmen (...)

38In mid-1889, the General Inspector of Welfare and Health proposed that the burial of the Chinese (and of Protestant foreigners) could only be conducted with proper medical certification that would attest, among other things, to the cause of the person’s death.64 Such a practice was mandatory for those buried in other Catholic cemeteries and was being enforced so that the government could collect “demographic and health statistics…with the ‘greatest accuracy’.”65 Hence, upon the death of a certain Chinese individual, the following documents were submitted to the city government: 1) the cedula de capitacion personal or head tax certificate of the deceased; 2) a signed document from the Chinese gobernadorcillo certifying the death of the person; and 3) the medical certification from a doctor citing the cause of death.

  • 66 See Defunciones de Chinos, 1890-1897, Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel no. 1716604, item 3. It se (...)
  • 67 See Defunciones de Chinos, 1890-1897, Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel no. 1716604, item 3.

39The head tax certificate of the person contains his place of birth, age, marital status, profession, and address.66 The gobernadorcillo’s certification of death includes a statement from the Chinese gobernadorcillo certifying the death of a certain person; date of death; number of the deceased in the Chinese register; his head tax certificate number along with his tax classification and the date of issue of the tax certificate; and his burial place.67

  • 68 See Defunciones de Chinos, Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel no. 1213058, item 2.

40As for the doctor’s certificate, the following information are found: name of the Chinese doctor; name of the deceased; age; street address; patente personal number; time of death; cause of death (in both scientific name and “equivalent”); signature of the Chinese doctor (in both Chinese and Roman alphabet); signature of the Chinese gobernadorcillo; and signature of two “principales.”68

  • 69 See The Chinese Cemetery, Genealogial Society at Utah, Reel no. 1407481.

41The Chinese gremio kept its own records. An item from 1898 shows that the list kept by the gremio contains the name of the deceased, date of death (both in Chinese and Western calendar), whether they were buried in the old (舊義山) or the new cemetery (新義山), where the burial plot is located; and place of birth (including some that indicate “unknown” or buzhi 不知.69

Issues in Running the Chinese Cemetery

42But even with the civil administration and the Catholic Church closely watching over the administration of the Chinese cemetery and making sure its operation conformed to civic and moral norms, problems were bound to arise. Some of these issues could be found in the records found under “Sanidad de Cementerios”. Below is a description of some.

  • 70 Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas.
  • 71 See Sanidad de Cementerios 1814-1898, National Archives of the Philippines, folios S278-S278B. It c (...)
  • 72 See Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 5758, folio S722.

43One of the conditions that Spanish civil authorities provided for the setting up of an extramural cemetery was its proper fencing. This was to prevent people from considering it as a public space or from animals digging up the remains of the dead.70 However, it seems that the fence was not always maintained. On 5 April 1889, the alderman designated as inspector of cemeteries reported to the corregidor (mayor) of Manila that on the previous day some Chinese had set fire around the premises of the cemetery and burned down most of the bamboo fencing encircling the cemetery. One of those who set the fire was detained but was released the following day after the Chinese gobernadorcillo paid a fine of ten pesos. The gobernadocillo was cited for failing “to exercise due vigilance” over these individuals and ordered to rebuild the fence.71 Furthermore, in 1895 the archbishop of Manila pointed out to the Governor General that the administration of the Chinese cemetery was “extremely irregular” and that the Chinese cemetery should “not be exempted from having an enclosure, as this was prescribed by both canonical and civil law, in order to observe hygiene, create a better view, and to avoid the desecration of graves [by animals].”72

  • 73 Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas.
  • 74 It has been noted by other studies that Spanish missionaries often complained about the sincerity o (...)
  • 75 See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, p. 6.
  • 76 See Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 5758, folio S729.

44Apart from considerations for hygiene, issues related to public morality and religious beliefs directed the running of the Chinese cemetery. As mentioned above, even though extramural cemeteries in the nineteenth century fell under the jurisdiction of the civilian government, the Catholic Church continued to play a role in the administration of the cemeteries.73 The observance of proper conduct within the premises of the Chinese cemetery was naturally a concern of the Catholic Church which was troubled by the observance of Buddhist or non-Christian rituals in the cemetery. Studies have shown that even Catholic Chinese observed such “paganistic” practices.74 Hence, the Catholic Church made valiant efforts to make sure that its converts were not “contaminated” by the “infidels” by keeping the two separate, not only in life but also in death. When the Governor General of the Philippines in 1877 approved gobernadorcillo Yu Chingco’s request to expand the Chinese cemetery, he, voicing out the concern of the Catholic Church, reminded the gobernadorcillo that—as had been instructed in the Superior Decree of 25 November 1843—Christians and “heathens” should be buried separately. The governor also reminded the gobernadorcillo that the latter should ensure compliance with this instruction.75 Eighteen years later, in an apparent non-compliance with the directive of the civil administration by the Chinese administrators of the cemetery, the archbishop of Manila was again calling for an “adequate separation [to be] maintained between the two sides of the cemetery, i.e., one for the Catholic and the other for non-Catholics, with separate entrances.”76

Conclusion

45The aim of this essay is to provide a historical overview of the different Chinese burial grounds in Manila during the Spanish colonial period. Prior to the nineteenth century, baptized Chinese were buried in various cemeteries located within church premises. But as the population of Chinese immigrants and their families increased, and as civil authorities grew more concerned with observing and promoting proper sanitation and hygiene within the colony, extramural cemeteries were created.

46An examination of these burial grounds during the Spanish colonial period leads us to certain conclusions about the Chinese community in Manila and its individuals, as well as the Spanish colonial regime. For one, it can be seen that the Chinese, especially the Christian converts, managed to combine both Hispanic/Catholic and Chinese practices when burying their dead. This is a precursor of the East-West architectural styles and hybrid religious practices seen in the Chinese cemetery today. Furthermore, a look into the set up of the Chinese cemetery, including its rules and regulations, points to how the Chinese community’s leadership exercised control over its members in life and death. Donating money for charitable works and working closely with the Spanish authorities on behalf of their constituents provided these leaders with status and authority, as can be seen in not only their designation as administrators of the cemetery but also their privileges in deciding where to bury their dead.

47Today, this combined concern for the worshipping of their dead and demonstrating their status within the Chinese community could help explain the often ostentatious or opulent display of wealth in the mausoleums of today. This is especially true in the days when the Chinese in the Philippines could not even own land due to lack of citizenship. The only way to demonstrate filial piety and raise their public status is to build opulent mausoleums as a way of showing gratitude to their forebears who sacrificed so much to lead to their successes today.

  • 77 For a study of Spanish policy toward non-Catholics and their burial sites, see Xavier Huetz de Lemp (...)

48Another observation that can be made about the Chinese burial practices of the Manila Chinese is that when it comes to burial grounds, they do not have the same divisions based on ethno-linguistic and regional differences as seen in Malaysia. This can be explained by the predominantly Hokkien population of the Chinese community. The relatively fewer number of people from Guangdong and other areas were subsumed under the Hokkien leadership. While ethno-linguistic and regional differences did not produce a distinct separation in burial practices, the Spanish colonial regime, through the Catholic Church, tried to maintain a division as a way to exercise control over its subjects, by continuously insisting on the separation of the burial grounds between converts and non-converts, as it had done in terms of their settlement.77 But having to rely on its Chinese colonial subjects who, while converts to Catholicism, did not necessarily share its concern about upholding Catholic teachings and had their own agenda, weakened its capacity to ensure that non-converts would not “contaminate” its Christian subjects. Studies have shown that Spanish missionaries often complained about the lack of sincerity of Chinese converts in practicing Catholicism while alive. In the end, these converts and their families continued to defy Church authorities in observing familial and religious practices that they themselves considered meaningful and important, even in death.

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Annexe

Appendix 1

新仙山開用條目

Expenses for the New Cemetery and Chong Hok Tong

Purchase of a piece of agricultural land of Luo Mingjiao, for road-building

14,000.00

Purchase of Chinese stones for boundary lines

341.00

Water removal and small works on boundaries

169.00

Hiring of workers to repair the old road(s)

705.00

Hiring of workers to cut trees and clearing of the plot of land

1,300.00

Building of new roads and stone bridge(s)

1,300.00

Purchase of stones and hiring of workers

1,000.00

Construction of earthen walls and sewers

1,100.00

Construction of Chong Hok Tong

8,060.00

Construction of a house at the rear of Chong Hok Tong

850.00

Construction of arched structures in bricks on both sides of Chong Hok Tong

655.00

Construction of a fence in bamboo and nipa or thatch palm

558.00

Cutting of six stone steles78

112.60

Training of the foremen and purchase of rice and condiments

2,060.00

Decoration work for Chong Hok Tong

285.00

Hanging of inscribed horizontal tablets and introduction of furniture

107.00

Altar candle holders & paraphernalia

163.00

Altar lamps

44.00

Engraving of the 6 steles

183.00

4 pieces of glass mirrors

50.00

Digging of a well and construction of a stone margin

178.00

Levelling of farm lands and removing of stagnant water

342.00

Water for Chong Hok Tong

326.00

Wine, calesa fare and gift for compadre

84.20

Cold water for dinner

126.00

Decorative painting by Su Feng

63.60

Two bells

75.00

Flower pots and plants for the garden

151.00

Planting of trees around the perimeter

250.00

Transport of the steles

311.00

Coconut oil [for lamps]

24.40

Erection of further inscribed tablets and addition of furniture

60.00

TOTAL EXPENSES

33,980.00

TOTAL DONATIONS

31,302.00

OTHER ADVANCES from Carlos Palanca & Yap Longkim

2,678.3079

Chinese [calendar] Fifth year of Guangxu, year yimao, third extra month, Sixth day.

Spanish [calendar] 27 April 1879.

(Stone erected by the board of administrators. For the complete list of names, see Appendix 2)

Appendix 2

新仙山條規章程
New Cemetery Rules and Regulations

The Chinese upon completion of the New cemetery set strict rules and regulations so that order and procedures followed to avoid chaos.

1. The new burial site is a public cemetery, gongzhong 公塚, hence the graves, xue , which will be numerous, should not exceed 5 miao ,80 in length and 4 in width. If a filial son or grandson finds the size small and narrow, he can buy one more site, but the grave construction must follow the rule of making it quadrilateral. Two pesos, yin , must be paid to the capitan, jia-bi-dan 甲必丹, who should issue a receipt.

2. The construction of the mound, dui , should be as customary i.e., high structure is not allowed so that it does not obstruct other graves. Those who violate the rule will be denounced by the public. If the family of a deceased try to use their connections to violate the rule and make an illicit transfer, their children and grandchildren will be cursed.

3. The guard or administrator of the cemetery should always listen to the capitan and discuss resolutions among trustees. He must not transact with outsiders. The capitan and trustees should not use their position or authority to make illicit transfers [of graves] lest they be denounced by the public. 

4. The trustees, the capitan, the two officials in charge of the treasury kuguan 庫官, and those who donate 100 pesos, yuan , are allowed to be buried at the land belonging to the Hall of Merits, Gongli suo 功力所.81 

5. As for the capitan, two trustees, and two officials are in charge of the treasury, their parents, brothers, wife, parents-in-law, children, and grandchildren are also allowed to be buried at land of the Hall of Merits. For those who donate 100 pesos and above, parents, wife, children, and grandchildren can be buried there too.

6. The burial land belonging to the Hall of Merits can be used by trustees, past and present capitans, two old treasurers, and those who donated 100 pesos and above; but for their daughters, both husband and wife can be buried there if they are documented as Chinese or Chinese mestizo. Natives, fanren 番人, cannot be buried there. If a person uses influence or connection to force the issue, he will be publicly denounced.

7. The burial land belonging to the Hall of the Merits comprises two separate sections: one for those who are baptized, which is called zhanshui di 沾水地 or “burial land for Christians” and another one for non-Christians, for the two groups should not be mixed together.

8. The process of establishing the new cemetery was very complicated. The son-in-law of Capitan Ongpin 王彬, Lang Lo-lo-tiu Le-ka-po 郎羅羅紬黎咖頗,82 contributed a lot. In gratitude, his mother, himself, his brother, wife, children, and grandchildren will be allowed burial here.

9. The cemetery guard cannot sell land belonging to the Hall of Merits or the public land and break rules by allowing illegal constructions indiscriminately. If discovered to be receiving bribes, he will be dismissed.

10. The new cemetery burial allows use of funeral carriage, Guanche 棺車; if pulled by six horses, the fee for each grave is 6 pesos, if pulled by four horses, 4 pesos, if two horses, 2 pesos. If carried by humans, only 1 peso. No one can break this rule. If one is found to charge extra, he will be dismissed.

11. The new cemetery guard should guard and patrol the trees and the vicinity within the stone walls. If there are natives who cut trees and change the stone boundaries; or cows or horses that have been allowed to enter the grounds trampling the tombs, the matter should be reported to the authorities. If the guard is found lazy and does not do his job to rove around the cemetery, he should be dismissed.

12. If a dead body is found abandoned by the roadside or if the hospital announces an unclaimed deceased body, the cemetery guard must immediately do the burial. If the caretaker is irresponsible and fails to do his job and the body starts to decompose and smell, so that the deceased cannot rest in peace, the guard will be fined 5 pesos (original not clear).

13. The mortar, huifen 灰分, used in burial will be charged four centavos, ba 犮 [Hokkien: poat] per dou 斗 [10 liters]. As for water, it will be half centavo for one dan 担 [50 kgs]. If the family of the deceased needs more, the guard should just provide. No need to charge more money so no quarrel will ensue. If the family members prepare or bring the materials themselves, they should be allowed to do so.

14. The land of the Hall of Merits does not allow outsiders, wairen 外人, to be buried. But if filial sons and grandsons want their parents to be buried there, we must understand their sentiments and burial can be allowed if they donate 120 pesos per grave.

15. The Chong Hok Tong 崇福堂 or “Lofty Fortune Temple” is an important place and it is fenced on four sides. Cows and horses are not allowed to be tied to the fence. The guard is responsible for the furniture and devices inside the temple and he shall be held accountable for any loss.

16. If a family wants a funeral coffin to be placed at the Chong Hok Tong, they shall be charged two pesos for each coffin, and the guards must prepare tables, chairs, water and tea for [members of the family and their guests].

The above rules were discussed before they were adopted and a stele erected in the hope that the Chinese obey them forever. Hence, those who use connections to avoid obeying or change the rules will be punished by heaven.

Chinese [calendar] Fifth year of Guangxu 光緒, year yimao 已卯, third extra month, seventh day.

Spanish [calendar] 27 April 1879.

Stele erected by the board of trustees whose names are:

Huang Guangpin 黃光凜, Chen Qianshan 陳謙善 (Tan Quien-sien or Carlos Palanca), Xu Zhilei 許志螺 (Co Chi-lui), Cai Yingzong 蔡迎宗 (Mariano Velasco Chuachengco), Wang Yipin 王翼彬 (Ong Yekpin or Simon Ongpin), Yang Zhaoji 楊肇基 (Yu Tiaoki or Yu Tiaoqui),83 Ye Naidan 葉迺丹, Ye Shangfang 葉上芳, Zeng Ruijue 曾瑞爵, Huang Dangbang 黃當邦, Yu Chingco 楊尊親 (Mariano Yuchingco), Ye Longqin 葉龍钦 (Yap Liong-quin), Lin Guanghe 林光合 (Lim Kong-hap or Limjap), Lin Zhangnai 林章獭 (Lim Chiong Nua, Limtuaco), Huang Zanpo 黃讚坡, Wu Kengguan 巫坑觀, Shi Taishan 石泰山, Su Zanfeng 蘇讚楓,

Lang Lo-lo-tiu Le-ka-po 郎罗罗紬黎加頗 [Don Doroteo Ricafort],

Se[or sai]-bi[or be]-lin-lo ka-li-ia 西未憐洛㖄加里也 [reads somewhat like Severino Sacaria].

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Notes

3 See Teresita Ang See and Richard T. Chu, “An Overview of Binondo History,” in Marya Svetlana T. Camacho (ed.), Manila: Selected Papers of the 20th Annual Manila Studies Conference July 28-29, 2011, Manila: Manila Studies Association, 2012, pp. 206-228. According to Xavier Huetz de Lemps, there is some confusion on whether to consider the Alcaicería de San José, a Chinese “ghetto” built within the walled city of Intramuros in 1783, a “Parián,” since it was not technically a designated residence for non-Catholic Chinese to reside in. Instead, it was a place where only a limited number of Chinese was authorized to work and live in. Following this line of reasoning, the existence of the last Parián ended in the 1780s, when it was destroyed. Email communication 11 February 2016.

4 However, this division in abode was not strictly adhered to, in that non-baptized Chinese could live in Binondo too.

5 See Terry Abraham and Priscilla Wegars, “Urns, bones and burners: overseas Chinese cemeteries,” Australasian Historical Archaeology, 21 (2009), pp. 58-69. The case of a person dying and temporarily buried while awaiting being shipped back to China is another question that needs to be looked into. Where were the bodies temporarily placed?

6 See Lorelei D.C. De Viana, Three Centuries of Binondo Architecture 1594–1898, Manila: University of Santo Tomas Press, 2001, p. 158.

7 Binondo was first placed under the patronage of San Gabriel, and its church was named after its patron saint. Later on in the seventeenth century, its patroness became the Nuestra Señora de Santissimo Rosario (Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary). When the Parián Church was demolished in 1784 it was annexed to the San Gabriel Church in Binondo. See Ang See and Chu, “An Overview,” p. 211.

8 See Michaelangelo E. Dakudao, “The Development of Cemeteries in Manila Before 1941,” Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, 20 (1992), p. 140; Jean Mallat, The Philippines. History, Geography, Customs, Agriculture, Industry and Commerce of the Spanish Colonies in Oceania. Trans. Pura Santillan-Castrence. Manila: Historical Institute, 1994 (Orig. pub. 1846), pp. 143-144; and Lorelei D.C. De Viana, Three Centuries of Binondo Architecture 1594–1898, p. 158.

9 The provincial superior of the Dominican Order Fray Pedro de Yre, in reporting to the Audiencia why the Christian Chinese who participated in supporting the British against Spain in the Seven Years War of 1756-1763 should be expelled, wrote that they were untrustworthy converts who “burned their dead and buried them in cemeteries designated for infidels.” Cited in Salvador P. Escoto, “Expulsion of the Chinese and Readmission to the Philippines: 1764-1779,” Philippine Studies 47 (1999), p. 52.

10 See Chinben See, The Chinese Immigrants: Selected Writings of Prof. Chinben See, in Teresita Ang See (ed.), Manila: Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran, Inc., 1992, pp. 288-290.

11 吧蘭絲昔果三胃朥 may be identified as the Hokkien transcription of Francisco Samuel.

12 Our thanks to professors José de Encarnação, Pedro Pinto, and Luis Filipe F. Reis Thomaz who kindly transcribed and ascertained the inscriptions in Spanish.

13 See Anna Maria L. Harper, Sta. Cruz Church: A Living Heritage, Manila: Sta. Cruz Parish Pastoral Council, 2004, pp. 9-10.

14 Go Bon Juan 吳文煥 and Teresita Ang See 洪玉華 (eds.), Heritage: A Pictorial History of the Chinese in the Philippines. Wenhua chuan tong 文化傳統 FeiHua lishi tupian 菲華歷史圖片, Manila: Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran, Inc., 1987, p. 54.

15 Teresita Ang See, “Culture, Tradition or Religion,” Tulay Fortnightly, Vol. XXIV, No. 3, July 5-18, 2011, p. 15. Also Aristotle C. Dy and Teresita Ang See “Syncretism as Religious Identity: Chinese Religious Culture in the Philippines,” in Tan Chee Beng (ed.), After Migration and Religious Affiliation: Religions, Chinese Identities and Transnational Networks, World Scientific, 2013, Chapter 5, pp. 103-145.

16 Dakudao, “The Development of Cemeteries,” p. 140.

17 See Xavier Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas. El cementerio, escenario de tensiones entre el poder colonial y el clero (finales del s. xviii – finales del s. xix),” in Gonzalo Álvarez Chillida, María Dolores Elizalde and Xavier Huetz de Lemps (eds), Misión Católica y Poder Colonial. Cooperación y Conflicto en la Renovación de los Imperios Ibéricos (1808-1930), Madrid, Casa de Velázquez, Collection de la Casa de Velázquez, 2016 (forthcoming book chapter). 

18 A Royal Ordinance was issued in 1807 for this cemetery to be built, but it took years before “Manila’s faithful” stopped opposing its construction. A Chinese contractor built the outer portion of the cemetery for the sum of 19,000 pesos. Dakudao, “The Development of Cemeteries,” p. 143.

19 See Lorelei De Viana, “The World of the Necropolis: Public Sanitation and Cemeteries in 19th Century Manila,” Unitas 77 (2004), p. 93. See also Dakudao, “The Development of Cemeteries,” p. 263.

20 See Paul A. Rodell, Culture and Customs of the Philippines, Westport, CT; London: Greenwood Press, 2002, p. 93; and Fred Atkinson, The Philippine Islands. Boston, Chicago, New York, London: Ginn and Company, 1905, p. 223.

21 Atkinson, The Philippine Islands, 1905, p. 224, describes the cemetery as follows: “On the thick, solid walls are three parallel rows of horizontal recesses or niches, each capable of admitting a good-sized coffin, and here are deposited the bodies of those whose relatives are able to pay. After the funeral ceremonies and interment in one of these spaces the entrance is bricked up and a plate fixed outside stating the name and age of the lonely occupant. He is thus left undisturbed for a period of years, at the expiration of which time the bones of the deceased are either buried in one of the churches or else taken from the coffin and thrown upon a bone pile in the rear of the cemetery.”

22 Atkinson, The Philippine Islands, pp. 223-4. Mallat, The Philippines, pp. 342-43, describes that the body “is enclosed in a bier made of hard wood or molave, with sufficient food, sipit, paper, candles and some other objects, and it is inhumed at ground level in Bancousay… and the spot is covered with stones. As a sign of mourning, during the ceremony they wear a black silk band around the neck. In China mourning is in white….”

23 According to the report made by the Philippine Commission, the Paco and La Loma cemeteries were placed under the city department and that niches or vaults in the former had been increased to 1,760, or “which 1,259 are reserved for adults and 501 for children.” See Bureau of Insular Affairs, War Department, Fifth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission. Fourth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission, Part 1, Washington: Government Printing Office, 3 parts, 1904, p. 594.

24 Mallat, The Philippines, p. 341. In 1859, “as a result of [another] cholera epidemic that ravaged Manila,” Governor General Fernando de Norzagaray expanded the cemetery to 4,500 square yards. See Ramón Ma. Zaragoza, Old Manila, p. 71. James, quoting Bantug, writes that the earliest outbreak of cholera in the Philippines dates back to 1628. In the nineteenth century, the “properly documented” cases of cholera include the years 1820, 1821, 1822, 1823, 1830, 1842, 1854, 1863-1865, 1882-1885, 1889-1889, while other dates were mentioned by Dean Worcester; namely, 1812, 1843, 1887, 1890, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1896 and 1897, though these were “not properly documented.” See Saliba James, “Cholera Epidemic and Evolution of Control Policy: A Look at the Spanish Era in the Philippines,” in Bernardita Reyes Churchill (ed.), Selected Papers of the Annual Conferences of the Manila Studies Association 1989-1993, Manila Studies Association, Philippine National Historical Society, and National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 1994, p. 130. Note that the year 1859 is not listed as neither one of the “documented” nor “improperly documented” case of cholera as listed in James’ study. Other cemeteries were subsequently built in a number of prominent towns.

25 Dakudao, “The Development of Cemeteries,” p. 143.

26 Dakudao, Op. cit., p. 144.

27 See Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 5758, National Archives of the Philippines, Manila, folio S581. It was under the governorship of Francisco de Paula Alcalá de la Torre, who held the position from 17 June 1843-16 July 1844, that this decree was issued. On 31 March 1875, José Segui, who was the Roman Catholic archbishop of Manila from 1830-1845, gave his blessing to this decree. See Exhumaciones 1850–1878, Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel 1357033.

28 In the nineteenth century, the “properly documented” cases of cholera include the years 1820, 1821, 1822, 1823, 1830, 1842, 1854, 1863-1865, 1882-1885, 1889-1889, while other dates were mentioned by Dean Worcester; namely, 1812, 1843, 1887, 1890, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1896 and 1897, though these were “not properly documented.” James, “Cholera Epidemic,” p. 130.

29 Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas.

30 See Exhumaciones 1850–1878, Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel 1357033. Why this was so could not be ascertained in the absence of an extant copy of the decree.

31 Lim was from “Liang Kui, Cheong Chiew 龍溪,漳州in Fujian. See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association 90th Anniversary, Manila: Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, 1968, p. 5; and Feilübin huaqiao shanju gongsuo: jiushi zhounian jinian kan 菲律賓華僑善舉公所:九十週年紀念刊, Manila: Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, 1968, 甲, p. 56.

32 See Edgar B. Wickberg, The Chinese in Philippine Life, 1850-1898, Quezon City, Philippines: Ateneo de Manila University, 2000 (Orig. pub. 1965), p. 185.

33 Wickberg, The Chinese in Philippine Life, p. 185, writes that in the mid-1850s, the Chinese gobernadorcillo and the principales requested permission to improve the road leading to the cemetery. However, this was not approved because “it involved the transfer of some land, which the Spanish were unwilling to allow.” Whether this request was made before or after Lim purchased more land for the cemetery is not clear.

34 See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, p. 5.

35 See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, p. 5.

36 His Chinese name is “楊君尊親and his full name is Mariano Fernandez Yu-Chingco (sic). See Feilubin huaqiao, Genealogical Society at Utah, 1939, Reel 1407489, 45. He was from Nan’an 南安. Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association 90th Anniversary, p. 5. A photo of Yu Chingco can also be found in De Viana, Three Centuries of Binondo architecture 1594–1898, p. 185.

37 See Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 5758, folio S581.

38 See, for example, the Chinese in Malaya in Lee Kam Hing, “State Policy, Community Identity, and Management of Chinese Cemeteries in Colonial Malaya” in this issue.

39 See Richard T. Chu, Chinese and Chinese Mestizos of Manila: Family, Identity, and Culture, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2010, p. 66.

40 See Wickberg, Chinese in Philippine Life, p. 185. According to Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association 90th Anniversary, p. 5, the date of purchase was 27 April 1878.

41 The term 仙山, which literally means “Mountain of the Immortals,” is presumably an euphemism for “cemetery.”

42 See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, p. 5; and Feilubin huaqiao, , p. 56.

43 Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, , p. 56.

44 Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 20269, folio S666B.

45 Wickberg, Chinese in Philippine Life, p. 185.

46 See Exhumaciones 1850–1878, Reel 1357033.

47 See Exhumaciones 1850–1878, Reel 1357033. While it is not explictly stated in this case that the cemetery in La Loma was the Chinese cemetery, the other “La Loma” cemetery, which was formerly known as the Binondo cemetery, was not built until 1884.

48 Ignacio Sy Jao Boncan died on 23 May 1889, at the age of fifty-five, while Vicente Romero Sy Quia on 9 January 1884. For more information about Boncan and Sy Quia, see Chu, Chinese and Chinese Mestizos, pp. 157-158 and p. 306, respectively. Today, the place is deserted and many tombs are neglected or deteriorating.

49 Another source mentions that the Chinese cemetery was also a place where “(v)ictims of the numerous cholera outbreaks were also buried” here. See Ivan Man Dy and Go Bon Juan, “Cemetery tales,” in Teresita Ang See et al. (Eds.), Tsinoy: The Story of the Chinese in Philippine Life, Manila: Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran, Inc., 2005, p. 226. However, it should be noted that the Paco Cemetery was also built specifically for this purpose. Was there a shift in colonial policy that designated the Chinese cemetery as the burial site for the deceased who died from communicable diseases? See Zaragoza, Old Manila, p. 71. And if so, why?

50 See Wickberg, The Chinese in Philippine Life, p. 185; Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, p. 6.

51 The officers of the Chinese Charitable Association said an exact replica of the steles was ordered from Huian, Fujian. Our thanks to Claudine Salmon for assisting in the translation of these steles.

52 Our thanks to Claudine Salmon for contributing this section of the essay.

53 Wickberg, The Chinese in Philippine Life, pp. 200, 249.

54 See the article of Lee Kam Hing in this issue.

55 Chu, Chinese and Chinese Mestizos, p. 109.

56 The donors’ list includes the names of Ong Yek Pin (Wang Yibin 王翼彬), identified as Simon Ongpin, who was in the board of members who supervised the construction and running of the cemetery and Chong Hok Tong. Doroteo Ricarfort was the husband of Raymunda Ongpin, sister of Roman Ongpin. Ongpin’s great grandson, Rafael Ongpin provided the above information.

57 The division on this map consisted of an “old plot of land belonging to the gongli suo” or jiu gongli di 舊功力地 and next to it a new one or xin gongli di 新功力地, both being located close to the Chong Hok Tong, on the left side. See “General Report of the Chinese Community for the Years 1933-1937,” Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel no. 1407489, item 8.

58 Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas.

59 See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, pp. 5-7.

60 Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas.

61 See Defunciones de Chinos, Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel no. 1213058, item 3.

62 Defunciones de Chinos, Reel 1213058, item 3. In the Genealogical Society at Utah, under the index heading “Binondo-Civ. Reg.” can be found an index of deceased individuals from various places, including those from Binondo. See Reel 1717420. These were microfilmed from the National Archives of the Philippines, and in each index can be found the name of the deceased; the year the person died; place and date of death; and record locator, i.e., where the record of the death is found. The records are found in a file named “Registro de Defunciones en todos distritos de Manila, 1856-1894.” These index cards are arranged alphabetically by name.

63 De Viana mentions a Junta Superior de Sanidad or Bureau of Health that acted in conjunction with the Municipal Government to oversee the health and sanitation situation in Manila. See De Viana, “The World of the Necropolis,” p. 106.

64 It should be noted that the Protestant foreigners were buried in San Pedro Macati.

65 See Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 5758, folio S961. The department also stipulated that the government should fix the amount that doctors could charge for such service.

66 See Defunciones de Chinos, 1890-1897, Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel no. 1716604, item 3. It seems that these documents were collected at the Beneficencia Municipal de Manila, as seen in http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Source:Manila_(Filipinas_:_Provincia)._Servicio_M%C3%A9dico._Defunciones,_1885-1895 For the digitized records pertaining to births, index to births, index to marriages, deaths, index of deaths, and number of those buried by cemetery, see https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https%3A%2F%2Ffamilysearch.org%2Frecapi%2Fsord%2Fwaypoint%2F3L72-HZ9%3A233582501%2C233937601%3Fcc%3D1935452.. It is also indicated in the Genealogical Society at Utah website that the documents belong to Bundle #6 from 1890-1897.

67 See Defunciones de Chinos, 1890-1897, Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel no. 1716604, item 3.

68 See Defunciones de Chinos, Genealogical Society at Utah, Reel no. 1213058, item 2.

69 See The Chinese Cemetery, Genealogial Society at Utah, Reel no. 1407481.

70 Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas.

71 See Sanidad de Cementerios 1814-1898, National Archives of the Philippines, folios S278-S278B. It could be surmised from the date of the event that the fire could have been caused by people celebrating a Buddhist holiday by setting off some fireworks.

72 See Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 5758, folio S722.

73 Huetz de Lemps, “La controversia de las sepulturas en Filipinas.

74 It has been noted by other studies that Spanish missionaries often complained about the sincerity of Chinese converts, pointing out the numerous times when the latter continued to practice non-Christian rituals after conversion. For instance, the provincial superior of the Dominican Order Fray Pedro de Yre, in reporting to the Audiencia why the Christian Chinese who participated in supporting the British against Spain in the Seven Years War of 1756-1763 should be expelled, wrote that they were untrustworthy converts who “burned their dead and buried them in cemeteries designated for infidels” (cited in Escoto, “Expulsion of the Chinese,” p. 52). For more information on the practice of Catholic Chinese in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period, see Chu, Chinese and Chinese Mestizos, pp. 145-178.

75 See Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association, p. 6.

76 See Sanidad de Cementerios, SDS 5758, folio S729.

77 For a study of Spanish policy toward non-Catholics and their burial sites, see Xavier Huetz de Lemps, “L’invisibilisation des sépultures non-catholiques dans les Philippines sous domination espagnole,” in Michel Lauwers et Aurélie Zemour (éds.), Qu’est-ce qu’une sépulture? Humanités et systèmes funéraires de la Préhistoire à nos joursxxxvie Rencontres Internationales d’Archéologie et d’Histoire d’Antibes), Antibes, Éditions APDCA, 2016 (to be published).

78 Only three steles have come to us. The original photo from the 90th anniversary Souvenir Program of the Chinese Charitable Association (1968) showed four steles. The fourth was a general description on filial piety and the need to bury the dead properly.

79 Note the slight discrepancy in the total numbers because of some indecipherable items.

80 The character , which in Hokkien reads biau or ba, may be a transcription for the Spanish vara, which means “yard.”

81 See footnote 57.

82 This Hokkien transcription refers to Don Doroteo Ricafort, the son-in-law of Simon Ongpin (Ong Yek Pin); for more detail, see footnote 56.

83 Yang Zhaoji is the grandfather of Alfonso Yuchengco.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Plate 1 – Tombstone of Dionicio Coqua, 1722
Crédits Harper, Ana Maria L., Sta. Cruz Church: A Living Heritage. Manila: Sta. Cruz Parish Pastoral Council, 2004, Fig. 7.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/docannexe/image/283/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 208k
Titre Plate 2 – Tombstone of Deng Fuguan, 1719
Crédits Photo: C. Salmon, 2015
URL http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/docannexe/image/283/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 308k
Titre Plate 3 – Tombstone of Cap[itan] Fr[anci]co (undated)
Crédits Photo: C. Salmon, 2015
URL http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/docannexe/image/283/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 272k
Titre Plate 4 – Niches inside the desecrated Paco Cemetery
Crédits Photo: C. Salmon, 2015
URL http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/docannexe/image/283/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 488k
Titre Plate 5 – Overview of the Chong Hok Tong as it stood in 2011
Crédits Photo: Anson Yu
URL http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/docannexe/image/283/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 364k
Titre Plate 6 – Interior of the Chong Hok Tong in 2011
Crédits Photo: Anson Yu)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/docannexe/image/283/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 252k
Titre Plate 7 – Two steles recording the lists of expenses for the New cemetery and the temple, and of the donations, 1879
Crédits Source: https:// www.dropbox.com/sh/wv7eypgfi69w8od/AADvzlrs8le9zuvywAlkDWHEa?dl=0
URL http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/docannexe/image/283/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 232k
Titre Plate 8 – Third stele recording the New Cemetery Rules and Regulations, 1879
Crédits Source: http://www.dropbox.com/​sh/​wv7eypgfi69w8od/​AADvzlrs8le9zuvywAlkDWHEa?dl=0
URL http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/docannexe/image/283/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 296k
Titre Plate 9 – Tomb of Vicente Romero Sy Quia at the Chinese cemetery in La Loma, 1884
Crédits Photo: Richard Chu, 2015
URL http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/docannexe/image/283/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 372k
Titre Plate 10 – Tomb of Ignacio Sy Jao Boncan at the Chinese cemetery in La Loma, 1889
Crédits Photo: Richard Chu, 2015
URL http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/docannexe/image/283/img-10.png
Fichier image/png, 1,1M
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Richard T. Chu et Teresita Ang See, « Toward a History of Chinese Burial Grounds in Manila during the Spanish Colonial Period »Archipel, 92 | 2016, 63-90.

Référence électronique

Richard T. Chu et Teresita Ang See, « Toward a History of Chinese Burial Grounds in Manila during the Spanish Colonial Period »Archipel [En ligne], 92 | 2016, mis en ligne le 01 mai 2017, consulté le 04 décembre 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/archipel/283; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/archipel.283

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Auteurs

Richard T. Chu

Five College Associate Professor, History Department University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Teresita Ang See

Executive Trustee, Kaisa Heritage Foundation, Manila

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Droits d’auteur

Association Archipel

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