The hanging coffins of Sagada in Echo Valley, the Philippines

Yes, Those Are Coffins Hanging off the Side of That Cliff

Yes, Those Are Coffins Hanging off the Side of That Cliff

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Oct. 2 2014 10:42 AM

The Hanging Coffins of Sagada

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For 2,000 years, the Igorot people of Sagada in the Philippines have laid their dead to rest by jamming their bodies into compact wooden coffins and hoisting them up to rest on brackets driven into the side of a cliff. The practice protects the dead from floods and animals, and, according to Igorot beliefs, allows for easier passage to heaven.

Rows of pine caskets, some hundreds of years old, hang high from the bluffs of Echo Valley in Sagada. The Igorots embrace and actively prepare for death—elders, if physically able, carve their own coffins.


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Ella Morton is a writer working on The Atlas Obscura, a book about global wonders, curiosities, and esoterica adapted from Atlas Obscura. Follow her on Twitter.