Apo Anno – A Philippine National Treasure

Apo Anno Image
Photo Credit – pinoy-culture.com

Continuing on the blog from last week, I hope you are not getting a nightmare looking at these photos. If you do, I apologize.


Who is Apo Anno?


Apo Anno, a tribal leader in the Benguet province, was a descendant of a 12th century Kankanaey hunter who lived to a ripe old age of 250 years old. Kankanaey is another tribe of Benguet and according to legends, Apo Anno was the half mortal son of a goddess. Apo Anno’s mummified body is now a declared national treasure of the Philippines and part of the Filipino history and culture.


Upon his death, his body was mummified by the Kankanaeys and his mummified body was dressed in his tribal chief attire before he was placed in a wooden coffin. He was heavily tattooed, the mark of a hunter and warrior. He was covered with dried flesh, brownish color in a sitting position with arms held up to his face like a man praying to the heaven. He was buried inside his burial cave beneath a rocky mountainside in Nabalicong, Benguet. There it rested in complete silence and solitude for 600 years until a European, Hans Meir, came across the mummy in 1885 and then his mummified body had been stolen by a grave robber between 1918 and 1920. His mummified body’s whereabouts remained unknown for several years.


From the time it disappeared, tragedy struck. It was believed that the displeased spirit wreaked havoc. Heavy rains and landslides devastated the area. Some residents of the area believe that the region has been cursed by droughts, earthquakes, and famine since the mummy of Apo Anno was looted.


His mummified body briefly appeared in a carnival in Manila in 1922 and for some reason coincidentally or not, brought a heavy downpour in Manila. It wound up as part of a sideshow in a Manila circus and changed hands a number of times. Then, it disappeared again.


In 1984, a mummy appeared in an antique shop and a mambunong (Benguet tribal priest) identified it to be Apo Anno. Eventually an antique collector donated it to the National Museum. The National Museum of the Philippines recently returned the mummified and intricately tattooed body of Apo Anno who died more than 600 years ago.


After it was returned to the town in May 1999, it was given a reburial ritual and a grand feast that lasted for three days. At the end of the feast, a rainbow suddenly appeared in the sky as if to symbolize Apo Anno’s triumphant return.


Source: Insight Guide Philippines by Discovery Channel



4 thoughts on “Apo Anno – A Philippine National Treasure

  1. Hopefully he has the wanderlust out of his system and he can now rest in peace! Amazing it is in such good condition after 600 years and being passed around like that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Proud to be a Filipino, hope can be created Big movies in Holly Wood inspiring how language and culture called by Ethnolinguistics as evolve human kind in the Philippines.,,


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