Life among the dead: photographer’s pictures show what life is like in the shanty-come-cemetery in Manilla
Thousands of people live among the dead in sprawling shanty town built in a cemetery.
The unique settlement – called North Cemetery – is located in Manilla, the capital of the Philippines.
It is estimated that around 6,000 people call it home – living, eating and working among tombstones still occupied with the dead.
Photographer Anton Afanasyev, 30, from Nizhny Novgorod, specifically travelled to the south-east Asian country to document the lives of people in the makeshift town.
He said: “Walking through the city you sometimes think that you are in some surreal place or in another world – as you can see normal life, but among the tombs.”
Anton says he had to request a special permit form the cities administration to visit the town.
But once inside, life follows a similar pattern to every other town in the world.
Many have made their homes, shops and business around the granite tombstones that dominate every space of the town.
Anton added: “Most of the cemetery dwellers earn their living working right here – doing everything connected to burial services such as digging and coffin making.
“Everywhere you looked, everyday events were occurring – despite the setting. Someone is washing their clothes, someone is fixing a chair, another cooking food.
“They even have their own transport system called Jeepneys, which are modified American military jeeps.
“The children entertained themselves as like any others around the world – with places to play football and basketball.”
The city is without electricity and surrounded by a high wall that divides it from two other nearby cemeteries.
The 54-hectare space in the giant metropolis is heaving with children playing and hawkers selling goods.
And the informal settlement even boasts its own school.
Anton, who travelled to the city in late 2014 and has just published his images, said: “Only the wealthy parents can afford to send their children to attend.
“Most kids do not go because they do not even have a legal address.
“But my strongest impression was that all the people look absolutely happy. They don’t have a penny but are still smiling.”