CemenTOURyo: An Afternoon Walk in the Garden of Stones

Last updated on October 30th, 2020 at 07:21 am

I have been a history buff ever since and always find it fascinating to know someone else’s history.  One thing that makes it interesting is that you get to relive the moments of past historic events. I am not a Cebuano native so I find every bit of Cebu history interesting and something worth knowing.

Last  2015, Ka Bino Guerrero, a Heritage Interpreter friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in joining him on Cemetery tour.  I have participated in his other tours but the Cemetery tour rung a bell. It’s not that I’m afraid but its something beyond the norms and it’s also a good opportunity to take my photography hobby to another level. So CemenTOURyo came to life and with a couple of art-loving friends, we walked into the stone gardens of the not-so creepy yet intriguing and history-rich Donya Pepang, Carreta and Cebu Chinese cemetery.

The name CemenTOURyo is a combination for Cemetery and Tour. It’s supposed to be a combination of Sementeryo and TOUR but when you merge the two, you will end up with SemenTOURyo which we think a bit odd and kinda not interesting since “Semen” means different… 😀 you know what i mean.

For this year, we decided to give the photo tour another shot. We did little twist on the tour and we incorporated Halloween. Most of Ka Bino’s tours are not free, so for CemenTOURyo, we required participants to bring goodies as their registration for the tour.

Donya Pepang Cemetery

This cemetery was built for Don Sergio’s first wife, Doña Estefania Chiong Veloso-Osmeña. The cemetery highlights the Osmeña Mausoleum in which most of the Osmeña’s are buried.  Other notable figures in the Donya Pepang Cemetery are the resting places of the Cuencos, Jarez, Garcias, Ramos, Escaños, Briones, Pelaez, Noels, Aznars and Climacos.

Carreta Cemetery

This is one of the biggest cemeteries in Cebu. This cemetery is overflowing and there are coffins stacked six (6) levels high. This is also home to the Veterans Plot, a grave plot for the World War 2 (WW II) veterans and the Asociacion Benefica Espanola de Cebu,  an area intended for the Filipino-Spanish families in Cebu.

In Carreta also, you can see most of the finest lapida (tombstone) makers in Cebu. Aside from being graveyard caretakers, making lapida (tombstone) is mainly the source of income of the people that resides in the area.

Cebu Chinese Cemetery

If you speak of culture and class in terms of graveyards, the Cebu Chinese Cemetery is the place to visit. This place is home to the resting places of the prominent Chinese names in Cebu such as the ancestors of the owner of Chong Hua hospital, Gaisano, Gothong and other notable Chinese families. This is the place where you can witness ancient Chinese burial traditions, from signs and symbols to shapes and forms, truly an interesting place for those who are not just into history but also for photography enthusiasts.

Treat O’ Treat

This is one of the fun part that made CemenTOURyo a photo tour unique in all aspect. Aside from the overwhelming information being shared by Ka Bino, the group handed out goodies and treats to the children who are living in all of the three (3) cemeteries we visited. Seeing the smiles of the children made our sweating walk truly a refreshing one.

Truly the CemenTOURyo was an awesome experience. Personally, the event made me love to know to more of Cebu a notch higher. Also, my daughter got the opportunity to learn and explore not just in photography but with Cebu’s history as well.

If you wish to experience CemenTOURyo, please don’t hesitate to send us a message or simply use the comment form below.


Photo Credits:
Ley Sanchez
Jinky Jayme
Michael Andree
Antoine Navz
Roy Encenzo


Herbert Kikoy

Surigaonon by birth, Butuanon by heart and now an adopted son of Cebu, Herbert is a hobbyist photographer who focuses on Food, Sports, Travel and Festivals photography.

23 thoughts on “CemenTOURyo: An Afternoon Walk in the Garden of Stones

  1. Oh, I love Cebu too! One of the most beautiful and historic places I’ve been too in the PH.I would love to experience CemenTOURyo on my next visit to Cebu. I booked a trip to Cebu on my birthday and I hope I can still make it.

  2. I would love to take this tour! I enjoy cemeteries and in New Orleans we have a few cemetery tours, so I know I enjoy them. I would like to see the Chinese cemetery the most. I would also like to meet the headstone designers.

  3. This is something that I have yet to do. I am afraid of cemeteries but there are a lot to capture in these kinds of places. I guess I will have to muster the courage to try the cemenTOURyo the next time I visit Cebu. Good job with the pics, btw.

  4. Same pinch!!! I’m a history and heritage buff too, esp a sucker for UNESCO sites!!! So, good to know you!! Interesting places. Esp, the particular tomb in the cemetery that has a Pieta sculpture atop is very intriguing!!!

  5. I’ve never been on a cemetery tour, so this really caught my attention. At first I thought it was going to be one of those ghost tours so I was surprised that it focused more on tradition, culture and history. Although I’m a sucker for anything supernatural, I also think this type of tour is pretty refreshing and unique as well. Great pictures by the way! 🙂

  6. First of all, I looove the name cemenTOURyo. So clever! I have only ever visited one cementerio in Argentina
    Its huge and very impressive. I reallt enjoyed your article and photos, so unique.

  7. That’s an interesting afternoon! I haven’t visited the cemetery in the past other than to bury relatives. But this is a unique way to celebrate the Chinese New Year. 🙂 Looks like you all had fun.

  8. This is something unique. Usually, cemeteries are only visited during Nov. 1 and family members are gathered to remember their departed relatives. Some may not even get any visit from their families at all. With this tour, it will get busy anytime of the year and will have an interesting twist with the histories of the place to tell. Nice pictures!

  9. I’ve been fascinated with cemeteries especially cemeteries with history. I also shared a visit to a cemetery in Copenhagen in my blog. It felt surreal to see Hans Christian Andersen’s tomb. I like your play on words “cementouryo”. Brilliant!

    1. Hi KT.. It’s really intriguing knowing that a notable person is buried there and whats more interesting is that you get to know more information about that buried person

  10. Although I found your article fascinating (I enjoy exploring cemeteries myself) what I adored the most about this post was your images.

    Your photography is simply sublime! Your style is almost a little like photo-journalism which is great because your images tell a story! I’m looking forward to devouring more of your posts and gorgeous work! 🙂

  11. I love the idea of CemenTOURyo. It’s something new and really interesting. I haven’t heard about it, the whole concept of cemetery tour but sure it excites me to give it a try one day. I have visited Careta before. I hope to be able to visit the two places soon. Anyhow, how is the cementouryo done? I am quite interesting with the tour. hahhaa

  12. When is the next CemenTouryo Kuya? Hehehe! Would love to join again. I find it hard to choose a favorite cemetery. All of them have something nice to photograph man gud. Hehe!

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