An Ibaloy Mummy in the Baguio Museum

Visited the Baguio Museum, which was originally built in 1975 and restored after it was damaged in the 1990 earthquake that has left a scar on the City that can be felt to this day.

The Baguio Museum is located at the Dot-PTA Complex along Gov. Pack Road in Baguio City, Benguet.

The Museum is inspired by Igorot architecture and features artifacts from Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province, as well as the history of Baguio City and now, a digital archiving program.

The Museum is also home to an Ibaloy mummy. The accompanying literature reads: “The art of mummification was practiced by the Ibaloy in preserving not only human beings but also sacred animals and buried in caves and rockshelters… The Kabayan Mummy was declared a NATIONAL CULTURAL TRASURE (sic)… and mandated by law to protect, preserve and maintain our valuable cultural heritage. There are almost 80 mummy burial caves in the Municipality of Kabayan. Most of the preserved mummies are buried in Timbak Cave in Kabayan, Benguet.”

I don’t have a photo of the mummy as I didn’t feel like having to ask it for permission, but it’s easy to find as it’s located on the left wing of the first floor. It is displayed in its coffin, which has been half-opened to show the body inside. 

I actually don’t know if it’s real or not, but the energy felt heavy in that side of the museum, changing into an energy that was light, even playful, when standing in front of the mummy itself, which leads me to believe that the mummy likes being visited. So if you’re in the area, drop by the Baguio Museum and (respectfully) say hello.

The Museum charges an entrance fee, but it goes to its upkeep. When in Baguio, try to visit to learn more about Baguio City and the Cordillera Region and to help keep this center of heritage conservation going.


Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.

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