Thursday, 20 November 2008

LAT: Cementerio Norte

Photograph © Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times-All Rights Reserved

Here's a multimedia feature published on the Los Angeles Time's website titled Cementario Del Norte (I think it should be spelled Cementerio), a cemetery in the north of Manila. About 50,000 poverty-striken Filipinos consider this cemetery as their home, and have converted the burial site into a village of the living.

The photography and audio of the slideshow is by Luis Sinco.

Historians say that both living and the dead have populated the cemetery since it opened in 1884, since it needed caretakers to guard valuables often sealed with the dead inside the mausoleums.

The accompanying article by John M. Glionna is worth a read as it explains the circumstances and the current lifestyle of the unusual community that makes this cemetery its home. For instance:

"In one exclusive area, paid caretakers of the grave site of the family of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo -- an immense pyramid flanked by marble sphinxes -- enjoy air conditioning, cable television and a washer and dryer."

There is another similar community in Cairo dwarfing any other, where nearly a million people live in its City of the Dead...a 6 kilometers-long area called Al Arafa which is -and has been- Cairo's main cemetery for over 700 years.