Thursday, August 14, 2008
Hang in there!
The residents of Sagada in the Philippines, have devised a unique burial ritual. The diseased are placed in coffins and put into caves or risen to hang on cliffs. The 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. They are buried in the fetal position and often involves breaking bones to fit into the coffins. In some caves hundreds of coffins are lined up.
It is said that the residents believed that the higher your body is laid, the closer you are to heaven. This method also protects the coffins from earthquakes and floods. It is unsure exactly how they attempted to place the coffins that high; it is possible that they might have used ropes to lower the coffins down the cliffs or used timber scaffolding to raise the coffin high up.
Unfortunately tourists are not supervised in this area, and they often take bones as souvenirs. If you do visit these caves, make sure you get a guide as some of the caves are hard to find and the roads can be tricky to navigate.