After to read an article about people living in the cemeteries in Manila, I was curious to see the reality.

Manila is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, as migrants from the countryside have been looking for better opportunities. On arrival, the majority find little work and nowhere to live except self-built communities. Some of these slums have developed inside public cemeteries.

People sleep in haphazard shanties built on top of graves, or inside mausoleums. It’s free, but there are no basic services such as sanitation, electricity and clean water, let alone adequate shelter.

Cemetery slums have existed here since the 1950s, and generations of families now live in Manila North, the oldest and largest cemetery in the city. An expansive 54 hectares (133 acres), it is home to an estimated 6,000 slum-dwellers from 800 families, as well as one million dead. 

As I visit Manila several times a year, I decided to start this journey. The project lasted for three years and was carried out at the cemeteries of North Manila, South Manila, Navotas and Manila Memorial Park.


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