“Living with the Dead: Manila’s North Cemetery”
I am applying for the POYi Emerging Vision Incentive to continue my project Living with the Dead: Manila’s North Cemetery.
In the center of this bustling city of 11 million people, lies the North Cemetery. The final resting place of several Filipino Presidents, celebrities, and hundreds of thousands of the city’s Catholic dead, the cemetery is also home to a living community of more than 2,000 people.
In a country where around 40 percent of people live below the poverty line, and overpopulation in Manila is reaching desperate proportions, the cemetery provides a unique residence for the hundreds of families that live and work within its walls.
In contrast to cemeteries in the west, the North Cemetery is a busy and vibrant place. The vast and complex network of streets and alleys is tightly lined by tens of thousands of mausoleums and tombs – many of which are inhabited. Yet this is still a fully functioning cemetery, with up to 80 funerals taking place each day. The community here is strong and the stigma attached with inhabiting this location has allowed a unique “gated community” to grow. Indeed, the resting place of the dead is the foundation that the living now depends upon.