It was 5:00 when we first started our journey from Baguio to Buguias. We were visiting the famous Apo Anno mummy to document and also help a friend for her personal project.
The 2 hour and 30 minute drive gave us plenty of landscapes and nature to be overwhelmed with, we were introduced to the highest point of the Philippine Highway System. I was continuously looking at the vast seem to be infinite views of the province of Benguet and realized that majority of the villagers and other locals probably live a different lifestyle. My friend that is a local to the area commented saying that elderly people live longer here due to the organic food that grows and the non stop exercise they get from all the labor that they do and that the lifestyle here is much different than from the city because of less electronics.
Once we reached the town the barangay captain acted out as our tour guide and showed us the route to the mummy. What I can say is that the hike to the place is nor merely a simple trail like any hike it is, there was no exact pathway so we scrolled through the fine grass to make our way downward the steep mountain.
When we came to a stop at the mummy’s tomb, I looked through the environment to be welcomed by a beautiful river and a really good view of a nearby village.
As the mummy was taken out of the coffin, my local friend asked us to pray before we got to open the mummy’s case. The act of praying was for the permission and the information to be given to the spirits around us, it was a cultural practice for us not be cursed with something terrible. Once it was open the mummy itself was still intact with skin and tattoos. The barangay captain told the story of the 1300 A.D. mummy giving details of him being a demigod (half god & and half mortal) the folklore stated him being introduced as a baby carried from a spirit dear like creature in the wilderness called Kuyapon. Once the spirit itself has met with a hunter named Togtogaka the spirit encouraged the hunter to adopt the baby it was carrying due to the biological father not accepting him because of his human scent. The hunter, Togtogaka, agreed to take the baby home as it was nurtured by its new family and the baby grew up to be a leader.
Another story was told to me when it was taken out of the tomb, during when the Spanish invaded the Philippines and tried to convert it to Christianity.
“Apo anno was taken to the river near his burial site and was stabbed 3 times for water to go into his body so that it would drown. After that happend the journey of the spanish were met with calamities,there was never a spanish colony here at CAR region. The spaniards then went back to put Apo Anno back to his coffin” – Cindy Copas
I was astonished from all the stories was told by me but it was honestly good information to hear from a culture I never got to get deep in with, and also it was a good adventure.