trip report by site editor Rick McCharles
Sagada … has a population of 10,930.
It is located 275 km. north of Manila …
Sagada is one of the most popular tourist destinations, undeveloped as it takes at least 11hrs by bus and Jeepney to get there.
Sagada is famous for its “hanging coffins“. This is a traditional way of burying people that is still utilized. …
These coffins are carved by the elderly before they die; if they are too ill or weak their son or other close relative will do it for them. This ritual involves pushing the bodies into the tight spaces of the coffins, and often bones are cracked and broken as the process is completed. …
Most intriguing of all are chairs dangling alongside the coffins.
Later I learned that families who cannot afford a coffin use a chair, instead. The recently diseased is tied to a chair, attends an all night wake, and then is lowered down from the top of the cliff by rope.
This hanging coffin has a Crucifix, as well. Christians in this region have the choice of a graveyard or being hung.
In fact, the short hike to those hanging coffins takes you right past the impressive church and graveyard.
The other adventure out of Sagada is a guided tour of the Sumaguing Cave.
related – Weird Asia News – The Hanging Coffins of Sagada: An Ancient Tradition