Paco Park
Belen Circle, Paco, Manila

Other sources say Paco Park is actually still within the district of Ermita (not within Paco’s). Since it’s Paco Park and not something else, let’s believe it’s in Paco. To try defining the boundaries of Manila’s districts is a little difficult. Aside from Pasig River, which  conveniently divides the 9 northern districts to the southern 8, there may be virtually no notable seperating entity at all. So far, I haven’t seen a map that clearly divides one from another and a political map, which would go well on the baranggay description in Wikipedia, isn’t available either.

Moving on with the today’s picture, it’s the famous Paco Park. To those who know less about the park other than its semi-landmark status and its function as the venue of the longest running televised performance show that is Concert at the Park, Paco Park may be any park but a memorial park. The thing is, it is. Or more appropriately, it was. When old Manila was technically speaking restricted to what was within the thick walls of Intramuros (which would be around late 1700) its municipal cemetery would be this one- Paco Park.

It mostly contained deceased members of the more affluent families and an outer ring was later installed to make room for more dead bodies. In 1882, it contained the victims of a cholera outbreak. Jose Rizal, the most famous National Hero had been to Paco Park as well immediately after his execution in Luneta. In 1912, Paco Park is no longer a cemetery. The dead bodies (or what remained from them) staying in Paco Park have been excavated by their relatives and transferred elsewhere.

Paco Park played a significant role for the Japanese side during the war as a central depot for its ammunitions. Its adobe walls prove beneficial for their defense. Coincidentaly, Paco, then known as Dilao, had always been Manila’s sort of Japantown even way before the war.

Now it’s just a park frequented by locals, student residents and tourists. But with the nice little chapel kept intact through ages, it’s a top spot for garden weddings. Nevermind the hollow walls which niches used to occupy, some couples actually think the idea is romantic.

Like nearby Adamson University, Paco Park’s affairs is managed by the VIncentians.