When your home is a cemetery in the Philippines

Bagbag cemetery has residents both dead and living. The cemetery in northeastern Manila is home to thousands of coffins, a handful of families and even roaming goats.

Bagbag cemetery has residents both dead and living

Three-year-old Maria Christina and her dolls call Bagbag cemetery home. The cemetery sits in Quezon City, in the northeastern part of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

It is zoned as a cemetery but it's right in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. Maria Christina comes from a poor family and sleeps and eats in a tent-like structure beside colourful walls filled with the dead. 

(Sylvia Thomson/CBC)

Everyday items for sale.

Vendors who set up shop inside the cemetery sell everyday amenities.

(Adrienne Arsenault/CBC)

Cool treats for the kids.

There is even an ice cream vendor for the children, their families and visitors. 

(Sylvia Thomson/CBC)

Coffins near the washrooms.

Bagbag cemetery has its own men's and women's washrooms — surrounded by the coffins of the dead. 

(Sylvia Thomson/CBC)

A cemetery 'hotel.'

Only residents of Quezon City may be buried here and many of them are desperately poor. Remains of an estimated 110,000 people have been placed in the walls of the Bagbag cemetery, which local residents call a cemetery "hotel." 

(Sylvia Thomson/CBC)

It's becoming a popular place. 

There has been a notable increase in interments in Bagbag, with staff casually saying that it's because there are so many victims of President Rodrigo Duterte's "'war on drugs." There is no official data tracking those numbers. 

(Sylvia Thomson/CBC)

Rituals before the burial.

On the day of a burial, a casket slides into the cinder block and concrete vertical slots. There are many rituals performed around the casket before it's slotted in. 

(Sylvia Thomson/CBC)

Not necessarily the final resting place.

There is an interment fee of $107 plus a registration fee of $44, which covers a five-year period. After that, extensions can be purchased, or more likely, the bones are retrieved and transferred to a bone vault elsewhere in the cemetery.

(Sylvia Thomson/CBC)

Goats help with the garbage.

The cemetery was one of the most polluted in all of Manila before garbage trucks hauled loads of debris away late last year. The goats that roam freely are probably some help on that front. 

(Adrienne Arsenault/CBC)

Keeping a watchful eye.

A faded angel statue watches over the dead. 

(Sylvia Thomson/CBC)

Growing up at Bagbag.

Angelika, a 10-year-old resident of Bagbag, is one of those making her way in life in a place intended for the dead. 

(Sylvia Thomson/CBC)