Chinese Cemetery in Manila

Posted by on Feb 19, 2012 in Asia, Philippines | 1 comment

We heard the Chinese cemetery in Manila was worth a trip. We squeezed into an overcrowed metro and headed for the cemetery. The stop for the cemetery was away from the main part of town where most of the tourists were. People started talking to us as soon as we got off the metro. They weren’t hawking for pedicab rides or taxis. They mostly just wanted to say hello, ask where we were from and stare. One jeepney drove by and a lady, easily in her 30s and her two daughters saw us, and just started laughing. They had huge smiles on their faces and were cracking up. Kids staring is normal and expected. Adults staring is a different story, I was a bit freaked out. She surely has seen a white person before, why is she so excited? It made me feel a bit awkward at first, kind of like that dream everyone has as a kid where you forget to put clothes on and go to school naked… I waved and they waved back with enthusiasm. It was nice to make somebody’s day.

This part of town was in rough shape. Many of the buildings were run down. Here is a view from above the neighborhood when we got off the metro.

We asked directions from a couple of people and slowly made our way to the cemetery. The walk there was a unique experience. The streets were full of kids playing, food vendors peddling dishes, roosters tied on to posts, water wells, and lots of people. Some of the kids were playing basketball (a very popular sport here) others just running around, and still other toddlers walking around naked. We didn’t try any street food, it was mostly chicken intestines and feet. Roosters are tied to everything. Kinda weird. The water wells are for the residents because most do not have running water in their homes. So they come to the well with a bucket to fill up. We saw a lot of kids taking late afternoon baths at the wells.

On our way to the cemetery one teenage kid had a shirt with a portrait of Jesus on it. He looked at me, looked at his shirt then laughed. He pointed at Jesus, then at me, then at Jesus. It was pretty funny.

As always, the trip to the destination was just as exciting as the destination. We arrived at the cemetery and didn’t have a lot of time. We wanted to make sure and get on the metro before nightfall. The streets were friendly during the day, but being strangers to the city it’s hard to distinguish a good neighborhood from a bad one.
The cemetery was a unique experience. Most of the buildings were square and not too interesting. But there were a few gems sprinkled in there. Here is an extra-chinesey looking one.

We walked past a lot of guardian statues next to the tombs.

As well as a magnificent guardian angel statue

The center of the cemetery had a large obelisk with sculptures and flowers around it.

This is a picture of one of my favorite sites. It was an entire temple looking building. This was the roof.

There were fires burning between the tombs. It appeared to be trimmings from trees and shrubs as well as garbage. It was a bit odd, but it gave this picture a sort of mystic look to it. Looks a bit like a foggy, creepy cemetery like you’d see in a Steven King movie.

We got back to the metro at dusk and made it back to our hostel.

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One Comment

  1. Ben…..The roosters/cockerals you came across are being raised for cockfighting. They are usually perched on a pole or live under a triangular shaped roof. This also explains the abundance of bbq chickens parts as unfortunately there is always a loser in the arena.

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