Kabayan Mummies (Fire Mummies)

Kabayan Mummies also known as Fire Mummies is a collection of remains of ancient people in Benquet in Pilippines. Local people who live around Kabayan Mummies claim that these burial caves are haunted by ghosts and spirits of people who died long time ago.


Location: Benguet


Kabayan mummies are named after their location in the municipality of Kabayan in the province of Benguet, Philippines. Kabayan is considered a center of Ibaloi culture, the traces of which can be traced back to the pre-colonial era. A sociological peculiarity of the historical Ibaloi culture is the mummification of selected and socially significant dignitaries.

The mummification that the Ibaloi performed was an active method of making mummies. This method is called fire mummification. Preparations for the mummification were initiated shortly before the person's death, by supplying the person concerned with drinks containing a lot of salt and alkali. After the death, the dead man was seated over a fire, which was of low to medium intensity, until the body was completely dehydrated by the heat treatment. This process could take up to two years. At the end of the treatment, the old skin layers were removed and the body was embalmed with plant extracts, and the body was also subjected to intensive tobacco smoke treatment. This type of mummification was carried out from the 10th to the 16th century and is regarded worldwide as the second example of active mummification of the dead, which was carried out using a different technique than mummification in ancient Egypt.

The mummies were then buried in wooden coffins, which were laid out in artificial and natural caves. These caves are considered sacred ground to the Ibaloi and are located near Mount Pulag National Park. The burial places of the Kabayan mummies have been on the Philippines' list of proposals for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2006 and are considered the National Heritage of the Philippines.