February 6, 2023

Tourists visiting Sagada, Mountain Province for the All Saints’ Day observance are reminded the panag-apoy done in some of the cemeteries in the town and has since been attracting visitors is not intended as a tourist attraction.
While they are not banned from observing the practice, they should consider the fact that the same is a solemn event done by families to honor their departed.
Jaime Dugao, the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative to the municipal council and a respected elder in Sagada, said the panag-apoy where families light a fire near the tombs of their loved ones using saleng or resinous wood is done to honor the dead.
The practice has since caught the attention of people from other areas, which has led to some tourism promoters including it in their tour packages.
Dugao joined town officials in correcting the impression that the panag-apoy is a form of festival, or a celebration of some sort.
“Panag-apoy is a sacred event. It is done in the community of the dead so it must be respected and must be kept solemn,” Dugao said.
He added while tourists who want to observe the practice are not banned from doing so, they should observe prudence and be considerate of the families who go to the cemetery to honor their departed.
“It should not also be included as part of a tour package,” he said.
Dugao said in strict sense, panag-apoy is not rooted in the practice of the indigenous peoples of Sagada as this was introduced by the church, which established cemeteries.
“We did not have panag-apoy in the olden times because the burial grounds of our ancestors used to be inside the caves,” he said.
He, however, said panag-apoy has since become a customary practice because the indigenous peoples have also embraced Christianity.
Sagada Mayor Felicito Dula said the local government does not have a hand in the panag-apoy as this is purely a practice done by families.
He said the practice is the equivalent of lighting candles on the tombs of the dead in various cemeteries across the country. – Jane B. Cadalig with a report from PNA