Skip links
Hanging coffins of Sagada

Hanging coffins of Sagada: strange or loyalty?

Hanging coffins of Sagada is an old tradition in one of Philippines islands, Sagada. Some people call this tradition, strange, however some other call it a kind of loyalty. In this article we are going to review this tradition and see where does it come from and how they do this and where are these hanging coffins. Stay tuned with HiTopTourism to explore this islands secret.

Most of old traditions have a story behind them that gives meaning and makes them become iconic heritages. Hanging coffins of Sagada can shock you when it comes to antiquity. The Sagada people are keeping this tradition alive for over 2000 years and some of the coffins are over a century old.

photo by google maps

Where does the Hanging Coffins tradition come from?

In Sagada , there is a tribe called Igorot or Cordillerans , who mostly live in the mountainous region of Luzon . This mountain is very wide and extends in about six provinces of Cordillera, Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao. The name Igorot also means mountain people. Igorots place a high value on spirits and sometimes they even elevate them to the status of gods.

The story is that they believe that they should hang the coffins of their dead on the heights and in the mountains so that the souls of their loved ones leave their bodies with wings and full of blessings. The Igorots say that this helps both the body and the soul of the dead, because their body is also protected from the bites of animals.

You should know that the people of the Philippines and even the survivors of the Igorot tribe do not hang their bodies on the rocks today, and they consider this custom to be from 2000 years ago, but if you look closely at the coffins, you will notice that some of these coffins They are new and undoubtedly do not belong to two thousand years ago, which is very doubtful and the Igorots do not give any explanation about this.

photo by google maps

How the coffins hang on the mountains?

The Igorot tribe believes that their ancestors gave a lot of effort to bring the coffins to the peak o the mountains and attach the coffins of their beloved to the rocks with nails.

The steps of shrouding

First, the dead`s body is placed on a stick or a wooden chair, which is called death chair. Then they wrap the body in a blanket and sometimes the family of the deceased person put some of their favorite items in the blanket too. After that they place the deceased in an area filled with smoke or smoke it with a torch by themselves. Because they believe the smell of smoke reduces the smell of decaying body and reduces the process of losing the body.

Now the relatives of the deceased keep a night vigil for him while the body is placed on the death chair, and for the happiness of his soul and the transfer of the soul from this world to immortal world, they sacrifice a chicken or a pig and celebrate.

After the ceremony is over, the body is taken down from the death chair and wrapped in a blanket one more time. At this time, the dead person is placed in such a way that his knees are folded and brought towards the face. This time, vine leaves are placed in the blanket to scent the corpse.

It is said that before placing the body in the coffin, the coffin is fixed on the rock and then the body of the deceased is led to the coffin so that his soul may leave his body more calmly.

While this ceremony the relatives of the deceased person should not leave the island or a great misfortune befalls them.

photo by google maps

Hanging coffins of Sagada Nowadays!

In some places of Philippines this tradition is still so trend. Mostly the elder ones have fear from being buried in the ground so they strictly make will to hang their coffins on the mountains, so their dead body won`t decay by water or bitten by insects.


At first sight the hanging coffins of Sagada might sound weird and awkward, But some people of Philippines believes that this is a high value action. It has special steps to hang a coffin on the cliffs that we described in the article. Nowadays this strange tradition is still being progressed.

Now you tell us, have you ever seen hanging coffins from near? Do you want to visit Sagada?

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.