The cemeteries in Metro Manila (Philippines) are often home to not only the dead but also to the living.

Eternal Wake – dead end in Manila’s North Cemetery – Videography

Join me for a brief virtual stroll through Manila’s North Cemetery “Norte”!

The 6 protagonists I’d been scouting for are all in a high degree “Filipino”, thus their stories are drawn from typical Pinoy traditions or divine devotion. By watching this 45 minutes documentary you’ll learn about their dreams and fears and what a cemetery life is all about.

Kambal breeds and races pigeons inside “Norte”, and he does it well. Learn how the birds are being nursed, and how many Filipinos like Kambal make a living out of pigeon racing.

Christian learned that he is gay with 5 years of age. He is a “Norte-Native”, born and raised in the cemetery. In contrast to the Western world, transsexuality is widely spread in the Philippines. Christian expresses his feelings without hesitation and hopes that one day, he will bust out of the cemetery together with his family.

Jerwin Z. Carreon alias “Zasho” and his 4 gravediggers colleagues are taking care of “section 196” – the cemetery’s part where roughly 3000 babies (and a couple of dogs) are buried. Learn more about death in the Philippines, and how the caretakers make a living out of it.

Edwin is a former OFW – Overseas Filipino Worker. A destiny he shared with approx. 10 million other countrymen which endure hardship abroad for money’s sake. The diaspora are called bagong bayani (the new heroes) for sacrificing themselves for the betterment of their families and the country. Now, Edwin is back, living among the dead with hopes to break away once again.

Many families can’t afford sending their kids to school. Joharra teaches inside the Manila North Cemetery. The youth is facing an uncertain future, but Joharra gives her very best to improve the situation and make the childrens’ dreams come true, at least for some. This short vid also shows how the children spend their time in “Norte”.

As the country is moving towards modernity fast and furious, some of its partisans are cruising on the verge of existence. The beloved Jeepney is about to drive forever from the map, causing either massive displacement or unemployment of experienced drivers plus higher fares for the sheer number of commuters. Richard escapes the cemetery life with his privately owned Jeepney during daytime and explains what a phaseout would mean to him.