Monday, March 5, 2007

Echo Valley, Sagada

WHERE: Sagada, Mountain Province

DATE OF TRAVEL: March 03, 2007

Because you will have a view of a burial practice that lasted for about 2,000 years – the practice of hanging coffins! These coffins were carved by the people inside them themselves. The Sagada Elders used to carve their coffins before they died.

Do not forget to shout your hellos and hear them echo all over the valley.:P

Echo Valley is righly called so because one's shout echoes throughout the valley. It is said that most of the places you walk on in Echo Valley have remains of the Sagada people underneath. Moreover, this is also the location of what Sagada is known for: the Hanging Coffins. This practice lasted for about 2,000 years. The newer ones (those buried between the 1980's to the 1990's) are in the cave but no longer hanging (Some say, however, that the last recorded burial there was just in 2003!!!). It is said that the burial ceremony starts at 6am when the living walk the dead towards to cave while holding torches. At 1pm, the dead is covered with blanket and everyone in the ceremony tries to get the body because there's a belief that the departed's blood will bring luck. The Sagadans chose this way to burial because of the belief that it would be easier to "leave" the coffin from up there or from the cave from 6 feet underground.

If you want to get closer to the coffins, you need to take a hike down to the cave and see human bones scattered along the
way because their coffins have already been destroyed. This would have been okay if nobody bothered them. The problem is that a lot have been stolen.:(

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