Sunday, June 7, 2009
the burial coffins outside Lumiang cave is believed to be more than five hundred years. there's about a hundred wooden coffins all piled up in the opening of this cave. early morning the next day, we went to the tourism office at the municipal hall to meet with our guide for the cave connection. cave guides are certified to be trained and has good experience in the field of spelunking.we were introduced to Manong Wilbur Timpac who has been entering these caves for more than 15years now. a quiet yet compose type of person now on his thirtees. he led us down the paved road to barangay Ambasing, where some of the burial caves are found. even along the road, we passed by small caves with burial coffins outside its opening.towering stone walls can be seen from afar with some hanging coffins, which i'll be featuring in the coming posts. pine trees are everywhere and and the farther we go, the fewer the houses.when we reached about 500meters of walking, we turned left now entering a rough path. upon reaching the cave's opening, we saw the coffins piled up almost reaching the cave's curved ceiling.years back, the tribes that inhabited Sagada practiced the tradition of placing the coffins of the dead outside a cave opening instead of the traditional human burial. it is not even placed inside the cave as they believe that the dead deserves to be exposed.if you look closely at the wooden coffins, you'll notice that it's smaller than the usual coffin. this is because the bodies are placed in fetal position. in the belief that since the baby in the mother's womb is in this position, humans are to be in the same position when buried.some of the coffins has animal carvings, of which a form of a gecko is common. according to some, this represents good leadership among the clan.all the coffins in Lumiang cave are believed to be people coming from the same clan. therefore others are placed on other caves around Sagada. some coffins are already damaged through time. but for years of preservation, the coffins are now being protected and safeguarded by the guides through the initiatives of Sagada's cultural preservation team. i consider this site as a national treasure.