Kabayan Philippines Mummies
Human Mummy
Kabayan mummiees
Biographical Information
Name(s) Igorot Mummies, Fire mummies
Age ca. 300 years
Sex both
Status Upper class
Height Unknown
Culture Filipino
Date(s) 1700's
Site Kabayan Caves
Current Location
Location Kabayan, Benguet, Luzon, Philippines
Catalog # Unknown

The Igorot mummies were mummies of ancient indigenous Ibaloi tribes in the Philippines.


Dying members of the tribe drank salty mixtures to begin the process. After death, their bodies were cleansed, rubbed with herbs, and heated while their mouths were filled with smoke. These steps were performed continually over a period of weeks before the deceased were placed fetal position into oval-shaped wooden coffins with decorative carvings. The body was wrapped in a cloth and was first dehydrated with the use of fires lit next to it. Following the fire, the body continues to dehydrate in the sun while plants and herbs are placed on the body. The mummification finishes with the blowing of smoke into the mouths of the mummy in order to dehydrate the inside of the mummy further. The mummy was then placed seated in a wooden coffin and carried into the burial caves of Kabayan.

Found in caves in the town of Kabayan, in the Benguet province of the Philippines, the fire mummies are well-preserved remains and have given researchers insight into a unique mummification process, and into the tribal people who engaged in those methods.

The Kabayan mummies are also known as the Ibaloi mummies, Benguet mummies, or Fire mummies. They were located in many caves in the area, including Timbak, Bangao, Tenongchol, Naapay, and Opdas.


Although mummification is no longer practiced among the Ibaloi people, the tribe still considers the Kabayan caves to be sacred.

Around 1919, the intricately tattooed body of an important tribal leader named Apo Annu, who had died 500 years before, was stolen from his coffin. The mummy then changed hands a number of times, until 1984 when it was finally donated to the national Museum by an antique collector. The museum immediately notified the Filipino government, and the body has since been restored to its original resting place.

External Links Piombino-Mascali, D et al. (2013). Human Mummification Practices among the Igorot of North Luzon. Bulletin der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, 19(2).

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