Sunken Cemetery and Old Vulcano
The stories of Old Volcano and the Sunken Cemetery are closely tied together. In 1871 a strong earthquake made slide the cemetery in the sea and destroyed an ancient Spanish church. Both lay between the sea and the Old Vulcano. The path up to Old Volcano is a "Via Crucis", Stations of the Cross.
Time and Distance
From Mambajao it is less than 10 kilometers. But be warned, the road may be closed. See also: Island Roundtrip.
The visit of the church and the cemetery do not take more than half an hour. But you should go snorkeling or diving around the Sunken Cemetery, so add another hour. The Via Crucis may take an hour if you want to see all stations. To get on the top of Old Volcano needs at least 2 hours.
Swimming suit, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen for everybody. Snorkel, mask and fins for exploring the Sunken Cemetery. If you go up to the Old Volcano we recommend good shoes and enough to drink.
What to see
Sunken Cemetery: You cannot miss this landmark, a giant white cross in the sea. The cross marks the place of the cemetery, which is now some meters under water. Divers and snorkelers: see also "What to do".
Spanish Church: There are only the outer walls left from this 17th century church The dimensions of the remaining walls surprise. Why did the Spaniards build such a large church in such a remote place. Inside the walls there is now a modest chapel.
Via Crucis: You do not need of Christian religion to admire this unique "Stations of the Cross". This is monument by its size. All the stations are composed of man high white statues. The first 4 stations lay in a shadowy forest and the steps and path are of concrete. After station 4 the concrete turns into a mud path and instead of large trees you only find bushes. So beware of the burning sun. The view from the top of the path is worth the climb up to the last station.
1. Jesus is condemned to death
The stations are not exactly the traditional stations described below:
2. Jesus receives the cross
3. Jesus falls the first time
4. Jesus meets His Mother
5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
6. Veronica wipes Jesus' face with her veil
7. Jesus falls the second time
8. Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the third time
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus' body is removed from the cross (Pieta)
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense.
Old Vulcano: If you have already made the way up to the last station of the Via Crucis, then you may want to continue up to the peak of Old Vulcano. Please see below.
What to do
Sunken Cemetery: If you are a snorkeler or a diver you may want to explore this site. Dive depth is between 5 and 20 meters. Underwater you may expect healthy soft and hard corals populated by different marine lives, a flat slope reef towards right side direction. The population is built of Batfish, Cuttle Fish, Octopus, Schools of Rudder Fish. It's an easy dive site without any dangers such as strong currents.
Old Vulcano: The path starts with the concrete steps of the Via Crucis, turns then in a large path which gets smaller and smaller. The vegetation changes gradually as you get higher. On sea level you find palm trees and hardwood trees. Afterwards it turns into bushes and higher up you find grass land.
There are food stalls and souvenir shops at the foot of the Via Crucis. Most important: You get cold drinks (even a beer).
- Rent a motorcycle at your resort PHP 400 a day
- Rent a motorela (tricycle) PHP 800 a day
- Rent a
multicab PHP 1000 to 2000, half day/day)
Entrance and others:
For PHP 50 per head, the boatmen bring you over to the giant white cross.