Luxury Housing for the Dead – The Chinese Cemetery in Manila

posted in: Manila, Philippines | 1

Going to the Chinese Cemetery adjacent to the North Cemetery and having been to the latter one first is a contrast as it could hardly be stronger. While the North Cemetery with the poor people living here and giving you the feeling of being in a nice village rather than on a cemetery, the Chinese one represents order and wealth. The whole compound is very clean and is also closed and protected over night. It was founded when the Chinese people in Manila were denied burial on the catholic cemeteries during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines in the nineteenth century.

This cemetery is famous for the many houses constructed as graves or mausoleums for the dead. There is a street called millionaires street because the graves are actually big houses. Some of them even resemble villas and have a toilet, flowing cold and hot water as well as a toilet. Some even have an air-condition and karaoke Ironically all those facilities dor not serve the living, but the dead in case their transfer to heaven has been delayed for whatever reason. Only rich and wealthy Chinese are buried here.





On the other side you also find a long wall obviously containing the remains of the poor Chinese without names. On the grave chambers you find only numbers. And it is placed right on the edge to a kind of shantytown with quite some garbage in front of the wall and it smells like urine.




The most interesting building however is the crematory and the opposite building where again small grave chambers are accommodated in walls. Allegedly 3.500 people have found their final place to rest here.



The grave chambers are giving you a feeling like being in an old library.





When you enter the compound it is very likely that you will be approached by a guy wearing a uniform. He will talk to you in a way that you start to believe that it is compulsory to hire a guide. And the guide stands only two meters away and will join you then. He demands 600 PHP (10 €) for one hour. I told them that I am neither interested nor would I need a guide. I just walked on. But the guide did not give up so easily. He followed me and my friend and continued endlessly explaining why we need him and where he could take us to. He finally gave up.

One Response

  1. Cha
    | Reply

    Hi, I found your blog while looking for a chinese mausoleum. The guide will tell you the history of the graves- families, architecture, beliefs. However I think the price is overrated. 600php is good for 2 hrs. Good thing that you didn’t allow him to rip you off. Sadly, some of our fellowmen who act as unauthorized guides are ripping off foreign and local tourists alike for short-term gains.

Leave a Reply