The Philippines is a rich country with its vast mountains and powdery-white beaches. Aside from abundant natural resources that foreign and local people explore and experience, there are interesting historical relics that tell of the gruesome past events that the ancient locals have kept underground.
The beautiful Mt. Pulag is one such place.
Mt. Pulag is one of the go-to spots for hiking enthusiasts and it is the third tallest mountain, but what some do not know is what’s hidden beneath the land. In the 19th century, local loggers from Benguet found mummies in a cave that are linked to the history of the ancient residents of Mt. Pulag.
As it turns out, deceased residents of the Ibaloi tribe had a tradition of placing the dead in small wooden boxes and buried them in caves to stave off decay as time passes. As part of the mummification process, the tribe would let the dying person drink a salty mixture then light a fire underneath the person while in a seated position. Tobacco was also smoked in their mouths as it was believed to make their internal organs dry.
The mummies were called the “fire mummies” because of the traditional practice. The tribe had neglected the practice when the Spaniards had colonized the Philippines in the 16th century.
Often times entire families would be crammed inside a single wooden box. The fire mummies would be left untouched for decades before their eventual discovery.
Today, the mummies and the cave itself are preserved and declared as national cultural treasures and, eventually would also be under considered as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site.
Have you heard of the mysterious Fire Mummies of the Ibaloi Tribe? Have you visited Mt. Pulag before? What did you find interesting about the topic? Write your thoughts, comments or suggestions below.