Hanging Dead in the Philippines

In Sagada, Manila, Philippines, they used to have a very unique way of burying their dead. The coffins were hung off the side of a mountain. This was practiced in some parts of China and in the Philippines. The last burial of this kind in Sagada took place in 2007, but you can still go to see the burial site. This was an ancient custom where by coffins were stacked on the ledges of limestone cliffs in piles of 4 or 5. There are several places in Sagada with these burial sites can be seen including those on the way to Ambasing and in Echo Valley. Sometimes the coffins have been stacked neatly and other times appear to have been thrown up the mountain. The bodies are first put into a fetal position and wrapped in a shroud, then carried down the mountain to the burial site. Traditionally women were not allowed to approach the site. The oldest of these coffins goes back more than 100 years. Through the mist and pine trees you can see these coffins where only the elements can reach them and they will remain there as long as mother nature allows. In the Sagada area which is in the barangays area (district/municipality) you can find a number of other interesting sites, like the rice terraces, the underground caves of Sumaging, the Bokong and Bomod-Ok waterfalls and more breath-taking vistas of nature. There are also caves that were used for burials, where the bodies were put inside hollowed out tree trunks which the deceased had prepared himself, and then the “coffins” are stacked on top of each other inside the caves.

Echo Valley


Luzon Island,


How to get there:

You can get there from Baguio, Bontoc or Banaue. Try this route: From Cubao or Pasay in Manila to Baguio, by Victory Line, leaves every 30 min cost 550 one way and takes 4.5 hours (there is a cheaper bus that takes longer). Take the midnight bus which will get you to the Baguio terminal by 05:15. Get a taxi to Dangwa. Then take a Lizardo bus from Dangwa station at 6am to Sagada (if it seems like it is cutting it too fine you can get a later bus or stay a night in Baguio. It is better to travel on the morning bus on this final leg of the journey, because of the narrow rather dangerous roads). Cost 220 one way, and takes 6 hours. Get off near the municipal hall, as all travellers need to register there. I know it sounds complicated but it is worth it as you will get a taste of rural life, and there really is plenty to see and do. If you would rather someone else took care of the transport arrangements there are guides and tours organized from Manila.

Where to eat:
The Lemon Pie House
Where to sleep:
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One Response to Hanging Dead in the Philippines

  1. biyahengpinoy April 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm #

    Thank you for endorsing the Lemon Pie House 🙂 We already have free wifi. Hope you will visit us again soon.

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