We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

Which Manila hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
London, United...
Level Contributor
22 posts
6 reviews
Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

Hi all,

I recently saw a documentary about the North Cemetery in Manila and was fascinated by the people living there amongst the dead. I'm very curious going to see this myself and wanted to ask, if anyone has been there and can recommend going there - or if it's too dangerous? I wouldn't want the people living there feeling uneasy uneasy when a pasty tourist walks around with a big DSLR cam in his hands.

Any comment would be appreciated. Also, I don' t suppose there are any guided tours, are there?

Many thanks

clare,ireland
Level Contributor
5,334 posts
1. Re: Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

tripadvisor.ie/ShowTopic-g294245-i3256-k6002…

London, United...
Level Contributor
22 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

Thank you. I came across this post as well but was hoping for some more insight and people sharing their experiences.

Luzon, Philippines
Destination Expert
for Philippines, Bandar Seri Begawan
Level Contributor
15,485 posts
233 reviews
3. Re: Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

I have been there more than once but not as a tourist. The place is not dangerous as many are being buried there everyday and many are also visiting there loved ones buried there just like any other cemeteries in the world.

If you will visit that cemetery just be mindful about the privacy of those people. Some would not want there photos to be taken so respect them but I am sure many would not mind.

It is not a tourist spot so there will be no tour guides but you can ask the assistance at the cemetery's office.

Edited: 1:39 pm, February 08, 2013
Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
14,189 posts
145 reviews
4. Re: Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

There is a tour of the cemetery or at least once, follow the link of Clare and you will see a link for the tour.

London, United...
Level Contributor
22 posts
6 reviews
5. Re: Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

Great! Thank you for your inputs all. I have checked out Clare's link and might check this out. As always, I don't just walk around like a silly tourist and take photos of people without asking and interacting with them. Will post some review about this should I end up going there.

Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
14,189 posts
145 reviews
6. Re: Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

try this

museumfoundationph.org/project/…

Luzon, Philippines
Destination Expert
for Philippines, Bandar Seri Begawan
Level Contributor
15,485 posts
233 reviews
7. Re: Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

We would love to hear about your interactions with North Cemetery "residents."

London, United...
Level Contributor
22 posts
6 reviews
8. Re: Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

As promised, here's my post on the North Cemetery:

My girlfriend and I took a cab to the north cemetery in Manila. From what I heard, tourist are not normally allowed in. We got stopped in our cab on the way in. They sceptically looked inside but eventually let us in - probably only because my girlfriend is Asian and they probably figured we are going to see her family's grave. I'm Swiss.. so don't certainly stood out, but kept my mouth shut.

Once in we were stunned by the sheer size of the cemetery. With roughly 54 hectares it is needless to say why. You have 3 main streets, a roundabout and lots of smaller streets and paths. Being a bit hesitant at first on whether we should brave it and walk down the small paths or not, we finally did it and were instantly blown away.

You'll smell food, hear laughter, see kids playing basketball, elderly people playing bingo on the tombs. After an initial just smiling at people and greeting them when we walked by, we started having conversations with families, kids, elderly residents.. it was the most humble experience in my live - and yet one of the most beautiful. People living there have literally nothing. Eventhough they are maybe better off than people in other slums where there is no electricity nor water, it is still a slum - and a cemetery with up to 50 burrials a day (in the short time we were there, we witnessed three). Nevertheless, everyone we met was very friendly and interested in us. They happily talked to us, told us their stories, asked who were were and even invited us to sit down in their home - which usually happens to be a mausoleum. They showed us how and where they cooked, laughed with us, proudly showed their beautiful children and yet, you could see in their eyes how tough their lives are. Especially for the children, you look in their eyes and see their smiles but know how difficult it will be for them when they get to adult age.

We also brought some clothes with us and cuddly toys. We would typically speak to one of the adults or parents firstly to get their ok. The kids obviously loved our gifts - and these were also very much needed. When we go back I would also bring some vitamins and calcium tablets as this is a major issue too.

Seeing how some of the families have been living there since the early sixties, in their theird and fourth generation, it is heartbreaking. Especially when you leave and everyone is waving you goodbye (hopefully more of a see you again) and you go back to the safety of Intramuros (in our case).. it brings tears to your eyes. These people are living there day in, day out. Among the dead. Kids jumping from tomb to tomb, having very limited options for their future.

Would I go back? Definitely! We are even on the verge of coming up with (business) plan to help the residents, especially trying to give the children more options for their future.

Would I recomment tourists to go there? Not really.. it's not your average sightseeing stop where you just quickly go to for an hour or two, take a few photos and rush to the next place. I never felt uneasy or unsafe but I wouldn't show off my fancy watch or big camera . I brought my DSLR but had it in a neutral rucksack. Before taking photos of residends, I would always have conversations with them and then also show them my photos. After all, you'd feel funny if tourists would come into your home and start taking pictures without asking.

Let me know if you would like more information. For those of you who genuinely care about these people and are interested, go in there, be friendly and humble and respect their privacy - and you will have the most amazing and eye-opening experience in your life and hopefully one's life will change for the better in some way.

Edited: 6:05 am, April 08, 2013
London, United...
Level Contributor
22 posts
6 reviews
9. Re: Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

I'd love to upload some photos too but am not sure if that can be done in the forum.. if so, let me know please.

London, United...
Level Contributor
22 posts
6 reviews
10. Re: Possible to visit the North Cemetery in Manila?

For those interested in walking tours (although I have never had any feedback on this), leftoverto posted a link above which might be worth checking. There are many famous people's graves in the cemetery as well.