Houses for the dead

Have you ever wondered what the building or house-like structures in cemeteries were called? They usually vary in structure and design. Some are as big as houses, even bigger while some are small, and can be as big as a regular room. These structures are varying per family in size, shape and design. Mausoleums are buildings/structures, which encloses the burial chambers of a deceased person.

The word mausoleum is derived from the Mausoleums of Halicarnassus, King Mausolus’ grave that is located in present-day Turkey. It is historically built as a resting place for people of influence such as leaders, but eventually became widespread with people of nobility in various countries. Mausoleums are large and exquisite and the structures are usually associated with religion. Recently, mausoleums are small buildings that contain walls, which encloses the burialchambers. Mausoleums are located either in churchyards, private lands or cemeteries. Modern mausoleums can also be used as columbaria, a mausoleum for the remains of the cremated, which are usually placed in urns.

The Mausoleums of Halicarnassus is one of the most notable mausoleums in the world. It was built around 350 B.C., but due to several earthquakes and other external factors, it was destroyed around 1522 A.D. The mausoleum was higly influenced by Egyptian, Greek and Lycian  designs. The structure was built as a tribute to the King by his queen and sister, Artemisia, making one of the grandest mausoleum in the world and also, associating this with one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The best architects, sculptors, craftsmen and workmen were imported in different places in order to create this structure. This structure was situated on a hill that has a great view of the city. For around 17 centuries it hassurvived earthquakes, city attacks, invasions of pirates etc,until the Crusaders, who does has little respect for the culture finally ruined the structure making it unrecognizable. Other popular Mausoleums include St. Peter’s Basilica, Westminster Abbey, Taj Mahal, Lenin’s mausoleum and several others as well.

Another one of the most notable mausoleums in the world is the Quezon Memorial Circle. This was built for the late former President Manuel L. Quezon, the second President of the Philippines. It is where the late president’s remains are currently located. This monumental structure took over four decades before it was completed. It is situated in the middle of the Elliptical Road in Quezon City, a very diverse road that can easily access the whole Q.C. area, such as North Avenue,Quezon Avenue, Philcoa, etc. Q.C. Memorial Circle is also considered as a national park, a tourist destination where anyone can ride bike, can jog and can have a picnic.

Mausoleums can also be a sign of wealth and prosperity, as it is expensive to own and constantly maintain them. It can also be a reflection of the characters of the family, depending on the design. The designs of mausoleums depend on the family’s preference, culture or religion. There are some mausoleums that indicate what kind of culture the living family members. Some are designed as those similar to the Chinese temples, usually painted with red, green and white, like those of Buddhist or Taoist temples. One example of a mausoleum that is designed based on theperson’s religion is that of the Manalos. The design is patterned to that of an Iglesia Ni Cristo church.

The family of the founder of the INC church, Felix Y. Manalo, owns the mausoleum. Although the remains of Felix Y. Manalo are not buried there, his deceased family members remain in that mausoleum. The Manalo family’s mausoleum is currently located at Loyola Memorial Park, Marikina.

Inside the Manila Chinese Cemetery, there are also popular people who are currently resting in that area. It is the second oldest cemetery in Manila (1879), next to the cemetery in Paco (1820). Through the years, the prominent Chinese people interred their dead, and soon became a private cemetery,  which was acquired by the Philippine- Chinese Charitable Assocition Inc. The prime movers were Don Carlos Palanca Tanchueco and Lim Ong tandem, which they also purchased both the Chinese cemetery and the Chinese General Hospital. Don Domingo Yu Chu’s family also has a mausoleum in the Chinese cemetery. This Filipino-Chinese educator found UNO High school, and helped in the establishment of Chang Kai Shek College. He was not just an educator, he was also a businessman and philanthropist. It is one of the most popular and massive mausoleums in the cemetery because of its 3-4 story-high building with green tile roofs, tombstones that are imported from Italy, Chinese fu-dogs that guard the main entrance and the statue of Don Domingo Yu Chu.

Another popular mausoleum belongs to Mr. Ma Mon Luk (also known as the Mami King), along with his two wives on his sides. He was a salesman, showman and a cook, which at present, owns three fully functional restaurants near Banawe, near Quiapo church and Quezon City and in Benavides (Masuki).

Although expensive, there are a lot of mausoleums that are still existing and are well maintained around the country.  It has a lot of different styles/designs which makes each of the mausoleums grand and unique. When visiting the cemetery, it is hard not to look at these structures because of the exquisite beauty. Despite of its expensiveness especially with maintenance of the place, families still make efforts to spend on these lots also because it they usually want to keep the family together, even if they are deceased already. Some families reconstruct and add floors, some are cremated and placed on the sides of the main tombs wherein the first and the most prominent family member rests, or they also place the remains of the newly deceased with those of the previous people who reside in the main tomb.

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This entry was published on March 20, 2012 at 6:34 AM and is filed under Housing, Loyola Memorial Marikina, Religion. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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