Thursday, December 11, 2008
It was early 2006, when Starstruck Season 3 was going underway, that a young Igorot boy brought the spotlight to Sinto, Bauko. Dozens of residents came out chanting “Dream, Believe, Survive” in support of this young man’s bid to become the first Igorot winner of the contest. There were joyous community singing and dancing led by his grandmother. Now, almost 3 years later, the same boy is being brought home but there will be no joy in whatever singing or dancing that will be done. Marky Cielo is being brought to Sinto for his final resting place.
Sinto is one of the 22 barangays of Bauko – Mountain Province’s most populated town. Reporters and columnists of major newspapers have mistakenly reported that it was a part of Benguet province. It is a relatively remote place, a 4-5 hour drive from Baguio City through the Halsema Highway. Visitors to the place will see terrain that is widely used for vegetable farming. Mt. Data Hotel, a popular stop nestled amongst evergreen forests at an elevation of 7,200 feet is also located in Sinto.
Sinto is a quiet and peaceful place but that will hardly be the case during the wake and eventual funeral of perhaps its most popular son. If the crowds at the Resurrection Cathedral in Baguio City were an indication on the activity surrounding Marky Cielo’s wake, expect a similar number to flock to Sinto for the final days of his wake. Plenty of relatives and friends from the surrounding towns of Bontoc, Tadian, Sabangan, Besao and Sagada will also be attending the wake for the first time. Expect too, that the burial that is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, December 16 will be highly attended.
Two of Mountain Province’s prominent politicians will surely visit during the wake or be present during the burial. Governor Maximo Dalog had earlier supported Marky Cielo’s Starstruck bid, and ex-Congresswoman and now undersecretary Josephine Dominguez had also expressed her fondness for the young Igorot actor. Other town and provincial leaders will also be expected to attend. What remains to be seen is the number of fans and admirers of Marky who will follow from Baguio and maybe even as far as Manila. There will also be relatives coming from far Butuan, where Marky spent his childhood days.
Reports have indicated that Marky will be buried according to Igorot custom. I don’t particularly know what that means since 99% of the Igorot funerals I’ve attended was done either in an Anglican or Catholic Church. The wake will be conducted in a slightly different manner than the normal wakes in Manila or the lowlands. There will be plenty of church hymn singing. Baya-o, a type of sing-song storytelling regarding the dead which I normally observed is done for older people may also be done during his wake as well. The normal time for the burial of younger folks like Marky would be in the morning, but everything about the actor has seemed a deviation from the norm so far and this custom may or may not be followed.
It would be interesting to see how Sinto and its residents will be able to handle the situation. Television crews would be in the town as Marky Cielo’s death has hogged the limelight in recent days. I don’t believe the hotel will be able to accommodate all visitors staying overnight – most likely, local residents or even the schools will open their places for visitors as well. Support will most likely come also from the provincial government. It is just the appropriate thing to do – Marky has brought Mountain Province a lot of positive attention in his brief stint in showbiz. In death, he and his family are entitled to the respect and admiration they need, and deserve.