Eversince I heard about Paco Park and discovered it was where Toni and Piolo shot a scene from their movie Starting Over Again with Iza Calzado, I put the place in my must-discover list in Metro Manila. I know it sounds too showbiz cliche but beyond the allusion to a local movie I wanted to discover what this place had in store. I knew it was historical but why I didn’t knew. So one sunny Sunday, I found myself making the short trip to Paco Park.
The park is actually an old cemetery back in the days when Intramuros was a vibrant city. It’s the final resting place of Manila’s high society. In fact I saw several tombs with gravestones still in Spanish. Although majority of the tombs have been sealed off, inhabitants probably moved, there are several which remained (I think).
Paco Park is also the burial place of the GOMBURZAS and Jose Rizal before he was moved to Luneta Park. The martyred priests were buried in a common grave while Jose Rizal was buried in an unmarked grave. His sisters had to look for him in various graves and when they discovered the correct one they marked it RPJ then later had the body exhumed. Upon exhuming they realized that he was buried without any coffin. His urn was kept in the house of his sister Nerissa before being buried in Luneta Park in 1912.
The park is a quaint, quiet place amid the bustling city. It’s a favorite venue for weddings although I find it weird to get married in a former cemetery more so to have your reception in the place. But when I visited there was an entourage having their reception in one of the enclaves and another one having their wedding pictorial long after their wedding ceremony has ended.
Will I return? Probably. To go for a leisure stroll, some introspection perhaps or maybe to have endless chat with a special someone.
Paca Park is open daily from 7am-5pm although there’s a mass on the chapel every Sundays at 6:00am, 5:00pm and 6:00pm. Entrance is P10 but it seems if you are just going there for the mass then entrance is free. Though how they distinguish whose there for the mass and there to stroll around is beyond me.