Opdas Cave in Kabayan

The Opdas Cave Kabayan Benguet Burial Skulls Bones Catacomb Tomb Ibaloi Tribe History Location Skeleton Mass DeathOpdas Cave is a mass burial site located in Kabayan in Benguet Province. Considered as one of the biggest burials caves in the municipality, it has 200 skulls and bones neatly piled on ledges reminiscent of the catacombs of Rome. Thousands of skeletal fragments can be seen on the floor. Unearthed in 1971, the mass burial cave of the Ibaloi tribe has about 200 human skulls and skeletons, which have been carbon dated to be from 500 to 1,000 years old. Little is known about the origins of the burial, but some theories suggest the deceased suffered from a smallpox epidemic brought by the Spanish or were entombed en mass because of their low social status. The Opdas Cave is located about 300 meters from the municipal building. Continue reading

The Ibaloi Culture

Nabaloi, Benguet, IniballuyThe Ibaloy (Ibaloi, Ibadoy, Igodor, Benguet Igorot, Nabaloi, Benguet, Iniballuy) constitute a large ethnic group that number approximately 112,447 (NSO 1990) and are found in Benguet Province, principally in the municipalities of Itogon (12,353), Tuba (11,063), La Trinidad (12,136), Bokod (8,911), Baguio (68,550), and Atok (9,063) (NSO 1980, 1990). The population has spread to the neighboring provinces of Pangasinan, La Union, Nueva Vizcaya, and Nueva Ecija. Kabayan is recognized as the center of Ibaloy culture. The settlements are scattered in the municipalities of Bokod, Atok, Tublay, Sablan, and Kabayan. A wide range of dialectical differences are known but not clearly studied. Thus far, (1) Ibaloy Proper and (2) Karao are the subgroups cited. Continue reading

Kabayan Mummy Burial Caves

Kabayan Mummy Burial CavesKabayan is one of the Municipality of Benguet Province in the Cordillera Mountain Ranges of northern Luzon. The municipality is recognized as a center of Ibaloi Culture. The Ibaloi, the dominant ethno-linguistic group, of Kabayan have a long traditional practice of mummifying their dead. Mummification began prior to the Spanish colonization. Individuals from the higher societal stratum of the Ibaloi of Kabayan used to be mummified through a long ritual process over a long period of time. Continue reading