Hanging coffins is a traditional way of burial by the Igorot people in Sagada, Mountain Province. They believe that vertical burial brings their dead loved ones to their ancestral spirit in heaven and the higher the dead were placed, the greater the chance of their spirits reaching a higher nature in the afterlife. Today, it is a unique custom to Sagada as other places have stopped this practice. The last burial made was in 2010.
According to our local guide, Igorot people carve their own coffins, and their bodies are placed inside in a fetal position as a symbol of their return to the same way we all came from – the womb. These coffins are suspended high above the ground and some of them are placed at the entrance of caves like what we saw in Lumiang Cave.
Hanging Coffins of Echo Valley
Visiting Echo Valley in Sagada is a great way to learn more about the rich history and culture of the Igorots. Echo Valley is famous for its hanging coffins. We went first to the Sagada Municipal Tourist Information Center in their town proper to book a tour that involves a short hike to the viewpoint and to the hanging coffins. We paid the guide fee of ₱300 for our group of 5.
|Number of Tourist per Group||Guide Fee|
|1-10 visitors||PHP 300 (1 tour guide)|
|11 visitors||PHP 400 (1 tour guide)|
|12-20 visitors||PHP 600 (2 tour guides)|
|21 visitors||PHP 700 (2 tour guides)|
|22-30 visitors||PHP 800 (3 tour guides)|
|31 visitors||PHP 900 (3 tour guides)|
|32-40 visitors||PHP 1,000 (4 tour guides)|
|41 visitors and over||PHP 30/pax|
After the registration, we started walking our way to this valley at around 4:00 pm. From Echo Valley, we climbed down a cliff to reach the famous hanging coffins in Sagada. Seeing it in person is a one-of-a-kind experience for me. A little eerie for me but it’s so interesting to see how they were able to preserve this sort of culture from their past. Remember, Do not touch or take anything here–not only does this show pure disregard for Igorot culture, but it’s also considered bad luck!
When we came back to the top of the cliff, we noticed people burning saeng or pine twigs instead of candles in front of the tombs in the cemetery. Then our tour guide told us that every 1st of November they practiced Panag-apoy a Kankana-ey (Igorots of Sagada’s language) phrase that means “to light a fire.” It is not a festival, celebration, or event of some sort but a customary practice of the Igorots in remembering their departed loved ones. We just had a quick picture and avoided any noise then we left already for respect and to give them a moment of solemn.
|How to go to Sagada? There are buses from Manila to Sagada directly.|
WHAT TO BRING IN SAGADA?
Prepare for your trip with our must-have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack: 65L Water-resistant Hiking Backpack with Rain Cover for Outdoor Sport Travel
Quick dry microfiber travel towel: Naturehike Quick Drying Pocket Bath Towel
Action camera: KIMSTORE GoPro Hero 11 – Black
Hiking Sandals: Sandugo SD-1201 Hiking Sandals
Rash Guard: rash guard for men and Rash Guard for women Travel Pillow Powerbank – Multi-Functional Portable Powerbank Fast Charging Headlamp – Waterproof Headlamp
If you have questions let me know in the comment section below!
You might want to continue reading: Batad & Banaue Itinerary + Travel Guide. Also, I would really appreciate it if you subscribe to our YouTube channel below.