Recording the Dead and Buried At Sampaloc

During the Spanish colonial period, parish priests played an important role in keeping population statistics related to the souls under their care. More importantly, parish priests kept track of the death and burial numbers for their parish.

As an example, Fr. Francisco Ortiz, parish priest of Sampaloc, signed a report dated September 21, 1899, listing down the name of parishioner who died the day before, the cause of death, and status (adult or child). The report lists down seven deaths for September 20, 1899, four of whom were children, two adults, and one unknown. Two died due to beri-beri, another two due to “eclampsia”, one each due to meningitis, consumption, and “euteritis.”


Names of Sampaloc Residents who Died on September 20, 1899 (Image: Philippine National Archives).

  1. Basilio Rivera
  2. Candio Bartolome
  3. Esteban Orribari
  4. Geimlino de Lara (?)
  5. Santiago dela Cruz
  6. Francisco Estanislao
  7. Basilia Mauricio

After updating the list of parishioners who passed away, the parish priest would need to update burial records as well. Fr. Mariano Duran, parish priest of Sampaloc, signed a report dated March 7, 1870 which indicated the number of burials done at the old Sampaloc cemetery from February 28 to March 6, 1870. Fr. Duran lists a total of 6 burials, all indicated as “indios.” The 1870 burial statistic form used required the parish priest to distinguish the deceased according to racial categories (Espanoles, Indios, Chinos). Some later versions of this form added a “mestizos” category.


Sampaloc Cemetery Burials (Feb 28 to March 6, 1870).



~ by Martin Gaerlan on October 31, 2006.

2 Responses to “Recording the Dead and Buried At Sampaloc”

  1. Is it true, that the site where the church and school of Holy Trinity Academy used to be a cementery?

  2. The site of the Holy Trinity Church and Holy Trinity Academy of Balic-balic stands on a one-hectare property that was formerly the town cemetery of Sampaloc, Manila.

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