Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hanging Coffins and the Irony of the Echo Valley - when death meets life in Sagada

Hanging Coffins of Echo Valley Sagada - Schadow1 Expeditions
Part 6 of the Cordillera Series
The Echo Valley is a small ravine along the highlands near the town center of Sagada. Due to its topography, echoes are enhanced where it make sounds resonate as the valley is shaped like a large megaphone. At the bottom of the valley lies the famous Hanging Coffins of Sagada where our ancestors "bury" the dead by hanging their remains on a cliff with the belief that their loved one's spirit can reach the heavens in a faster way. Today, the valley, in spite of being eerie, reminds us of the irony of death and celebrating life.

The Echo Valley can be trekked in two ways. Coming from the town center, you can walk your way for about a kilometer from the main Staunton Highway to the church grounds of  St. Mary the Virgin and trek further inwards to the Anglican cemetery of Sagada until you find your way down to the valley. It is about 30 minutes trek down until you reach the lowest ground of the Echo Valley where a cliff stands on the middle with the hanging coffins on sight.

Or, there is also an access path from the Sagada's South Road which passes through the Tangeb di Ogas grounds (ground for the Tangeb festival of Sagada which is done every July). You would only be bypassing the church at this access path as you would be coming from its back.

Now, how did it become an irony of death and celebrating life? While you are trekking down to the hanging coffins, a few meters before you reach it, there is a 30-meter high,  90-degree cliff that you can climb and reach the top for Php 800 (good for 2 persons). If you are physically and mentally ready to do it, why not check it out and celebrate the outdoors!

Rock Climbing at Echo Valley Sagada - Schadow1 Expeditions
30-meter high natural rock climbing

After that, you can continue your trek to the cliff down below where coffins are hanged. This is a unique culture of the Igorot tribe of the Philippines that has slowly diminished over time due to colonization and urbanization.

Hanging Coffins at Echo Valley Sagada - Schadow1 Expeditions
Sagada's Hanging Coffins of the Echo Valley

The Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins and the Rock Climbing site are mapped by Schadow1 Expeditions as part of our mapping advocacy to promote Philippine tourism and help local government units use the mapping data for their disaster risk resiliency planning.

Data has been contributed to +OpenStreetMap Philippines  and a routable GPS map of the whole country is being compiled weekly to aid drivers and outdoor recreationists on their navigation/trek within the Philippines.

Google Maps (link)
Schadow1 Expeditions Contributions (link)

How to use for your Navigation System (link)

For a more detailed account of Schadow1 Expeditions on its Cordillera Mapping Expedition, check on the links below:

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