Living In Cemetery
Cemetery Is For Living
Like many urban areas, Manila is a city of stark contrast. The rich are "filthy" rich. And the poor are downright trodden. One-third of the 11 million people in Manila lives below the poverty line. You can find slums in any metropolitan city. But in Manila, Philippines, there is this particular place that is one-up on the slums. The Manila North Cemetery. It has become a dual purpose real estate, both for the dead and the living. And it has been such for a long time already. More than 10,000 families live in this cemetery, all hearty and alive! If you have nowhere to go, a cemetery can be the best option.
This cemetery is big, occupying more than 100 acres. The main areas are being kept clean by city workers, and the place offers a safer place than the other city slums. It all started with the caretakers hired by the rich to clean and guard the mausoleums. They eventually made the place their homes as well. Many dwellers have been staying there all their lives. One of them is Clare Ventura, a 28-year-old vendor and mother of three. Boyet Zapata, 42, also grew up there, maintaining tombs for several families. Roque Rapon, 60, has lived there since 1960, tending the tomb of former President of Philippines, Manuel Roxas.
Over the years, this "living cemetery" has become "developed" with basketball hoops, fast- food stalls, and even mini-markets tucked amongst the crypts and tombs. Outside groups have chipped in to help educate the children.
These people have no problems with the dead. But with the new-comers, Rapon has this to say, " I used to be afraid, especially at night. But now I'm more afraid of the living than the dead because some new comers are drug addicts and criminals who try to break into tombs and steal gold or jewellery from the dead."
Take a look at the photos below.
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