Monday, November 23, 2009
Tourism requires responsibility. When going to a particular place, it is best to be acquainted with the history and the culture of the people as to facilitate the best relationships between tourists and locals. (That's what travel guides are for.) As for the locals of Sagada, they warmly welcome tourists and visitors AS LONG AS they are respectful of Sagada ways, traditions and unwritten laws. Here are some tips on how one might enjoy his/her stay in Sagada.
ON ATTIRE: Sagada is a temperate place for hiking so it would not be proper for somebody dressed for the beach to be walking around Sagada. To avoid cat calls, do not dress on the skimpy side. Shorts and jerseys are okay... beyond that, you'll get stares and wind burn.
ON GOING AROUND: Always get a registered SEGA guide to lead you around. Vandalism is punishable by local laws as to protect Sagada's natural and manmade wonders. No littering please, keep Sagada clean (and green!).
ON THE NIGHTLIFE: Sagada imposes a 9:00 pm curfew. Lodging and boarding houses strictly follow these curfew and you wouldn't want to spend the night outside with temperatures reaching single digit levels on the Centigrade scale. There are a few bars and restaurants in town where one may get a beer or two but these bars adhere to the curfew. One thing more, there are also NO nightclubs in Sagada.
ON THE PEOPLE: Sagada locals are inherently friendly as long as one knows how to stay in his/her place. If you are taking a photograph with a particular person as a subject, ALWAYS ask permission first. If its a local holiday (obaya) wherein one is not allowed to go to particular places, RESPECT it. Otherwise, something untowards may happen which has occurred many times in the past. Respect Sagada traditions and the gesture will be returned back. A travel guide describes Sagada as " a community where tourism is integrated with life and culture of the place" which really makes Sagada a very pleasant place to stay. Let us keep it that way.
ON DRUGS: If you are going to Sagada to look for drugs, FORGET IT!!! Recent crackdowns by local and national police have led to locals and foreigners being prosecuted and jailed. The locals do not tolerate anybody (tourists and locals alike) who use or peddle drugs. The "high" one gets from the beauty of the place is simply unmatchable!