CemenTOURyo: An Afternoon Walk in the Garden of Stones

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.