If you want to learn more about the rich history and culture of the Igorots, then you should visit the Hanging Coffins in Sagada. The sight is a representation of the culture and heritage of Sagada, and it’s a must see for your Sagada Adventure. Let me share with you our experience, the places we visited around the area, and travel guide in the Hanging Coffins of Sagada. (Updated: November 23, 2020)
To visit the hanging coffins in Sagada, you must avail the Eco Tour. It is a 3-hour loop hike from the Church of St. Mary the Virgin traversing to the picturesque Echo Valley with a historical visit to their famous Hanging Coffins, and the Sagada Underground River Entrance. The highlight of this tour is no other than the hanging coffins, but the other places to visit are also interesting.
Church of St. Mary the Virgin
This church was built during the 1900s by American Anglican missionaries. With its historical significance and spiritual influence for more than a century to the people of Sagada, this church garnered a recognition as a cultural heritage site.
The facade is enveloped with amazing foliage and its adobe walls were dappled from leaves of the pine trees. The view on the right side of the worship house is breathtaking with endless mountains in the horizon and the smell of fresh green grass.
Inside the church, the atmosphere is cool and comforting. Despite its age, the overall structure is still intact which shows the people’s dedication in preserving this historical landmark. The interior is also embellished with ornate stained glass in the centerpiece and wooden pews arranged orderly along the nave.
Echo Valley Sagada
The place is called as such because of the loud echo bouncing back from a person’s shout. The valley is populated with limestone, towering pine trees and an eye-catching panorama of the mountain range. The landscape looks like a beautiful canvas of vibrant colors filled with fascinating elements.
I stood up on a limestone in one area and let my eyes awash with the scenic view. I felt the cool breeze brushing off my skin and the warmth of the sun enlightening my senses. The feeling was grand which mended my body and soul.
Sagada Hanging Coffins History
From the echo valley, we climbed down on a cliff to reach the famous hanging coffins in Sagada. The locals believed that this burial practice has been existent for more than a millennia. There are reasons why ancient Igorots prefer to be interred in this manner.
First, elderly Igorots feared to be buried underground because the body tend to rot easily if exposed in the soil. Lastly, during the pre-Hispanic period where tribal wars and headhunting were existent, the elders and its relatives were afraid that the heads of their deceased loved one might be smuggled by the headhunters and used as a trophy in certain Kalinga tribes. It is then reasonable for the Igorots to place the corpse of their deceased on the side of a cliff. Source.
The people also believes that the higher the coffin, the more important their family member to them. With this practice, it will also bring their loved one closer to heaven and in ancestral spirits. The coffins on the other hand look shorter than we thought because the corpse are placed in a fetal-position signifying that the way we should exit this world must be the same way we enter it. Source.
Seeing these hanging coffins in person truly speaks the importance of culture and reflects the rich heritage of the Igorots.
Sagada Underground River Entrance
From the hanging coffins, there’s a narrow and steep passageway underneath it leading to the Sagada Underground River Entrance. Amid the slippery trails, we were rewarded with beautiful foliage, wild flowers and small rivers flowing slowly in peace. We reached the underground river entrance after half an hour of hike and rested for a while.
The orifice of the underground river is amazing. We enjoyed the sound of birds echoing all over the place and the sound of stream flowing timidly during our rest. The place is scattered with small rounded rocks perfect for creative and fun activities.
Travel Guide: Hanging Coffins in Sagada with Echo Valley
The Eco Tour is a fun and educational activity. This tour, however, is affected by the elders. The people of Sagada highly respects their own belief-system and as travelers we should respect their practices in return. Before our Eco Tour we were informed in the morning that the Mission Compound Grounds were closed because the elders needed to do a certain ritual. After lunch time, our guides informed us that the ritual was finished and tour activities were resumed.
Sagada Municipal Tourist Information Center
For a safe and fun-filled journey, it is recommended that you visit the tourist information center in Poblacion, Sagada, Mountain Province. Here you will find and choose their package tours. This center opens every 0700H in the morning and closes at 1800H in the evening. For further information, you can email them at [email protected] or like their Facebook page at http://facebook.com/sagadatourism
Echo Valley Walking Tours
There are three available types of tours in the Echo Valley.
This is the package that we availed. It consists of 3 hours loop hike to the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins Sagada, Sagada Underground River Entrance, and Bokong Natural Swimming Pool passing thru small river, valley/canyon, rice fields and Sagada Weaving. Guide fee costs ₱800 for 10 visitors or less.
|Number of Tourist per Group||Guide Fee|
|10 visitors or less||PHP 800 (1 tour guide)|
|11-12 visitors||PHP 1,600 (2 tour guides)|
|21-30 visitors||PHP 2,400 (3 tour guides)|
|31 pax and over||PHP 60/pax|
|41 pax and over||PHP 60/pax|
This package consists of entering the Sagada Underground River. It also includes forest trails and river crossing before reaching Bokong Waterfalls. Guide fee costs ₱1000 for 10 visitors or less. For 10 or more visitors, the guide fee costs PHP 100 per pax.
Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins Sagada
This package is the simplest of all. It involves a short hike to the viewpoint and to the hanging coffins only. Guide fee is ₱300 for 10 visitors or less.
|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|
Planning a trip to Sagada this coming summer? Then you must include the Eco-Tours in your list and see the majestic Hanging Coffins Sagada. Feel free to use the information posted in this article as reference and share them to your friends!
Did you find this post helpful and informative? Then share it to your friends now! 🙂 Always remember, sharing is caring. This post is updated on November 23, 2020.