Sagada indefinitely closes tourist spots amid novel coronavirus fears

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File photo of hanging coffins in Sagada, Mountain Province

CNN Philippines (February 13) – Tourist spots in the highland town of Sagada in Mountain Province have been closed “until further notice” in the midst of the novel coronavirus scare.

Sagada Mayor James Pooten, Jr. on Thursday signed the order to suspend tourism activities in the municipality, saying he has an “urgent need” to protect their town and residents against the new virus, now called COVID-19, which has killed over 1,300 people globally, mostly in China.

All tourist attractions are now closed except for privately-owned establishments such as Sunrise View Hotel and Isang Wow Sunrise Viewdeck, Paog's Sunset Viewdeck, Sagada Pottery, Sagada Weaving, Masferre's Photographs, the local government said.

The municipality is home to the famous Hanging Coffins, in which coffins dangle from cliffs and caves, reflecting the old Igorot burial tradition. It is also famous for its cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes and cold weather.

Tourism boomed in Sagada after it was featured in the 2014 romantic comedy film “That Thing Called Tadhana”

Sagada is the latest town in the Cordilleras to freeze tourism activities due to the novel coronavirus threat.

The municapilities of Atok in Benguet province and Tinglayan in Kalinga have also temporarily closed tourist attractions as part of heightened precautions against the new virus.