Philippines — Sagada (Hanging Coffins)

After a three-hour, windy jeepney drive from Banaue, along the mountains of Northern Luzon, one comes to Sagada. In this fertile region, many agricultural products are grown, including Arabica coffee, green peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and Valencia oranges. It is also home to lush pine forests and steep cliffs with coffins hanging from them.

Members of the Igorot tribe have long practiced the tradition of burying their dead in hanging coffins, nailed to the sides of cliff faces high above the ground. To this day, the age-old tradition continues to be performed, albeit on a much smaller scale than before. One of the most common beliefs behind this practice is that moving the bodies of the dead higher up brings them closer to their ancestral spirits. Coffins can also be found stacked in caves.

Photos taken April 2014 (Nikon D7000).

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