The Echo Valley of Sagada is one of the best place to see hanging coffins in the Philippines. The location is not too far from the town center and requires a short hike. It is said that the valley is shaped like a large megaphone therefore making any sound echoes and vibrate across the valley thus the name “Echo” valley.
The easiest approach towards Echo Valley is by passing thru the church grounds of St. Mary, then continue all the way to the Angelican Cemetery until you see the hanging coffins across the opposite side of the valley.
Take this walk as a way of introducing yourself to the beautiful landscape and historical culture that Sagada has to offer. This specific activity can be done without a tour guide unless you want to do rock climbing.
On a closer look the coffins are small in size maybe only about a meter length attributing to the practice of burying corpses in a fetal position, an Igorot belief that a person shall depart the world the same way he or she came into this world.
Apart from the Hanging Coffins, one of the most recommended activity in Sagada is spelunking.
Sumaguing Cave is the most popular due to the large entrance chamber where visitors can easily access together with an accredited guide. Inside the cave are million years old magnificent rock formation and pools of water with unending bottom.
Caving activity is best done together with a Sagada accredited guide who mastered every steep and slope inside the cave. Their first order of duty is to prepare the lamp that will provide temporary light inside but it would be best as well to bring your own head torch.
Upon entering the cave the first thing that welcomes you is the stinky smell of bats but you will get used to it eventually. It is dark and slippery inside requiring every effort not to slip, so I ditched my sandals and went barefooted instead.
Turtle, King’s curtain, chocolate cake, pregnant woman are some of the names use to identify the rock formations. These names are given by locals, a product of their imagination on how closely the rock formations resemble their given names.
After seeing the cave at Vietnam’s Halong Bay decorated with disco light effect, I began to deeply wish that nothing similar will happen to Sumaguing Cave. No matter how popular it will be, I hope it will stay as it is- untouched, mystical and how nature should be.