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HomeMalawiHuman RightsPhilippines living at graveyard amid abject poverty

Philippines living at graveyard amid abject poverty

By Burnett Munthali

MANILA-(MaraviPost)-I have never heard nor seen anything like people living at the cemetery. Living at the graveyard doesn’t exist in my society and is unheard of, no matter how poor you become, it’s bizarre to think of living there, let alone building a home, cooking and sleeping on top of tombs.

It would be considered witchcraft, madness or even satanism back here in Africa.

Surprisingly, due to poverty and lack of space, some people live in the graveyard somewhere in Manila, Philippines.

Somewhere in Manila, Philippines an expansive 54 hectares (133 acres), is a home to an estimated 6,000 slum-dwellers from 800 families, as well as one million dead.

Some of the people living there at the graveyard are caretakers, paid by relatives of the dead to maintain the graves; the fee can be as little as 600 pesos (£9 equivalent to MWK13, 500 ) a year.

Located in the City of Manila, capital of the Philippines, this modern necropolis holds a community of an estimated ten-to-fifty thousand Filipinos that live alongside the over one million dead within the country’s largest cemetery.

The Manila American Cemetery contains the largest number of graves of military dead of World War II, a total of 16,859, most of whom lost their lives in operations in New Guinea and the Philippines.

Manila North Cemetery, opened in 1904, is one of the oldest and largest in the Philippines. Its elaborate mausoleums and endless rows of humble, stacked tombs are home to an estimated one million of the dead — and a few thousand of the living.

The cemetery is owned by and located in the City of Manila, the national capital, and is one of the largest in the metropolis at 54 hectares (130 acres).

Just the base price for lawn lots is 200,000 pesos. Garden lots cost 2,000,000. And estate lots can cost up to 18,000,000. Should you opt to leave the cremated remains of your loved one in a columbarium, be prepared to shell out anywhere from 46,000 to 240,000.

Now let’s take a look at who lived in Manila village. Filipino sailors lived in Manila. Manila Village (locally spelt Manilla; Cajun French: Cloque-Chênière, Cloche-Chênière or Cabanage) was a settlement of Filipino sailors, fishermen and laborers located on an island in Barataria Bay, in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States.

Popularly known as “Millionaires’ Row” and “Little Beverley Hills”, the Manila Chinese Cemetery was built in the late 19th century for the non-catholic Chinese who were denied burials in Catholic graveyards by the Spanish colonials.

Opting for an apartment-type grave, meanwhile, costs as low as ₱6,500 for a non-renewable contract that runs for five years. But things are different in higher-end private cemeteries, like Manila Memorial Park, where a grave can come at a price of at least ₱200,000 while the lowest price is at ₱165,000.

What is the old name of Manila? The Kingdom of Maynila. Manila was known before as “Ginto” (gold) or “Suvarnadvipa” by neighboring settlements and was officially named as the Kingdom of Maynila or the “Kota Seludong”, one of the three major city-states that dominated the area by the lower reaches and mouth of the Pasig River before the arrival of the Spaniards.

Manilla, originally Maynilad, is derived from that of the nilad plant, a flowering shrub adapted to marshy conditions, which once grew profusely along the banks of the river; the name was shortened first to Maynila and then to its present form.

Some Filipinos hang coffins beside cliffs, while others choose to bury the dead inside their homes. All of these burial ceremonies are traditionally valid in expressing their identities as Filipinos. Such that the existence of several Filipino burial ceremonies across the country amplifies the richness of their culture.

The poorest parts of Manila/Locations of slums include the following:

Tondo, San Andres, Batasan Hills, Payatas, Bagong Silangan.

This is a strange way of how people live in poverty, survive, and bury each other in Manila, Philippines. Apartment graves exist in Manila, Philippines.

Maravi Post Author
Maravi Post Author
Today's Opinion · Op-Ed Columnists · Editorials · Op-Ed Contributors to the Maravi Post· The Maravi Post accepts opinion essays on any topic. Published pieces typically run from 400 to 1,200 words, but drafts of any length within the bounds of reason will be considered.


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