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Manila is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, according to official figures, about 22 million people live here. A giant metropolis with all the ensuing consequences. Poverty, crime, perpetual traffic jams and expensive real estate, which not everyone can afford, so people have to look for solutions to survive.

Let’s take a walk around the cemetery, on which ordinary people have been living for several generations. The cemetery is located near the center of the capital of the Philippines. Anyone can get here absolutely free of charge, but you will not be allowed to take pictures and upon exit they will be asked to delete all the photos. Almost all of the cemetery has video surveillance installed, so you will not be able to hide. I used the “black exit”, so I managed to save these frames.



The main entrance is notable for anything remarkable.

Yes, and the main street only resembles the street of a small town. If you don’t know that you are in a cemetery, you might think that you came to an Asian village.

Well, what is not an ordinary house? There is also a store nearby.

And here is the cafe. The usual Asian cafe.

Where is the cemetery? – you ask. And here it is!

Still not like that? That’s better?

The cemetery looks very unusual, all the graves are different from each other, often it is very similar to a competition whose grave will look cooler. There are even entire communes that have gone to the other world. As a rule, they are separated by a massive fence with a front door. Let’s go inside.

All these cells are places for those who have left this world.

In one such commune can be up to several hundred dead. Each grave is accompanied by a tombstone.

Young and living inhabitant of this place.

This is Rika. She is 5 years old and she was born in a cemetery. Local residents often lack money for such basic things as medicine and education, although the government and nonprofit organizations have recently provided all kinds of support to local people. See how the life of the Ricky family works. It has everything: a kitchen, a refrigerator, tables, water, a fan and even a clock on the wall.

Rika looks like a completely happy child, despite the extreme living conditions.

Move on. How did it happen that people began to live in a cemetery? As I said earlier, because of the global development of the city, housing prices have skyrocketed and not everyone can afford at least some housing, and the status of land in the cemetery allows anyone to live here for free. Want to live free on your site? Welcome to the cemetery in Manila!

Of course, not everything is as simple as it seems. To settle on someone’s grave, you need to agree with the relatives of the deceased, but, as a rule, agreements are reached without any problems. You only need to look after the grave.

how people live on the cemetery on Philippines

According to official data, up to 10,000 people live in the cemetery, more than half of which are children. There are many children here.

Lots of. Children play some kind of game on the pavement.

Move on. Crossroads in Asia are centers of attraction for people, even if there is nothing at this crossroads. So it is here. A man is still resting on the tomb.

Drying clothes on the fence of the grave.

Nice street.

Children at home. As a rule, in every such house life is fully equipped. People here cook food, sleep, wash and raise their children.

Children on home.

The children here are cheerful and happy, without exception.

Adults too. Here you can even meet people of non-traditional sexual orientation than in Manila, and everywhere in Asia, you won’t surprise anyone.

Charming Filipina near a small grocery stall. By the way, the cemetery is a zone free of taxes and other bureaucracy, so to open a store here, you just need to start selling something. Of course, you do not have to pay taxes. The so-called cemetery offshore.

Young businesswoman sells various sweets and cigarettes. Trading is one of the few ways to survive here for hundreds of people.

Children here live in the most severe unsanitary conditions, which greatly affects their health. Often tender children’s bodies are covered with various wounds, blisters and abrasions. Most children run barefoot around the cemetery.

Sisters at the grave of the couple Cruz.

Children go to school. In this they are assisted by the government, which established special benefits for residents of the cemetery. Education for local children is almost free.

We go further along a cozy street. Handsomely!

Slots for the dead. The cost of one place in this cemetery starts at $ 200. For this money, you will forever get a cozy apartment of 1 square meter.

Some graves are looked after, and some have been forgotten for a long time.

Straight multi-storey “residential” house.

Such a house with a small plot of land will cost from $ 500.

But for the especially rich and sophisticated, there are always alternatives. For example, the owner of this palace gave him a couple of hundred thousand dollars.

So the cemetery looks from a small height.

Lots of greenery.

And this is the old part of the cemetery, it is separated from the new one by a separate fence, so no one lives there, therefore it is all overgrown with greenery. Looks beautiful!

And this is Ramkari – a girl whom I accidentally met in a cemetery. Ramkari comes to the cemetery every day to visit his still living family. She herself lives in the city with her young man, whom she is about to marry.

Ramkari kindly told about life in the cemetery and showed the life of her family. Let’s go visit her.

Children bathe in the pool among the graves.

Children are insanely happy because the heat in the street is serious.

This is a tomb house, some family members live here. There is a table, wardrobe, beds, autonomous electricity, everything you need for a comfortable life. In total, the Ramkari family has about 20 people.

It’s a kitchen. Food is prepared right on someone’s grave. Appetizingly!

And this tomb became a table for these lovely children.

There are no problems with water in the cemetery, there are several sources of tap water, which the locals use for free, but you have to go for it not far, because there is no centralized water supply.

The government has several times raised the problem of residents of the cemetery, but could not do anything about it. The police even tried to drive people out of their homes, but people came back again because they had nowhere else to live.

As a result, people here have free housing and work. Many residents of the cemetery provide grave care services. Usually, they pay about $ 20 a year to look after one grave, and to earn $ 80 a month, you need to look after 50 graves a year.

Here all the necessary infrastructure is quite developed. There are shops, cafes, hairdressers, taxi drivers ride bikes and rickshaws, and even ice cream makers.

Mass grave of firefighters.

But someone built himself a grave in the form of a ship. Apparently some kind of sailor.

Happy childhood! Children have a place to roam!

In general, if we ignore the cemetery, then life here seems to be even not bad.

This is an ordinary life. Only among the dead.

Of course, this cemetery makes an incredible impression and changes the worldview. How much you can live in such a terrible place, while being so happy and cheerful. Happiness is not in money and iPhones, happiness is in close people! Take care of your loved ones!

You can help the residents of the cemetery by transferring any amount to the KKFI fund, which is engaged in supporting local residents.

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