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Hanging Coffins of Sagada: A journey to honour the dead

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In the mountainous region of Sagada in the Philippines, there is a unique burial tradition that the Igorot people have practised for over 2,000 years. This tradition involves hanging the coffins of their deceased loved ones on the cliffs, which has become a popular tourist attraction in recent years.

The Igorot people believe that by hanging the coffins on the cliffs, they bring their deceased loved ones closer to heaven and ensure their spirits rest in peace. This tradition is a way for the Igorot people to honour and respect their ancestors and keep their traditions alive.

The hanging coffins are typically made of hollowed-out logs and are suspended using ropes and wires attached to the cliffs. Some coffins can be seen from a distance, and some are visible from the road. The coffins are seated, facing the sunrise, which is believed to symbolise a new beginning.

The hanging coffins are not easy to access, and visitors must hike up the mountainside to reach them. The hike can be challenging, but it is worth it for the stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the opportunity to see the unique burial tradition up close.

The tradition of hanging coffins has been passed down through generations, and some Igorot communities still practice it today. It is a way for them to maintain their cultural identity and honour their ancestors, who they believe continues to watch over them from the cliffs.

In recent years, hanging coffins have become a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world to witness the unique burial tradition. However, it is important for visitors to respect the tradition and the sacred nature of the site. Visitors are not allowed to touch or take anything from the site and must always behave respectfully.

The hanging coffins of Sagada are a testament to the enduring cultural heritage of the Igorot people and their respect for their ancestors. It is a beautiful and unique way for the Igorot people to honour their loved ones and keep their cultural traditions alive.

While hanging coffins may seem unusual to some, it is an integral part of the Igorot culture. Tradition is also an important part of the tourism industry in Sagada.

Visitors must take a guided tour to get close to the hanging coffins. The tour usually includes visiting the Echo Valley, home to several clusters of hanging coffins. The valley is named after the echoing sound that can be heard when you shout into the valley.

One of the most significant clusters of hanging coffins in Sagada is the Lumiang burial cave. The cave is home to over 100 coffins, some dating back several hundred years. Visitors can climb up to the cave entrance and get a glimpse of the coffins from a distance.

Despite the popularity of the hanging coffins as a tourist attraction, it is essential to remember that this is a sacred and spiritual tradition for the Igorot people. Visitors should always show respect and follow the local customs when visiting the sites.

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