(UPDATED WITH CORRECTION) A MINI amphitheater, green and open space, and old architecture are some of the features the public may see once the Doña Pepang Cemetery in Cebu City will be converted into a heritage park.

The Cebu City Government has an initial budget of P50 million for the rehabilitation works in the cemetery, and it will start once the area is cleared of illegal structures and settlers. Owners of the illegal structures are given until April 4, 2023, to vacate the area.

Cebu City Architect Eleazar Lipang, in an interview on March 27, said a small amphitheater will be built where tourists and visitors may gather, especially for events about heritage that will be held in the area.

Lipang said the old architecture of mausoleums in Doña Pepang Cemetery will be preserved and beautified to highlight them.

Lipang said there are currently around two mausoleums in the cemetery, aside from the one where the late first lady Estefania “Doña Pepang” Osmeña was buried, which boasts of old architecture.

Ramil Ayuman, special assistant to the mayor, said the City will not touch the mausoleums but will only beautify the place.

“What will happen to (the burial site) of Doña Pepang and other structures, paninduton na, dili hilabtan,” said Ayuman.

Aware of plan

Ayuman also addressed the concern of former mayor Tomas Osmeña that the City did not consult the Osmeña family.

Ayuman said there is no need to do so since the former mayor already knows about the plan, and it was he who had wanted to build a heritage site first.

The former mayor told SunStar Cebu on Sunday, March 26, that the Osmeña family was not consulted on the plans of the City to convert Doña Pepang Cemetery into a heritage park.

When Osmeña was still the mayor, he sent a letter to former Cebu Archbishop Cardinal Vidal to donate the cemetery lot to the city government so it could be converted into a heritage park, which the church eventually agreed to, according to Ayuman.

This was in 2008.

“He knows that that is the direction,” said Ayuman.

Ayuman also clarified that there are no longer corpses buried in the area, except for Doña Pepang and the other one who was buried in the year 2021. In an earlier report, Ayuman had said there were around 2,021 people buried in the cemetery.

Ayuman said most of the tombs there are already cleared and they will soon address the one who was recently buried there once they proceed with the site development.

The site of the Osmeña Mausoleum came to City Hall’s possession when the City entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cebu for the exchange of the City’s 729-square meter lot in Barangay Pasil with the archdiocese’s 9,282-square meter property in 2011.


[A correction was made on March 29, 2023: An earlier version of the story indicated that the cemetery was located in Barangay Carreta, and not in Barangay Tejero in Cebu City. But Mayor Michael Rama's special assistant Ramil Ayuman said that, in fact, the cemetery straddles the two barangays.]