The Paco Park, or Paco Cemetery, was originally a municipal cemetery for the well-heeled and established aristocratic Spanish families who resided in the old Manila, or the city within the walls of Intramuros during the Spanish colonial era. Construction started in the last 18th century but only completed in 1822. The final resting place of the three Filipino martyr priests, Jose Burgos, Mario Gomez and Jacinto Zamora, who were executed by the Spanish in 1872 is also located here. But the most famous of person who was once buried here is Dr. Jose Rizal after his execution in Bagumbayan. He was buried in an unmarked grave until his remains were exhumed and transferred to Luneta. In 1912, burial or interment at the Paco Park ceased and in 1966, the park was declared as a National Park during the term of Diosdado Macapagal.
Today, the park is a popular wedding church with the St. Pancratius Chapel used for the wedding ceremony. It is not actually a church but a chapel originally designed for last rites during burials. But since converting the cemetery into a public park and promenade, it has become popular for teenage sweethearts because they could spend quiet and intimate moments along the park’s benches and private alcoves.
St. Pancratius Chapel
The church has a nice facade and an egg-shaped ceiling. It is very small and ideal for intimate weddings. The chapel is under the care of the Vincentian fathers who also manage the nearby Adamson University.
Video of Anye and Venjo by Jason Magbanua
Things to Note on Weddings At Paco Park
- Ideal for Intimate Weddings – The St. Pancratius Chapel is so small, it can barely fit 100 people inside. Everybody can hear everyone and you won’t need any sound system for the priest(although it is still recommended to have one).
- Limited Parking Slots – the park is located near on a relatively busy thoroughfare so a lot of people park their car within the vicinity. That means limited parking for visitors and guest. Get ready to dole out some money to Parking Boys
- No Choir Loft – there’s simply no space for it inside the egg-shaped chapel
- Airconditioned – since it’s a small confined space, it’s ideal for air-conditioning
- Fisheye Lens Recommended- In order to capture the interior of the chapel, a fisheye lens is almost mandatory. The thick walls of the chapel and the small area inside severely limits the angles for the photography shots.
- Short Walk – If you want to walk on a red carpet, you should start the procession from the outside of the chapel. It is not uncommon to see brides walking from the fountain outside. Actually, it is the most recommended way so that the bride and entourage will have indoor and outdoor shots
- Fountain is Stunning – The large fountain with the park grounds is just beautiful and timeless.
- Money shot – Tell the photographer to take some pictures form the top of the cement chairs outside. This overhead shot will give a different perspective of an otherwise ordinary shot
- Do the Group Picture Outside – It is always recommended to do the group pictures outside due to limited space inside the chapel. Photos of small groups (i.e, immediate families) can be taken inside the chapel, though.
- Sunset Shot at Manila Bay – Don’t forget to take some photos in Roxas Blvd and Bay Walk. Paco Park is in close proximity to the famous sunset so it’s not a real effort to go there. Besides, it is highly likely that you’ll drive by Roxas Blvd towards your reception so better take the opportunity.
Nearby Reception Venues
- Within Paco Park grounds – bring in your own caterer and have the party inside the park. Less hassle to you and your guests
- Diamond Hotel
- Palacio de Maynila
- Manila Hotel
- Father Blanco’s Garden
- Patio Victoria in Intramuros
- Puerta Real Gardens in Intramuros
- Ramon Magsaysay Center
St. Pancratius Chapel
959 San Marcelino St. Paco, Mla
c/o St. Vincent de Paul Parish
525.7853 or 524.2022 loc 119
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