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Saturday, November 21, 2020

The 20-Feet Deep Sunken Cemetery Of Camiguin

This is what happened at Barrio Bonbon, Catarman, Camiguin Island. Upon surviving the two eruptions of an underwater volcano in 1827 and 1862, where hundreds of the island's natives were killed, the survivors choose to stay with the island they grew up with Along with their hope that another eruption is unlikely for the succeeding years, they chose to stay on their island. Not until 1871. the destructive eruption happened, leveling everything it touches. 

Sunken Cemetery of Camiguin
Image: Atlas Obscura

And, of course, Barrio Bonbon is not an exemption. The area completely sank along with its cemetery known as the "Sunken Cemetery of Camiguin." This eruption also gave birth to another volcano that is named Mt. Vulcan, after an earthquake arises that submerged the lands. After 77 years, an explosion from Mt. Vulcan has struck the island again and sunk the area deeper than most people thought.

In 1982, a giant cross, made from corals and hardened lava, was recreated that follows the form of the old cross of the sunken cemetery to mark down the area that has been depressed. It was the neighboring townsmen's idea to commemorate the place and the people who died from the tragedy. They also held parades every November. Residents offer boats for people who want to see the area nearer and to stand on the base of the huge cross. It is a service that only costs Php 20.00 per head.

Sunken Cemetery of Camiguin
Image: Slater
Image:  Jonny Melon

Now, the area has been a famous go-to of travelers locally and internationally. It is also the most visited place on Camiguin Island and is always on the bucket list of people traveling to Camiguin. Visiting the area is completely free. Snorkeling and diving were also allowed to witness the ancient ruins of the cemetery and school of fishes with different species. Since the eruption has been long, 72 years ago, the corals were very abundant and almost covered the tombstones. 

Many reviews from the visitors have said that once your foot touches the base of the cross, a sudden feeling of loneliness and grieving will be felt. According to them, it seems they unknowingly empathize with the loneliness and grief of the dead. Some say that it is a terrifying thought to who that they are standing directly above hundreds of dead bodies. But some people find the place very beautiful where peace and tranquility resides. Nonetheless, the deaths who were first forgotten have been finally recognized, remembered, and visited by the locals and people around the world. 
Volcanic eruptions are very destructive and often pose a threat to human life and property. If you want to know more about the most destructive eruptions, read the following books: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester, Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens Book by Steve Olson, and The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano That Darkened the World and Changed History by William K. Klingaman

Written by Yna Barcia, IFY Books

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