Philippines/Luzon: Sagada Hanging Coffins

One of the burial tradition of the Kankanary people around the mountain town of Sagada is to hang coffins with dead on the cliff faces or inside the caverns. The tradition goes back to precolonial times and is thousands of years old, with some coffins being over 100 years old (the older ones deteriorate and fall off and are replaced by new). The idea is to place the coffin on the higher ground so the spirits have easier to travel to afterlife (or something along these lines). The coffins are small, as the corpses are usually either put in fetal positions or crushed to fit in a small box. Coffins are usually carved from tree trunks by their future owners during their lifetime. There are many areas around Sagada with the hanging coffins, but most are inaccessible. It took about 30 minutes of hiking through rough limestone terrain to get here. One the way, one can see the normal cemetery, with gravestones on the ground.