Himlayan, Pantiyon, Kampo Santo, Sementeryo: Exploring Philippine Cemeteries contains five articles that look into how different individuals are treated at death. The authors explore representations of non-adults, ethnicity, patriots, and boy scouts in various cemeteries in Manila and neighboring provinces during the different colonial periods in Philippine History. The book features infant and child burials in Manila North Cemetery and La Loma Catholic Cemetery; Chinese-Filipinos in the Manila Chinese Cemetery; the memorials and shrines built for Philippine Revolutionaries who fought against Spain and the United States; the Boy Scouts who died en route to the 11th World Scout Jamboree in Greece in 1963, and the military officers and soldiers, and national artists and scientists at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The book advocates that we should take a second look at cemeteries not just as places for the dead but as active heritage sites where the living immortalize the dead through burial adornments. Mausoleums and gravestones also expose individual and collective histories of the deceased.
The politics of where and how to bury the dead is a struggle. It is an internal emotional struggle of a mother who lost a child. It is a war of ideologies on defining who and what is a patriot. It is a clash between families and the government on owning the dead. And it is a conflict between a ruling class and the inferior merchant class divided by ethnicity and religion.
The viability of cemeteries as heritage spaces is also examined in this book. Mausoleums exhibit architectural styles that rival other forms of built heritage. Burial structures are symbolic markers of the history of a people in a specific time and space. As such, Philippine cemeteries are reflections of our past.