[Bontoc] ► Ganga Burial Caves: Mystical Grave, Mysterious People

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"I experienced goosebumps upon entering this area of dead bodies that made me feel I was in a different dimension."

I thought living in the Digital Age would alleviate the intensity of the bounding pulse beat of curiosity. But it was not. The thirst for knowing the answers to many questions is deeply excruciating. Human knowledge has limit. We can not deny the fact that not every question has an answer. This scenario might have given birth to legends and myths leaving mysterious grounds interesting and out this world.

Ganga Cave, Alab, Bontoc

Prehistoric dweller laid to rest inside a thick pinewood capsule


Ganga Caves, that is the beautiful name of the mass grave of the legendary group of people that once inhabited the village of Alab in the town of #BONTOC

#BONTOC

FAST FACTS: The capital town of Mountain Province, #Bontoc hosts majestic ancestral rice terraces, a prehistoric village, burial caves and the melting pot of culture in the province. / Photo: Palali Rice Terraces @ Alab Oriente, Bontoc
. Based on the stories passed through generations, Ganga Caves (collectively) is where young men and women who lived before recorded history were laid to rest.

These are the same people believed to be the hands behind the ALAB PETROGLYPHS

Alab Petroglyphs | Prehistoric Etchings, Mind-Boggling Patterns

TEASER: "It was carved inside a space of time from another dimension of civilization even far from the dawn of Christianity..."
on which according to the legend, died because of unwittingly hitting a supernatural being with an arrow. If you have followed this series, I bet you are familiar with that story as it has already been published in the earlier posts.

MASS GRAVE OF MYSTERIOUS PEOPLE

Up to this date, no one knows who exactly these people are. This mass grave is shrouded in mystery. A not-the-usual number of sarcophagus made of pinewood  is piled up inside a shallow cave located on a higher portion of a mountain in the village of ALAB ORIENTE

Alab Oriente, Bontoc | An Ancient Village with Sacred Grounds

TEASER: "Prehistoric mountain dwellers inhabited this place leaving a mark that became an evidence of their existence."
.

Ganga Caves, Alab

Piled up, dropped dead, laid to rest.


First time visitors will surely be left amazed how these heavy-weighed coffins were piled up to these caves. And more mysteriously, on how they brought these heavy coffins up to this mountain and why they have to do this?

I experienced goosebumps upon entering this area of dead bodies that made me feel I was in a different dimension. It's weird, based on our contemporary culture, why these early inhabitants have to come up with this type of grave.

HAUNTED, NOT RESTED IN PEACE

The intensity of the fear-of-the-unseen I was feeling this time escalated as our local guide tells a super-creepy story...

not-so-rested-in-peace


According to the stories of the residents of the village, some have been hearing loud sounds of a group of people coming from this direction.

Some believe that this sound comes from the dead bodies of the Ganga Burial Caves who occasionally awaken from their resting grounds. Uh!

UNCOVERING THE DEAD

Respect to the dead has no absolute rule. It depends upon the point of view of an individual. Some dead bodies are left hanging under tree branches, some are offered to scavenger vultures, some are burnt and many more!

Ganga Caves of Alab, Bontoc

The dead, uncovered


When I personally saw the coffins, one thing that I don't want to miss is seeing what is hiding inside the thick pinewood capsules with beautiful external presentation - even the coffins have something in common and they all look almost the same with several patterns. It got me more interested. The fear was replaced with a flaming ball of curiosity.

I excitedly entered one of the caves and I even stepped onto some coffins to be able to reach the inner parts. The cave was shallow and has low ceiling that I needed to bow continually to be able to navigate the area.

I opened not just one but two coffins. I lifted the cover and it was unbelievably heavy injuring one of my fingers because of underestimation. One thing I was thinking that time is to see a mummy wrapped in clothes, seriously. But what I saw was a typical skeleton.

THE IDEA OF RESPECT FOR THE DEAD

Please don't get me wrong when I intentionally opened the coffins. As I said, we have different ways in life and beliefs. For me, what we should respect more are those who are living, although I am not saying that we should not respect the dead too.

Ganga Cave, Alab, Bontoc

Coffins with heavy covers


What I wanted to emphasize here is that I don't want that my intention of opening the cover of the coffins be misinterpreted as a disrespect to the dead people.

As I said, we have different beliefs and points of view and for me, opening the coffin cover was not a form of disrespect. For me it was more of a form of learning since I treat traveling as an education and this is how I see it.

MISSING SKELETONS

Opening the coffin cover to see what's inside it gave way to a disheartening discovery because one of the two coffins I opened has missing bones. It was only the skull that I was able to see. 

Ganga Caves of Alab, Bontoc

"Never mind my vital statistics but where are my limbs?"


Thank you curiosity because you have pushed me to open the coffins for without opening them, I may have not discovered this disheartening condition that is compelling me to advocate the protection of cultural and heritage sites.

This is the right picture of disrespect and maltreatment in one. I learned that some people believed to be archaeologists and collectors went to these caves and stole some of the remains including a mummy with a long hair preserved, which is, specially buried inside an earthen jar. That would be an astounding encounter but I never saw it.

Photo Gallery: More photos from this post (hover to see captions)

Ganga Caves, Alab Oriente,BontocGanga Caves, Alab Oriente,BontocGanga Caves, Alab Oriente,Bontoc

So please, to those going to sites like this, leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos, get nothing but... nothing.

I think the best respect we could give to these dead bodies is to maintain their completeness. Please do not get what is not ours.


The great trek to the finale. Where is the trail?


It is not yet over. As this series is nearing its finale, we are about to see another mysterious scenario one must encounter in Alab Oriente believed to have happened during the time of the so called "tunay na pula" (land bridges) of the Philippines.

The next thing we discovered was an evidence of a burial ritual unusual in our times. We saw the most special coffin of the Ganga Caves. Theorists believe that the person placed in that coffin could have been the leader of the tribe, or an elite, or one important personality of that age. Uh, how does that coffin look like? I'll give you a hint. It is not made of pinewood. It is circular and fragile. /to be continued....

*ALAB ORIENTE DOCUMENTARIES SUB-SERIES | 1

Alab Oriente, Bontoc | An Ancient Village with Sacred Grounds

TEASER: "Prehistoric mountain dwellers inhabited this place leaving a mark that became an evidence of their existence."
| 2

Mt. Gotong, Mt. Data | Hiking the Mountains of Myths and Urban Legends

TEASER:"...there is still a little regret in me that I didn't just even notice the summit of the first real mountain I ever climbed." / Photo: Photo: Mt. Gotong | Bontoc, Mountain Province
| 3

Alab Petroglyphs | Prehistoric Etchings, Mind-Boggling Patterns

TEASER: "It was carved inside a space of time from another dimension of civilization even far from the dawn of Christianity..."
| 4

Finding Shelter in Alab's Mt. Data: Happy Memories with Strangers

TEASER: "By time, I may forget them, so, I have to write a story about that experience that I may still remember those precious memories every time I do the recalling of happy moments."
| 5 | 6

Evidence of Jar Burial in the Philippines as seen in Bontoc

TEASER: "They left an evidence to let us know they once existed but the complete details on why they have to do this is a thing only known to them."
| 7

Ganga House, the Ruined Pig Pen and Goodbye Mystical Mountain

TEASER: "Still, it is significant because it is an ancient mark, an evidence of prehistoric civilization. The trek continues..."
| 8

The Last Generation of Overt Igorots in the Cordilleras

TEASER: "Each second counts, and each second that has passed means losing another second of their generation."

Bontoc #TownExploration Series

Map showing the Location of #Bontoc

Click map to view latest articles covering Mountain Province

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comment 2 #TownFolks Commented :

San Josenyong Gala on July 31, 2013 at 12:06 AM said...

Waiting here for the next part of the series!

Na-curious na ko ah... Basta talaga historical and archeological topics ang usapan, napi-pique talaga curiosity ko...

Edmar TownExplorer on August 2, 2013 at 7:41 AM said...

San Josenyong Gala | OO nga eh! Interesante eh. hehe :)

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