Sagada Men jailed for Peddling Hashish

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A March 29, 2009 GMANews.TV report indicates that drug groups have been targeting foreign tourists going to Sagada in the Mountain Province, Subic and Angeles in Pampanga, and even Boracay Island in Aklan. Three Sagada locals were caught peddling hashish to foreign tourists in Sagada. Seized were 13 bricks of hashish amounting to P325,000. Hashish, a hallucinogen extracted from hemp, may be among the illegal substances being peddled in tourist spots, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Read the full story.


Blogabbles 004 - Sagada Tours, 1924 NY Times article mentioning Sagada, and a Sagada Robbery

Friday, March 27, 2009

This bloggable is a month late and features recent SAGADA articles and blog items.

#1. You won’t believe this but a 1924 New York Times article mentions Sagada. It is about the dispute of then American Episcopal Bishop of the Philippine Islands and the Rev. Father Staunton who was described as in charge of the Episcopal Mission among the Igorots in Sagada. It would be interesting to know what the dispute was all about. The article is for a $3.95 fee at this New York Times webpage.

#2. A tourist from New York gets robbed in Sagada. This is very unfortunate albeit it does happen rarely in Sagada. Lesson Learned – tourists should always be with a guide when going around Sagada sites. I did like the writer’s detailed report and even if this has occurred, the Sagada folks worked together to right the wrong done. I just smiled at the scathing critique on Sagada’ police. Ine, e-esten yo ta adi kayo mai-babain.

#3. 12 days to go for Advocate Tours Banaue-Sagada Holy Week Get-away scheduled from April 8-11, 2009. I’d recommend this trip as it includes a visit to Sagada Weaving as part of its itinerary. For more information about the tour, visit the Advocate Tour Multiply webpage.

#4. Travel Factor’s Sagada tour on April 4-6, 2009 also includes a stop in Sagada Weaving so it deserves a mention here. The tour is called Conquer Sagada and details are available at Travel Factor’s Multiply Site.

#5. Josh Halpern, an environmental film maker working on organic farms around the globe made a film called WWOOF ‘n Wander. The film will be screened this weekend in Princeton, New Jersey. It will feature Batad’s Rice Terraces, Sagada’s hanging coffins along with other sites found in Hawaii, the Philippines, Thailand, and India. See Town Topics for the full story.

#6. Sagada is endorsed several times by people suggesting summer getaways in this article. And, Sagada is also featured as a vacation and tourist spot in the Philippines at the Philippine Vacation Spots blog.

#7. Gina Dizon’s blog has an entry on LOCAL PRODUCTS MAKING GAINS in the Cordillera region. The post has information on Sagada’s budding wine industry.

Have a blessed weekend!


Sagada and Baseball

Thursday, March 26, 2009

sagada and baseball 1
It's spring time which only means one thing - baseball season is about to start! America's favorite sport may not be as big in the Philippines as basketball but in Sagada, baseball is a favorite past-time too - at least for children in elementary and high school.

While neighborhoods around the US organize baseball leagues for children, and children compete in well trimmed fields, use new equipment, and play in their snappy uniforms, children in Sagada play with equal passion though with definitely less resources. There are only a few baseball bats and actual baseballs, but that doesn't stop the regular Sagada kid from being resourceful. Bats can be any tree branch that can be swung comfortably and as for balls, we've used anything from tennis balls, to old socks compacted as hard as possible. We didn't need any well-trimmed field back then. We could play in any field as long as it allowed us to bat and run. We used markers to determine where the bases are; and it doesn't have to be 4 bases and 9 players per team. Such pure love for the game has paid results for Sagada teams outside of the town. Sagada little league teams have competed and done well in regional and national competitions.

Last summer, I asked my eldest to write about our visit to the US Cellular Field (see photo above) - the stadium of the Chicago White Sox baseball team. We were there as part of our company's summer outing. Our tickets allowed us to move between the different levels of the stadium. Here's what my then 9-year old wrote for a family journal:

It was September 28th and my dad and I were going to the Sox Game. This was the first baseball game my dad and I watched together. First, we went to my dad’s friend’s house as they were going to the game with us. We then drove to the train station since we were going to ride a train to the US Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. Inside the train, my dad and his friends took pictures of us. I also got to take pictures. It took us a while to get to the stadium.

When we were there, the stadium looked huge. Then we went inside. We went to the lowest part of the stadium. We went there because my dad’s company paid for the tickets. The place we went wasn’t boring since there was a buffet and we were close to the players.

When the game began there were fireworks. Wow! Fireworks on the middle of the day? I thought that was cool! I was cheering my lungs out. Then I got bit bored so my dad and I went to the upper level. We also heard that there was something for kids at that place. When we got up it almost looked like a mall. Then while we were walking we saw some games for kids. The first game that I tried was that I have to race this cardboard that has a picture of a baseball player in it and moves. I ran faster than the baseball player. I also got to hit a ball, catch one, and pitch one.

When the 9th inning started my dad and I went back down. Soon we were cheering for the Sox team again. People were shouting like crazy. Finally, as the 9th inning ended the Chicago White Sox won. Their score was 5 to 1. They won against the Cleveland Indians, the team they played against. It was a great game since the team we were cheering for won.

We left after the game. When we went outside, one of my dad’s officemates was giving bags of candy to the people who works in his office. I was glad they gave candy since I am going to share some to my brothers. We went back to the train station as we were going home. It was kind of crowded at first, but people were starting to get off. It was a great experience for my dad and I to go to a baseball game.

Photos Below: Left - My son at a batting cage; Right - Enjoying the baseball atmosphere

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Encounter with an American Indian

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Once in awhile, you get to meet persons that even if you listen to them talk for just a few minutes, they leave you with lasting impressions. Such was the case one Saturday morning when my family and I braved the January wintry weather to participate in cultural presentations at the nearby library. The events program listed a particular presentation as American Indian Dances. I thought that my boys would be interested so we joined other families at the library conference room.

The speaker was an American Indian from an Illinois tribe. He was garbed in what he described as his tribe's attire. He said it wasn't a costume, since costume is what you wear during Halloween. I thought that he looked like a normal white American, not having the features that we watch of Indians in Hollywood movies. He hosts a radio program and he introduced his wife, who he says works as a banker. He spoke on which particular tribe he was a part of, and shared some information that I took some mental notes on. Among other things he shared were:

  • The word "chicago" was derived from a local word that sounded like 'shikaag' which meant skunk. Apparently, if you added an "o" at the end, it denotes a place. Chicago would have meant a stinking place.
  • Tribes in the US that are known as "American Indians" do not really see themselves as such. They go by the actual name of their tribes / nations. Most of them wouldn't know much about other tribal cultures.
  • Different tribes organize pow-wows where they gather together, eat, and participate in dances.
  • In the US, few institutions / individuals are legally allowed to hold eagles feathers like the one he was wearing as a headgear. This include museums, research institutes, and native Americans.
  • There is no truth that original native Americans crossed land bridges from Asia. All their creation and migration stories do not include such stories.
  • In native American mythology, there are 8 phases in this world. The current time is nearing the end of the 7th phase, and the 8th phase would be the arrival of a new earth.
  • Most depiction of Indian culture in Hollywood movies are far from reality.
Listening to him talk, I sensed the deep love he has for his roots. I fully understand it. In a way, both native American tribes and the Igorots share something in common. We've managed to keep our values despite the influence of the outer world. We also share being misunderstood and misrepresented.

This guy did warn of one thing - it's about losing one's dialect. He said that once the dialect is dead, everything about the culture also dies. Amongst my children, only my 10-year old understand Kankana-ey, our dialect in Sagada. But he cannot speak it. He's also the only one amongst my children who speaks and understands Tagalog. I know I've been procrastinating about it - but something must be done. My children also need to learn how to speak Kankana-ey and Tagalog. It will make them appreciate their roots more, and somehow, allow them to understand where they're going.


Panagbenga 2009 - Belly Dancers, Expensive Floats on Display

Sunday, March 1, 2009

sagada igorot panagbengaPhoto: Baguio Country Club's float featured a pharaoh's head accompanied by belly dancers. Dunkin Donuts float had giant donuts and munchkins made of flowers.

Big businesses didn't tone down on the float parade for Baguio's Panagbenga 2009. The cost for the participation of the Baguio Country Club (BCC) alone almost reached half a million pesos. It didn't disappoint as the more than 350,000 tourists feasted on an Egyptian-inspired float complete with accompanying belly dancers and performers in Egyptian costumes. BCC general manager Anthony de Leon was quoted as saying “We are not really toning down the festivities and we are not being conservative amid the crisis. This is the time that people should spend more. The direction should be towards consumerism. People should go out to spend; it helps local economy. Tourism provides jobs.” Uhhm sir, I don't agree. That amount of money could have helped finance a dozen micro-businesses and in the process made for some great PR. Other businesses participating in the parade included SM Baguio, Surf, Greenwich, Abanao Mall, M. Lhuillier and Chowking.

Related News: Floral carpet spreads in Baguio ( | Flowers help Pinoys have fun amid downturn (Business Mirror)


Mayon with a Cloud "Shawl"

Is this image photoshopped? Apparently not. featured this photo by Dr. Jullie Sy, a surgeon from Legazpi City. It was taken on June 22, 2007 at 7am. Note the flight of 7 birds in the upper left portion of the photo. Apparently, the photographer's lucky number is 7. It takes incredible luck to take a photo such as this.