The concept of unconventional cemeteries arose when Spanish colonials forbade the Chinese trading community in Manila from using Catholic cemeteries. This event forced the community to create their private burial grounds. Thus, this forbidance led to the trend of these customized mansions for the dead.
As discovered by Nicky Chen of Behind the Story, the rules for the dead in the Chinese folklore state,
“The rich should be frugal and simple in their burial, and the burial should conform to Chinese traditions. Grave site design should be simple and dignified” and “To discourage displays of opulence, the unit price of lots beyond two are set on a geometric progression.”
By the looks of it, they have abandoned these old rules, as the extravagant cemetery building has become an integral part of Manila’s culture. They build these fully furnished and equipped graves out of great love and reverence for their departed loved-ones. The Chinese believe that the souls of the dead continue to live in another dimension, while the graves are supposed to be their homes in this dimension. Hence, the family of the departed tries to create an eternal abode as comfortable and luxurious as their pocket allows.
These massive mausoleums are equipped with all modern-day amenities, starting from fully functioning kitchens and bathrooms entailing luxury fittings to fully equipped bedrooms for the visitors. The facilities such as the continuous supply of electricity, running water, drainage system, telephone lines, cellular connectivity, and even a local restaurant are also available at the site. The facilities are so top-notch that some people have even made these rooms permanent places to live, which is a little freaky, but apparently, they don’t mind sleeping beside the dead.
Many people claim that they have been living at the Chinese Cemetery for generations, and were even born on the burial grounds. The place has also become a tourist spot. For 200 pesos, you may get a complete tour of the lavish burial ground, inhabited by both the dead and the living.
What are your thoughts on the lavish abode of the dead? Comment below!