Visit the Manila Chinese Cemetery!
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I was overwhelmed!
Who needs a guide?
Normally I used to deny the services of a guide. Who needs a guide when you have a smartphone and Google? But sometimes however, I have to admit that hiring a guide can be really useful. The Manila Chinese Cemetery is roughly 5.4 hectare. So it's a big area and it's like a maze in there so in order to find the highlights you might need some help. I was lucky to meet a guide who was nice and knowledgable and told me many good anecdotes about the cemetery. He charged me 600 PHP for one-hour walking tour. As an option you can also hire a bicycle (per hour P100) to get around the area.
The creator of mami and siopa
The squatters climbed the fences...
Before the squatters climbed the fences to get in. Until the 1960:s, many families employed grave watchmen to stay at the mausoleums around the clock. But when the guards started bringing their families to live on the grounds, the practice was banned. Although the squatters no longer spend the nights at the cemetery, the caretakers and their families find it a nice place for a picnic, and even a nap. They stretch out on the cool marble floors or even on top of the crypts.
According to my guide, if the children died before their parents, they were not going to be buried together with the parents but separately at another place in the cemetery. But there were some cases of married men who happened to have had a mistress who was buried together with him and his wife in the same mausoleum! My guide showed me an even weirder example, where a married man and his mistress were dead and consequently they had been buried together. But the husband's wife was still alive and the wife had already got her designated resting place set up beside her husband and his mistress when the time was ready for her!
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