Friday, May 23, 2008
Photo Credit: AllPosters.com
"One traveller I met managed to occupy himself for almost two weeks in Sagada. Superficially I wonder how anyone wouldn't become terribly bored spending so long here; but after a few minutes of pensive, lethargic, delayed conversation with him, I realised that substances can play a role in keeping Sagada interesting. There is a rumor here about an expat who supplies the town with certain baked goods... perhaps that is why the people are so pleasant to get along with, but laid back to the point that in restaurants one must go to the counter to get service."The above quote from one of Fatduck's Sagada entries at his TravelPod blog suggests that drugs has something to do with (a) keeping Sagada interesting, and (b) the pleasantness of the people.
Sadly, Sagada and drugs is a reality. As a teenager, I saw a couple of adult neighbors roll and smoke marijuana before my eyes. I'll be a hypocrite to say that I've never tried it; for out of curiosity and some teenage rebellion, I tried the substance once - and that was that. I was blessed to had some guidance from my folks to stay away from drugs, and not even to consider them at all. It's not the case for some i-Sagada. I know a couple of guys who are doing prison sentences having been convicted of drug dealing. I also remember a month when Sagada was the target of drug bust operations from the country's National Bureau of Investigation. Checking my website traffic report, I saw a hit coming from a browser in South Korea searching for "Sagada and drugs".
From the outside, Sagada's drug problem looks controlled and contained within a very small group. However, it is still a problem that needs to aggressively dealt with if Sagada is to remain amongst one of the better destinations in the country. It would be good to see both the local government and businesses working together on this. In the long run, a drug-free Sagada, will benefit the locals the most.
Having said that, drugs has nothing to do with keeping Sagada interesting or the attitude of the locals. Almost all visitors including Fatduck enjoy the place because of the natural high a stay in this town offers. Locals are pleasant and easy to get along with as with any other tourist town in the world. To suggest otherwise is just not right.