Living Amongst the Dead in the Philippines

For many cultures with Latin ties, the dead are not only remembered but celebrated. However, in the Philippines, many families who are very poor and are trying to keep their families as safe as possible have decided to live among the dead.

In the Philippines, the living literally live among the dead, so it’s not unusual to see families who sleep in the cemeteries and for children aged two to four to be born inside of a mausoleum. The video below is a 20-minute documentary talking about living among the dead. While it doesn’t really have to do with Day of the Dead, it does give one an idea about the lifestyle of the poor in the country.

In tradition, when a spirit is remembered they are able to live on in the afterlife, but the moment they are forgotten their spirit is gone forever. Movies like Coco and The Book of Life demonstrate this idea.

“Land of the Remembered”

“Land of the Forgotten”

The same principle applies in the Philippines, however, a remembrance is not the case. Many Filipinos find themselves inside a cemetery based on their income. On average a 20-year-old working fast food can expect to make 444 Piso’s a month which equals to about $8.50 USD and equals a total of about 5,328 Pisos a year. While that may not sound bad, according to Numbeo, the average cost of a one bedroom apartment outside of the city center is 7,376 Piso’s. This puts you over budget and out of the housing.

This has become a big issue in the Philippines because not only is it not allowed for these people to be living in the cemetery, they are stealing electricity from the city and the city is starting to become aggravated with the unfairness of it all.

For now, the government is trying to handle the increase of those living amongst the dead, but with their resources, can only go so far.

Sources: Numbeo, CNN, “Coco”, “The Book of Life”, 101 East,


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