Twelve years ago, on a trip to the Philippines, photographer Keith Marlowe began visiting Manila’s cemeteries, hoping to shoot its picturesque, New Orleans-style raised tombs. But instead of quiet refuges for the dead, he saw extraordinary settlements of the living: thousands of poverty-stricken Filipinos, who had made squatter’s homes above the graves and bones. Despite the macabre setting, he knew that this was really a story about life, and the struggle to survive in one of the world’s most crowded cities. In this gallery, Marlowe — who has photographed dire situations everywhere from Haiti to Detroit for LIFE.com — shares his unique photographic perspective on these graveyard settlements.
Pictured: Children of Manila’s Makati Catholic Cemetery.
Life in the Graveyards of Manila

Twelve years ago, on a trip to the Philippines, photographer Keith Marlowe began visiting Manila’s cemeteries, hoping to shoot its picturesque, New Orleans-style raised tombs. But instead of quiet refuges for the dead, he saw extraordinary settlements of the living: thousands of poverty-stricken Filipinos, who had made squatter’s homes above the graves and bones. Despite the macabre setting, he knew that this was really a story about life, and the struggle to survive in one of the world’s most crowded cities. In this gallery, Marlowe — who has photographed dire situations everywhere from Haiti to Detroit for LIFE.com — shares his unique photographic perspective on these graveyard settlements.

Pictured: Children of Manila’s Makati Catholic Cemetery.

Life in the Graveyards of Manila

Notes

  1. doctorcrusher reblogged this from life and added:
    When my family and I went back years ago, we visited my grandfather’s (on my dad’s side) grave and most of the lettering...
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    Life in the Graveyards of Manila
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    This city taught me more about life as a kid than anything could ever have. When I was 10 years old my class took a...
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  20. gdaytoyoutoo reblogged this from kristaaritaya and added:
    I know where this graveyard is, its right by the city… I’ve heard about this cemetery and I’ve seen it up from my...
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