Monday, May 27, 2013

Magew Burial Cave

"When invited to see a cultural heritage, there is no way to turn it down. It is a privilege and an honor"

-my pagnapagna-

Balaoan, La Union was our meeting place with my friend “Patrick” (he is from that mountain area of Santol). He will be my guide as he was the one who  invited me to see Magew Burial Cave.
With his motorbike, we departed from downtown Balaoan at 10:49 am going eastward and arrived at Santol town proper at 11:03 am. 
From Santol town proper we went farther up to the mountains of mostly steep roads, passed by Barangay Ramot at 11:30 am and arrived at the drop-off area at 11:51 am.

Along the way
He parked the motorbike under a small tree just near the road bend.  

We walked few meters down the road then went off-road going down the side of the mountain of solid rock wherein under it was the burial cave.

Under this solid rock is the Burial Cave

At a minute pass noontime, we were at the cave entrance. Greeting us were harvested tiger grass piled at the cave’s entrance corner. He said, maybe it was a part of last year’s harvest.

Piles of materials (tiger grass) for softbrooms at the entrance corner of the cave
for a while there is nothing to do but enjoy the view

I am kind of frustrated as we explored the cave, I found nothing but parts of the cave’s ceiling fallen to the ground and generally nothing else. It was dead-cold empty. Some few citrus trees grow in front of the cave and water continuously drips at some of the cave’s mouth with some few short curtains of plants hanging. 

"Patrick" inside the empty cave

at least we could do some jumpshot :-)

A question runs in my mind with frustration “where are the bones, skeletons, etcetera, etcetera, and etcetera?”
Finally, after some few minutes inside the cave just enjoying the view of distant mountains and the cold mountain air, Patrick asked me-
“Kayat mu ba kitaen dagidiay tultulang?” (Do you like to see the skeletons?)
Siyempre, wen a” (Of course, yes) I replied without hesitation.
And so at 12:25 pm we went out of the cave and started climbing back to the road above.
Looking at the distant mountains with something at the back of my mind
started climbing up back to the road
Finally at the top
We rode the motorbike going back and arrived at sitio Magew of Barangay Puguil proper at about 12:47 pm. We stopped and rested at a small shelter with around 2 meters by 2.5 meters storage room. Patrick had some conversation with his friend sitting on the bench in the shelter where we also sat.

At a shelter. That's our parked motorcycle ride and my backpack.

“Lukatam a dayta ruangan dita” (Open that door) he said to me (pertaining to the storage room’s door).
As I opened the door of the small storage room, a wood/log coffin greeted me along with some sacks of rice and believe it or not, toilet bowls. Never mind the toilet bowls (they are new ones), I am truly amazed with the unique design of the log coffin with a serpent carved on top of it.

the sight upon opening the door of the storage room.

“Lukatam a” (Open it) He said again.
I tried to lift the cover to open it but it was quite heavy. He came inside to help and carried the other end of the cover.
And there it was …. The Skeletal Remains!
He told me that there were two of this log coffin (I only saw one .... the other one which is said to be much greater in design was stolen). This one was intercepted being taken away from the burial cave and so, they kept it in that storage room of the Barangay for safe keeping.

The Log Coffin  (i kind of blackened the unsightly stack of toilet bowls behind the coffin) 

After some few photograph sessions, we closed the log coffin and so with the storage room. We said our thanks and goodbyes.

going back

We finally went back to the road going to Santol town proper and concluded another day of seeing another cultural heritage of my home province La Union and back to Home Sweet Home.

-end of pagnapagna-

For more Photos CLICK HERE

NOTE: As of November 19, 2016, every visitor to any tourist spots in the town of Santol are required to register and pay a certain fee at their Tourism Office.

Location : Sitio Magew
                 Barangay Puguil
                 Municipality of Santol
                 Province of La Union

How to get there:
NOTE: As of November 19, 2016, every visitor to any tourist spots in the town of Santol are required to register and pay a certain fee at their Tourism Office.

 To get there from Manila take a bus bound for either Vigan, Laoag, Candon or Abra. It passes through the province of La Union, so get down at Balaoan, La Union. From Balaoan town proper take a walk going to the supermarket beside their Catholic church and look for the yellow painted tricycles that are parked and waiting for passengers. It will take some 15 to 20 minutes ride to Santol. Arriving at Santol's Green Market take a motorbike backride for a fee going to the Cave and sitio Magew of Barangay Puguil where the coffin is. (Take note that the road going up to the mountain barangay of Puguil is too risky during rainy season) Please visit their tourism office for more info.

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