Mummification was practiced in the Philippines until the arrival of the Spanish. The caves containing the mummies were untouched until the 19th century.[1]

The heat and humidity of the islands made mummification difficult to perform in much of the Philippines. However, widespread practice of the mummification existed in Benguet and in the higher and cooler altitudes of the Cordilleras. Studying the mummies reveals information about the rituals, beliefs, and social structure of the tribes that practiced mummification. For instance, mummification was intended for leaders and individuals that are from the higher social ranks of the tribe.[2]

Often the practice in the north of the Philippines is to mummify the corpses of family members and store them in special tombs (wooden huts on stilts) protected from access of rodents in the households. Mummies are regularly preserved, among other things, the clothes in which the mummified bodies are wrapped are changed. The opening of the family tomb takes place after performing a special cermony combined with a victim in the form of chicken. The shamans prepare a special mixture of their blood, in order to connect with the spirits of the mummified dead family members. The appearance of chicken guts determines whether a tomb can be opened.