Tag Archives: Luzon

High above the ground or underwater

This post is about 2 interesting sites in the Philippines playing hosts to visitors who come to view the remains of the dead in contrasting styles.
Sunken Cemetery

Sunken Cemetery.

Deep in the south of the Philippines, one of the places that stands out in the tourist world is a pear-shaped island which boasts of white beaches, rich diving sites, waterfalls, hot and cold springs. It is non other than Camiguin Island. One nice sight identified with Camiguin Island is the  Sunken Cemetery which  marks the swept remains of the island’s rested locals. A long history of volcanic eruptions starting 1827 onwards resulted in so many deaths among the island’s inhabitants causing the  ground to sink under the sea. Mt. Vulcan’s wrath virtually erased the old capital which was founded during the Spanish Occupation, along with its cemetery which has come to be known as the Sunken Cemetery.  In the following years, the sunken land and the gravestones are easily visible by the naked eye when the tide is low. However, in 1948 until 1953, Mount Vulcan erupted again, sinking the whole area deeper, to around twenty feet.  In 1982, a large cross was built on the solidified lava to mark the site that became the graves of the ancestors of the Camiguin people.Today, Camiguin is an interesting diving destination  although diving is “officially” not allowed. Divers claim that the underwater cemetery is eerily beautiful as the tombstones are now covered with colorful corals. 

Access route to this diving site: Manila to Cagayan de Oro by plane,then to Balingoan by bus, then to Camiguin Island by ferryboat.

Hanging Coffins

Hanging Coffins.

On the northerly section of Luzon Island in the Philippines is a place called Sagada, Mountain Province which is the site of one of the most frequented tourist spots in the Philippines. Only 149 Km from Baguio  travel would take about 5 hours due to some rugged stretches of the road but once you are in  Sagada,  it is a breathtaking place. People who are looking for  peace of mind or would want to meditate or have a spiritual experience go to Sagada. In the Sagada region, the ancient funeral norm of hanging coffins from mountain cliffs is still being practiced by some minority groups. The purpose of suspending the casket from the mountain rocks is to bring the deceased closer to heaven.In ancient times, the coffins were made from carved and hollowed-out wood. They are ‘hung’ into place through the use of projecting beams.