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Saturday, March 2

A Sagada Graveyard Stopover

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This is Sagada's main burial park. The Echo Valley is just at the back of this graveyard.

The way to Echo Valley where the up-close Hanging Coffins were located means you have to go first at the back of the Stone Church, reach the stairs that leads somehow to a retreat house, go left by following the sign where “To Echo Valley” was painted and see the cemetery. It was a walk tour right after a bus ride so we did make a short rest at their graveyard.

Nothing Beats Plain Nature Adventure: Sagada

Sagada Cemetery
Unlike other cemeteries found in the different parts of the lowlands, Sagada graveyard is somewhat patterned to the English or American style of allotting a land space for the burial of their dead loved ones. Epitaphs of rectangular, top arched concrete blocks were erected over the burial site, with inscriptions of the names of the dead with their age (or year of death), profession, or quotations. In the lowlands of Luzon, this type of graveyard is seldom, instead of burying their dead loved ones 6 feet underneath the ground, they used to construct a rectangular box made out of concrete, then put the coffin or casket inside the ‘nitso’ (nitso=tomb=concrete box used to put the coffin). Mausoleum is also more popular in the lowlands, where the burial site was housed with a roof and a simple terrace.

My Sagadan friend told me that it was in the history that the cemetery of Sagada should be of a walking distance from their church. Just like the other countries, the church has to be beside the graveyard or near it, and if you happen to be a lowlander originating in the provinces in Luzon outside Cordillera, you may have to watch movies like “Forget Me Not” or “Vampire Diaries” or just any other Hollywood horror movies or series. You will then notice that indeed, the church is near to the cemetery. (And I remember that “Silent Hill” movie where the graveyard is just at the back of the church).
From the back of the church, find this signboard that leads to Echo Valley.
Turn left and this will lead you to the cemetery.
 In the lowlands, it is not the same case, because what I noticed, the church is far from the cemetery. Sagada has a different culture because the conquerors who spread Christianity were not Spaniards. I will have to explain some other interesting facts later as soon as I finish my travel article for the “Hanging Coffins” (maybe you are wondering why it is called so) and another cultural presentation on All-Saints Day. They have a different way of commemorating their dead loved ones as compared to the lowland provinces.

By the way, the graveyard of Sagada was at the center of the pine forests. Just at the back of the cemetery was the Echo Valley, but do not shout yet, because it is unlikely to shout when in the graveyard. You have to follow the foot path to the Echo Valley and once you shout and there is the repeating echos, hoorah. You are now in the Echo Valley.

Nothing Beats Plain Nature Adventure: Sagada Travel Series:
Part 8: The Echo Valley Tour: How to Reach the Hanging Coffins
Part 9: SOON.

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