THE BURIAL CAVE OF LUMIANG
Sagada is famous for its hanging coffins but there is also another traditional way of burying the deceased, by stacking the coffins at the opening of the cave. A visit to the Lumiang Cave allows you see this century old tradition. This cave houses at least a hundred of coffins that have been there for about 500 years.
Our guide told us that the coffins were positioned at the mouth of the cave for the belief that light coming in will protect the soul of the deceased from bad spirits. It is noticeable that the coffins are small for a full grown adult because the corpses are placed in fetal position liked in the womb, believing that they should leave the world in the same position as they entered it. Some coffins has carvings of Gecko, we were told that the person inside died at very old age. For the Kankanaey, Gecko is the symbol of long life.
In the present age, this tradition is seldom practice because of the strong Episcopalian presence in the town. They already adapted the way of burying and visiting the tomb of the dead in cemetery. But, those who have loved ones buried in the burial cave do not visit the cave. Instead, they perform rituals at home.
This cave is often visited as this is also the entrance to the Cave Connection tour, where one enters Lumiang and exits at the entrance of Sumaguing Cave.
Lumiang Cave is approximately 1.5 kilometre or 30-minute walk from the center town of Sagada.