Jackie Chan on Chinese Freedom; Miss California on Gay Marriage

Sunday, April 26, 2009

carrie presjean gay marriage jackie chan chinese freedomOnce in a while, I will be sharing my thoughts on fascinating / interesting news that I come across while browsing the Internet. I’d be labeling these posts under “interesting” and “an igorot’s opinion”. It’s my own small take on the big world out there. This is post # 002.

*** Jackie Chan: Chinese not ready for Freedom *** Jackie Chan's comments that freedom may not be good for China were taken out of context, his spokesman said Tuesday. Meanwhile, Facebook users and Chinese scholars condemned the veteran actor on the Internet in a spreading backlash, alleging the actor of insulting the Chinese people. "I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not," Chan said Saturday that adding freedoms in his native Hong Kong and Taiwan made those societies "chaotic." He made the statement while speaking at a business forum. Taiwan, which split from China in 1949, is democratic and Hong Kong, a separately ruled Chinese territory, enjoys some free elections.

A group of Chinese scholars published a letter on the Internet on Monday accusing Chan of "not understanding how precious freedom is," even though "free Hong Kong provided the conditions for you to become an international action star."

MY TAKE: Jackie Chan is a favorite action star to a lot of Igorot fans, myself included. His movies are always entertaining and creative. I’m fascinated at how far reaching this furor has come to. He is, after all, a movie star – not an elected official. On the other hand, he is a public figure and that means that all his words and actions are going to be scrutinized under a microscope. I’m not sure why those who wrote or review his speech for him didn’t understand how insensitive his comment would appear especially if reported in the Western media. His spokesman’s claim on being taken out of context is not going to help.

Related Link: Jackie Chan comments out of context

*** Miss California - Question on Gay Marriage *** Miss America 2009 was crowned last Sunday evening, and we were watching a family movie so we didn’t watch it. But it’s not the winner that this year’s pageant will be remembered for, at least not yet. Rather, it is the answer of the runner-up to a question on gay marriage that has sent newspapers, television networks, and bloggers buzzing. Perez Hilton, a gay gossip blogger was one of the judges and asked Carrie Prejean of California, the following question - “Vermont recently became the 4th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit. Why or why not?”

Prejean answered, “Well I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think it should be between a man and a woman. Thank you very much.” The answer didn’t sit well with the judge, and he even blogged about Miss Prejean being a “dumb bitch”. Fox News went as far to say that her answer cost her the title.

MY TAKE: I join fellow bloggers in applauding Miss California’s stand, and her decision to voice it out even if it meant displeasing that particular judge, or the audience. She was being asked a personal stand, and she communicated it, maybe not in the most eloquent manner, but clear enough under the circumstances. She wasn’t judgmental, she wasn’t disrespectful, she was being honest. What is appalling is Perez Hilton’s response. To call someone a “dumb bitch” based on her personal stand is mean-spirited, spiteful, bitter, unfair, un-intelligent, and un-American. He definitely showed that he didn’t deserve his position as a judge for one of America’s more popular icons. Worse, he hurt the cause of pro-gay activists by being such a sour example.

Related Links: Carrie Prejean Blogs; Gay Marriage Issue cost Miss California the Miss USA title; 'God Was Testing My Faith' With Gay Marriage Question; Beauty chooses pride over pageantry


2009 Sagada Tours

Saturday, April 25, 2009

sagadaAre you planning a Sagada vacation this year? I will be posting a list of 2009 Sagada Tours, updated as of April 25, 2009. I will be updating this post regularly with any new tours that come up. The latest tour will be posted at the top of the page, older tours will be at the bottom. If you want a tour to be included, please post a comment and a link to a webpage that contains the tour information. For starters, I will start with a couple of May 2009 Sagada Tours.

Sagada Adventure
Dates: May 29-31, 2009

PHP 4,500.00

coordination and guiding of local coordinators
travel insurance

Details at Ateneo Multiply Site

Tour date: May 20-23, 2009

ALL-IN Tour Package Rate: P5,900.00/pax

Reservation downpayment: P2,000.00/pax
Reservation deadline: May 11, 2009
Full payment deadline: May 15, 2009

Tour package includes:
* Service of tour director
* Exclusive air-con bus
* Jeepney Transfers
* Accommodation at George Guest House
* Total of 8 meals - 3 breakfast, 3 lunch, 2 dinner (*Dinner on the last day not included)
* Banaue-Sagada Tour (sightseeing, cultural immersion, trekking adventure, spelunking)
* Service of Sagada local guides (with use of lamps inside the cave)
* Tour entrance fees

Details at Travel Advocate's Multiply Site

Travel Factors' CONQUER SAGADA Tour
May 16 - 18, 2009.

P5,300 per pax (ALL-IN)

* Roundtrip Chartered Aircon Bus: Manila - Sagada - Manila
* 3d/2n accommodation in Sagada
* Day 1 - breakfast, lunch, dinner
* Day 2 - breakfast, lunch, dinner
* Day 3 - brunch
* Private Jeepney during tours around Sagada (see itinerary)
* Cave Connection Adventure (Sumaguing and Lumiang Cave)
* Environment permits and entrance fees
* Service of the Local Guides & Cave Guides with lamps
* Service of the tour director
* Travel Insurance
* FREE: Travel Factor ID, lace, Conquer Sagada souvenir t-shirt

More Details at The Travel Factor Blog


Sagada Widow on Inquirer; Igorots on the Blogosphere

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

sagada latest newsInquirer features a story about a Sagada widow involved in organic farming. The name sounded very familiar and then I realized it was about a close Nangonogan neighbor who was just 3 batches ahead of me during my elementary days. The story tells how she is seeking justice about the murder of her husband, along with engaging in what she calls "peace and healing initiatives", which include promoting organic farming and organizing an organic farmers’ cooperative in Sagada. Read about Florence Macagne-Manegdeg on Widow helps heal wounds of Earth.

Also, check out a study done on Igorot bloggers by Liezl C. Longboan of the UK's Cardiff University. The study takes on how "several indigenous groups in North Luzon, collectively known as Igorots, are using blogs more extensively to re-construct and re-present their ethnic identity in cyberspace". Read Igorots in the Blogosphere: Claiming Spaces, Re-constructing Identities.


Sagada Tourist proposes marriage at Sagada's Big Falls

The date was Valentine's Day this year, at 2:45 pm - the place was at Sagada's Bomod-ok waterfalls. Watch a tourist kneel down and propose to his girlfriend. Actual proposal happens at 3:35 in the video clip. Watch and listen to the future bride's sobs-of-happiness against the roar of the waterfalls.


Patrick Ireland, Susan Boyle and Shaheen Jafargholi

Once in a while, I will be sharing my thoughts on fascinating / interesting news that I come across while browsing the Internet. I’d be labeling these posts under “interesting” and “an igorot’s opinion”. It’s my own small take on the big world out there. This is post # 001.

*** Britain's Got Talent Instant Stars

sagada igorot patrick ireland, susan boyleSusan Boyle and Shaheen Jafargholi, both contestants in this year’s Britain’s Got Talent are now outdueling each other in the blogosphere. The former is a 47 year old virgin who shocked the judges and the audience on Britain’s Got Talent by her voice when singing “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les MisĂ©rables. Her Youtube video has reached more than a 100 million hits in just a week’s time. Shaheen Jafargholi meanwhile is the 12-year old contestant who got the judges attention after performing the Michael Jackson song "Who's Loving You". He showed uncommon poise after judge Simon Cowell stopped his initial performance as he disapproved of his first song choice. Both Susan and Shaheen are the bookies favorites to win the show.

MY TAKE: People, in a recession or not, will always care for excellent gifts, no matter how they are packaged. The story of Susan Boyle is compelling because people had such low expectations of her. She proved those expectations wrong by performing beyond what most people thought she could do. I'm amused at how much attention is being given to her less than stellar looks. (Honestly though, doesn't she have an uncanny resemblance to a certain royal girlfriend? Hala!) A news report I read lambasted the fact that women who are "ugly and talented" get less attention than men who belong to the same category. Frankly, the looks do not matter. I'd rather give up my average looks and have an exceptional singing talent as Susan Boyle has. Imagine how the heads would turn in the karaoke bar, hehehe.

In the case of Jafargholi, no one expected a boy like him to hit such big notes as he did. He also performed so naturally in front of a nationwide audience, as if he was born to do just that. While people will admire his talent, this year’s winner of the Britain’s Got Talent is a foregone conclusion. Without offense to the rest of the talented contestants, its tough not to see Ms. Boyle win by a mile.

Related Links:Susan Boyle got over 100 million hits; Latest News on Susan Boyle; Latest News on Shaheen Jafargholi

*** Columbine Massacre Marks 10th Anniversary

This week marked the 10th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. On April 20, 1999, two high school students stormed a suburban high school killing 12 classmates and 1 teacher, while wounding around 2 dozen students in Columbine High, Colorado. It ended when the gunmen committed suicide less than an hour later. Patrick Ireland, then 17, was among the wounded. Images of him falling from a window, bloodied and paralyzed into the arms of rescuers shocked the US and the world. Now 27, Patrick Ireland is married, and works in the financial services industry. Ireland recognizes that he will be remembered as the face of Columbine because of his dramatic rescue. He accepts it as a way to emphasize that Columbine should be another word for "hope and courage."

MY TAKE: I was in Quezon City when the Columbine massacre occurred. I remember that my wife’s aunt was visiting the Philippines from Colorado and so the events stuck to my mind. I also remember criticizing a forum entry by an insensitive British poster who wrote that Americans deserved the tragedy. Who are we to say that a group of people deserve such things? This can happen anywhere, anytime. If we haven’t dealt with this kind of tragedy, we should just be thankful that it hasn’t happened to us or our loved ones.

It is easy to be insensitive on other people’s tragedies, especially if we are not involved. But behind each tragedy is a human story. The article on Patrick Ireland and the other Columbine survivor’s recovery will not be enough to describe what they had to go through. What did they do during the immediate aftermath – when suffering from physical pain, they endured moments of despair and fear? Who gave them hope to recover and move on?

The human spirit, which some people think do not exist (or probably think is a mechanism that evolved through a series of random occurrences in the environment), is never to be underestimated. Scripture tells us that humans are created in the image of God. We are not just random beings, floating in this earth, and waiting for gunmen to wipe us out at their own pleasure. We are built for relationships, and yes, our lives do have purposes. While seemingly unexplainable things may happen to our lives at a particular time, in the greater scheme of things, they are pieces of one gigantic puzzle that one day will be revealed.

For the Columbine survivors, some have taken 10 years to see the whole puzzle. Patrick Ireland endured grueling therapy to regain the use of his legs, and he had to relearn how to read, write and talk. When he was recently asked on how he want himself to be remembered, he said, "A triumphant recovery and success story."

Related Links: Patrick Ireland and other Columbine survivors; Latest News on the Columbine Massacre


New York Visit

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

sagada igorot statue libertyMy wife's birthday came and we decided that she'll have a weekend of her own, away from her 4 boys (myself included). She hasn't had a full weekend off from being a wife / mom / homemaker / homeschooler since we came to the US last Nov 2006. I have some frequent flyer miles expiring this year that were leftover from my "European tour of duty". She chose to accept an aunt's invitation to visit New Jersey, and get a full day to check out the Big Apple. When we told our 3 boys the plan, they wondered how I, a kitchen misfit could take care of them on my own. (No rolling of eyes please). "Are we going to have tuna omelette 3 times a day?", they asked. I'm sure they would have wanted that - heck, I make the best tuna omelette this side of the world. My wife as always, had the perfect solution. She'll cook meals in advance for me to thaw and cover the 6 lunches and dinners where she would be absent. The breakfasts were up to me. Our youngest started crying 2 nights before her mom left for her short vacation. He couldn't remember a single night that he slept when his mother was not around.

I worked from home one Friday last February and brought my wife to O'hare for her 11am trip to Newark. She got delayed twice, and ended up in New Jersey at around 5pm. She had her reunion with an aunt (her dad's sister) whom she hasn't seen for more than a decade. The whole Saturday was spent touring New York. She got to see the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, and Times Square. She passed by Ground Zero and the United Nations building. Her stay was too short to include a visit to Central Park, the art museums, or a Broadway play. But, she was able to accompany her aunt on some personal visits as well. It was a whirlwind visit, short and sweet, but a refreshing one for her.

An hour before we were to pick their mother, our 10 year old was leading his 2 younger brothers around our place dusting the furniture fervently and fixing their beds. "We want to surprise mom." I was impressed by how my son fixed the beds. He had his mother's knack for arranging things. While everything went well during their mom's absence, we all felt incomplete and were very eager to see her back. We picked her up at the Chicago O'hare airport on Sunday - late evening. She confided that while she welcomed the time away from home, the waiting times on her 2 flights provided an opportunity for her to reflect on our family, God's faithfulness, and how blessed we were to have each other. And yes, she admitted to missing us, despite being away for less than 72 hours.

Our friends' reactions to my wife's getaway were amusing. A mother from church said that she'd ask for a time away from her family as well. Another friend in Ohio remarked, "Why didn't she tell me? I could have gone with her." She's the mother of 2 children younger than 4. We look forward to visiting New York together as a family. It's one of the world's most exciting cities, and has a lot of interesting places to explore. That will have to wait though - my wife said the boys will enjoy the visit more if they're older.

Later that week, as we sat down to watch a DVD, my wife excitedly pointed out a scene from the movie shot in Times Square. "Been there!", she said. I smiled at and for her.

sagada igorot ellis island

The Ellis Island Immigration Museum features a collage of American immigrant faces. At the other side of the collage is the American flag.

sagada igorot new york building

A mural depicting the future scene at Ground Zero.

sagada igorot ground zero

Only in New York - a discount shop for millionaires.

sagada igorot millionaire bargains

A human statue takes a rest to have a chat.

sagada igorot statue talk

The Empire State Building.

sagada igorot empire state

A view of the New York skyline from the viewing deck of the Empire State Building.

sagada igorot empire view

Amongst other things, Times Square is probably the most recognizable New Year party place.

sagada igorot times square

Our liberty boys posing with souvenirs from Mom's New York visit.

sagada igorot liberty boys


Stroll n Sagada: Video Presentation of Sagada Images

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I got this video presentation from i-dekkan, a loyal commenter of this blog. At a time when most Sagada photographs in the Internet are from local and foreign tourists, it is refreshing to find a recent presentation of Sagada images by an i-Sagada (someone from Sagada). The photos were taken by an alitao (uncle) who grew up in Sagada, is currently based in New Jersey, and who visited Sagada this past March. The quality of the photographs are high, and it evoked plenty of warm memories for me despite the dreary Chicago evening rain. It's hard to explain but the photographs taken by a kailyan (townmate) touches the heart in a way the other recent Sagada photo galleries fail to do. Despite the rather cheeky ending, this presentation is very well done and presents Sagada in a distinct manner that only those who grew up in the town would ever know.


Sagada Photo Galleries 2 - April 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This is a continuation of a list of Sagada photo galleries that have been published by Sagada visitors recently. Most photos would have been taken during the Holy Week on April 2009, when droves of local tourists go to the Cordilleras to escape the searing summer sun of the lowlands and enjoy the cool climate of this region.

Sagada SkyMore than 2 dozen photographs of Sagada scenes and local profiles are found in this photographer's blog post. There are more photos available in a private gallery that is password protected. Check out Blue Ideas Surviving Sagada Galleries

Sagada WeavingNeriz Agraam's blog, just a glimpse & more, features multiple posts and photos of their recent trip to Sagada. I always smile when I see a photo of Sagada Weaving (see thumbnail), the shop started by my grandmother, and which is now managed by my cousins in Sagada. The Sagada posts on this blog include: Sagada: Kiltepan Viewpoint; Sagada: Off to The Hanging Coffins; Sagada: The Lemon Pie House; Sagada: The Residential Lodge and More; Sagada: The Sumaguing Cave Experience

Sagada Wild BerryFrustrated's Sagada post has more than a dozen Sagada scenes of terraces, the cave, flowers, and my favorite - the one of the "pinit" at the end of his gallery.

sagada st. mary's churchThe putograb blog has photos of rice terraces, hanging coffins, other Sagada sceneries, and some food images. The blogger describes Sagada as "an excellent destination for those looking for adventure; the geography offers caves ideal for spelunking even by amateur cave explorers, as well as several scenic hiking trails."

Sagada SilhouetteA trio of pictures that are both fun and creative can be found at the Sagada Genuine Guides blog. I thought this was a natural thing to do in the caves but it's the first time I've seen it. Check these photos and smile.

Sagada SunsetView more than a dozen quality photos of Kiltepan sunrise scenes at the [LIVE].[LAUGH].[LEARN] blog. Simply beautiful.

Related Link: Sagada Photo Galleries 1 - April 2009


Sagada Photo Galleries 1 - April 2009

If you're homesick about Sagada, you would love the week after Easter. This is 1-week during the year that Sagada visitors blog and post new pictures of our beloved hometown. Sharing some photo galleries and stories that I've enjoyed (or not enjoyed but at least they're recent) so far.

These Sagada sunset photos are one of my favorites and possibly the best out there in the Internet. Photos were taken from the Sagada town proper and Lake Danum. I'm trying to find out more about the blogger - he/she seems to be a foreign tourist. The post is aptly titled "Hoarding sundowns: Sagada at fall" - and what a magnificient hoard it is!

Get hungry with a food post from pinoy food cravings on the fare at Rock Inn & Cafe. Haven't tried this place yet but it has gotten some rave reviews from visitors. Yummy! See Banana Pancake with Butter and Strawberry Jam @ Rock Inn & Cafe

Sagada Bomod-ok FallsLa Taniere Du Loup's post on their trip to Bomod-ok Falls during Holy Week 2009 feature a story and some photos of the visitors as they trek to the Big Falls and pass through some rice terraces.

Sagada Sumaging Cave The Travel Blog's Quaint Sagada post has cave photos. Here's a quote from the writer "The famed cave never failed to amaze me. I never thought i'd see truly spectacular rock formations down below. Yes, i have to force my way through really narrow passageways, rapel down some parts, and dip into freezing water but the it's an experience i want to do again and again." Buti pa siya.

Sagada Danum Lake MOONGIRL's SAGADA POST - Plenty of pictures and Sagada adventure stories. I particularly liked the LESSONS LEARNED at the end of her post. It's to be shared to first-time Sagada visitors.

Sagada Bomod-ok FallsKyle Jose of The Havens of General Philosophical Entity (phew!) writes and blogs about his Sagada and Banaue experience. He has 2 posts that contain photos, and a video clip. I particularly liked his photo of Bomod-ok, the Big Waterfalls (in thumbnail). See Part I; Part II.

Related Link: Sagada Photo Galleries 2 - April 2009


General MacArthur praised Igorot Soldiers during WW2

Thursday, April 16, 2009

sagada igorot macarthurI've come across a recent Inquirer post that described how courageous Igorot soldiers were in helping American soldiers fight the Japanese forces during World War II. It quoted a New York Times (Feb. 23, 1942) article that said: "Hampered by the dense undergrowth and lost in the confusing maze of bamboo thickets, vines, and creepers, the tankers would have been impotent had it not been for the aid of the Igorot troops of 2d Battalion, 11th Infantry. Hoisted to the top of the tanks where they were exposed to the fire of the enemy, these courageous tribesmen from north Luzon chopped away the entangling foliage with their bolos and served as eyes for the American tankers. From their position atop the tanks they fired at the enemy with pistols while guiding the drivers with sticks."

Other articles of the said encounter that were apparently published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Tribune all noted that Gen. Douglas MacArthur gave lavish praise to the Igorot soldiers for their bravery. He grave credit to these soldiers for having "completely annihilated" a Japanese regiment. While recounting the story of the battle to an assembly of his officers, MacArthur's was quoted as saying:

"Many desperate acts of courage and heroism have fallen under my observation on many fields of battle in many parts of the world. I have seen forlorn hopes become realities. I have seen last-ditch stands, and innumerable acts of personal heroism that defy description. But for sheer breathtaking and heart-stopping desperation, I have never know the equal of those Igorots riding the tanks. Gentlemen, when you tell the story, stand in tribute to those gallant Igorots. As members of the Philippine commonwealth, they have proved to be excellent fighting men."

Along with all other brave Filipino soldiers who risked their lives for the freedom we Filipinos enjoy today, these Igorot soldiers are to be thanked for their selfless sacrifice and courage.

Here's a microfilm of this news article published almost 70 years ago through the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. The story is in page 1, and continued on page 4.

Photo Credit: Naval Historical Center.


Maersk Alabama Crew Returns Home

Sagada Igorot - Maersk AlabamaI rarely watch the news - there are hardly any good news these days. But before going to bed last night, my wife turned on a channel and a news team was eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Maersk Alabama crew at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. We watched along as a hundred or so family members got ready to welcome the 19 sailors of the US merchant ship that was seized by Somali pirates last week.

Finally, after midnight EST, some good news - they're finally home! What a relief it must be to the family members who, for several days, were unsure about the safety of the men in their family. These are fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, and friends to dozens of people. They could be anyone that we know. All stood strong against challenges that could have cost their lives and we rejoiced along with their families as they were reunited together.

The joyful faces of the men as they went down the chartered plane said it all. There are worse things happening around but to the family members, their loved ones are home - and nothing else matters. I join the dozens of bloggers around the world in welcoming these brave men home.

Another arrival that will be heavily anticipated in the coming days will be the coming home of the Maersk Alabama's courageous captain, Richard Phillips. The captain offered himself as a hostage, at the risk of his life, so the rest of his crew will go unharmed. Phillips was rescued Sunday when U.S. Navy snipers on board the USS Bainbridge killed his three captors. The captain was scheduled to reunite with his crew, but the USS Bainbridge was diverted to assist another U.S. merchant ship that was attacked by pirates earlier this week. Captain Phillips was expected to leave Mombasa to return to the United States later Thursday.

Photo Credit: Voice of America ; Related News: Maersk Alabama Google News


Igorot Photo of the Year?

Monday, April 13, 2009

sagada igorot photo of the year
With 9 more months remaining in this year, can we just agree that the above photo is the Igorot Photo of the Year? It was taken during the 2009 Lang-ay Festival in Bontoc, Mountain Province. Photo Credit: Inkblog's Flickr Gallery


Sagada is Most Blogged

It is not a surprise that Sagada is the most blogged town in Mountain Province beating the capital town of Bontoc, and the most populous town of Bauko. What is surprising is the fact that in a recent check with Google Blog Search, Sagada has more blogs than all other towns of the Mountain Province combined.

In the Cordilleras, Sagada is second only to Baguio City which is not bad considering that the latter is the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Sagada beat all the capital towns in the Cordillera Administrative Region with regards to blogs written, including La Trinidad, Benguet. Banaue in Ifugao, home of the world famous Banaue Rice Terraces is the 3rd most blogged.


Sagada Easter

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sagada Sunrise
I last spent Easter Sunday in Sagada more than a decade ago. My sister and I woke up really early to attend the Easter Sunrise service. It was held at the Calvary, on top of a mountain bounding the Echo Valley. I will never forget the memory of singing Easter hymns while the sun rose. It was everything that Easter promised - a new hope, a new day. (Photo Credit: moongirl's blog)


Lessons from the "Francesca in France" Blunder

Let me start this post by explaining clearly where I'm coming from. This is not a hate post against the blogger who I will be referring to as "Francesca in France". The past week, a blog post I created on May 2008 got pasted in a Friendster group's discussion forum and I went to check what it was all about. I followed up the discussion in the Friendster group at the same time, checking back the contents and comments of a post in Francesca in France's blog that started this whole she-bang. In a way, my blog had some remote connection to what was going on.

It seems that dozens of people have vilified Francesca in France due to one of her many blog posts. That particular post was about something negative or offending that Francesca in France wrote about the Igorots. I for one was offended, so I did my part in writing her in an email, and also posting a blog post here. I'm not surprised that this has come up again, after almost a year. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing is going to come out again - 1, 2 or even 3 years from now. That is, if nothing is currently done by Francesca in France.

Let me state that I have nothing against Francesca in France. Do I believe that she is a good woman? YES. SHE SEEMS TO BE A MOTHER MAKING SACRIFICES AND DOING THE BEST FOR HER FAMILY. Do I agree with what she posted against the Igorots? NO. Is she responsible for her blog and what she writes? YES. Is she owning up to that responsibility. NO. Do I believe that her blog is impacted by what happened? YES. Do I think that her real personality should be judged by that one post? NO. Do the online community have a right to discuss her post and link back to her blog? YES, HER BLOG IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Do I agree with how she answered criticisms logged against her? NO. Could she have done better in dealing with what she wrote? YES, ABSOLUTELY. Does it look like she will change her current approach to the situation? NO. Were some of her comments / replies / succeeding blog posts misunderstood? YES, I THINK SO. Do I believe that she should give up on blogging? NO. I THINK THE BLOGOSPHERE IS ENHANCED BY THE STORIES SHE TELLS.

If I was a well meaning friend of Francesca in France, what would I tell her? Now, this is sounding like unsolicited advise but I'll fire anyway. I would tell her to delete the lines with regards to the IGOROT people. By now, she has been educated on who the IGOROT people are, and it is really not helping anyone including her to keep those degrading comments in the Internet. Those 2 lines are not worth the trouble that her blog has received. Her online credibility has been shot, and her dozens of blog posts have been tarnished just because of those 2 lines. It would incredibly help her online credibility if she does this. I can give this advise but in the end, it will be up to her what she follows.

Should Francesca in France apologize for what she wrote? She actually posted a blog post on why she refuses to apologize. It had something to do with the purported "blackmailing" she received. Also, its tough to disregard the many negative comments that were heaped on her. Even a fellow Igorot posted a comment on my blog to say that some of those who disagreed attacked her "below the belt". For me, the honorable thing would be to apologize. With or without the blackmailing, she still made the mistake of equating the Igorot people with being unable to understand. Not all Igorots or Igorot supporters who commented on her blog gave negative comments. There were actually a lot who were very direct to the point, and were constructive in pointing out what was wrong. As one poster in the Friendster forum said, the online community involved would praise her if she goes out her way to apologize.

What happened to Francesca in France can actually be a learning lesson for small time bloggers like me. I am a believer that mistakes do not cause failures. In fact, lessons learned from mistakes can be very rewarding in the future. I did not make the mistake, but this is an opportunity to learn from Francesca in France's blunder. Here's a mind dump of what I will take away from this whole thing:

#1. Listen to your readers. I was one of the first readers of Francesca in France's infamous post. I urged her to correct the error immediately. On a recent check in her post, I found 150+ comments with some of these deleted - I assume these contain obscenities directed to her. It could have taken her just a minute to correct her post, and saved her a lot of trouble.

#2. Improve on ways to communicate. The way we communicate with our friends is very different with how we communicate with blog readers. Our friends know who we are, our strengths, our weaknesses. Majority of our blog readers are strangers we meet online. They will not understand that "sikat pala ako dito" means a light hearted joke, not an arrogant claim.

#3. Win over online acquaintances by writing humbly. If you enter an online forum, write humbly. If you're a new member, do not write anything that resembles a threat or an accusation. You will be ganged up on. Writing humbly is music to online ears, being confrontational while new in a group sounds like long fingernails scratching against a blackboard.

#4. Owning or writing a blog doesn't mean that one has brains. Anyone can write a blog. My 10-year old son has a blog where he posts his original jokes. I'm urging him to write his book reports and reading responses on this blog as well. It doesn't take special skills to initiate and maintain a blog. Just because one has written a blog for 5 years doesn't mean that person has brains. I know very intelligent people who don't write any blog. I also know people possessing 2-digit IQs that have been writing not just one, but 2 or more blogs. See also #3.

#5. Protect your online credibility. Guard your online reputation. While this may have no bearing on your real life reputation, a blog's credibility is diminished if the blogger's reputation is questionable. Avoid being diagnosed online as someone with dementia.

#6. Not all publicity is good publicity. Contrary to advertising's assertion that any publicity is good publicity, I'd rather be known for writing something good, not bad. Cruella de Ville was famous but can you guess where she ended up?

#7. Finally, be forgiving. Today is Easter and we are COMMANDED to forgive. Note that we are COMMANDED, and not REQUESTED. We, human beings all need forgiving, who amongst us hasn't sinned? Forgiveness doesn't make the offending party right, but it puts us right with Our Father in Heaven. Furthermore, unforgiveness is a heavy burden to bear. God has sent His One and Only Son to die for our sins so we may be forgiven. Since we are forgiven, how much more should we be forgiving to our fellow men/women? In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, Matthew 18:21-35, God warns against not being able to forgive.

The ladies in the Friendster forum seem to have accepted what may have been an "apology" from Francesca in France. That's definitely something to be thankful about. HAPPY EASTER to all! Hug the Easter Bunny for me and take it easy on the sugar.

Related Posts: Filipinas Slam Francesca in France; Igorot Slur on a Filipino Blog


Lang-ay Festival 2009 - Photos and a Blog

Sagada Igorot Lang-ay Festival 2009 The Garden of Grace blog has the meatiest content on the Lang-ay Festival 2009 that I've seen so far. Photos, a video and a blog post capture a lot of the activities during the festival.

Sagada Igorot Lang-ay Festival 2009 The St. Louis University Dance Troupe apparently took part in the street dancing on April 7. This Flickr photo gallery has just a few but very high quality photos.


Filipinas Slam “Francesca in France”

Friday, April 10, 2009

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is to be read with a grain of salt. Please don’t accuse me of causing trouble. Huwag po. I’m just reporting events as I see them.

I was checking my blog referral stats when I saw an increase of visits to a May 2008 blog post titled “Igorot Slur on a Filipino blog”. I decided to investigate and was amused to find an animated discussion at a Friendster Group forum. The topic is in the form of a question – “Anu feeling niyo kung kapwa mo pilipino insultuhin ng kapwa niya pilipino?” (How would you feel if a Filipino insults a fellow Filipino?) The original topic post put a link to a Filipina maid’s blog called “Francesca in France”. In a post on May 2008, the blogger wrote on how difficult it is to work with the BIR Tax Registration in the Philippines, and out of nowhere, she vented her frustrations on the Igorot people in a totally uncivilized manner. “Is he an Igorot, that’s why he doesn’t understand the importance of paper works and time?” And later in her post, she wrote, “… baka nga Igorot eto? I don’t have any goat or hen to pay him...”

It was almost a year ago when I found out about this. I immediately wrote the blogger (whom I shall call, Francesca in France) and kindly requested that she change her remarks because it was offensive. I did that to prevent any heated debates on her blog. She didn’t heed my suggestion. So, I wrote a blog post as a reaction. (Read my reaction to Francesca in France posted on May 2008). I just recently visited her blog and was astonished at the outpouring of protests to her derogatory remarks, both from Igorots and non-Igorots from around the world.

Back to the Friendster Topic – a lady from Abra posted a link to Francesca in France’s offending blogpost at the Friendster Group Forum for “Filipino Spouses/Fiancee of Foreigner”. The first initial reactions in the topic slammed Francesca in France as being “idiotic”, “arrogant”, “ignorant”, “disrespectful”, and “stupid”. One poster even noted that after Francesca in France wrote the post and was ridiculed by a lot of visitors, she had a bunch of unfortunate events happening to her in real-life – a breast operation, being fired as a maid, and her daughter was denied a French visa. It was also noted that Francesca in France was apparently trying to bribe the BIR staff who rightfully declined.

Things heated up furthermore when Francesca in France enlisted the help of her daughter to sign up for a Friendster account and join the group. After all, she may have felt entitled to do so as she is married to a French national. It was clear that her main intention was to join the discussion forum. And discuss she did - like the way she insulted the Igorot people, she started barking around like a madwoman. Her first sentence was “sikat pala ako dito”. And she further ranted about the topic (her error) being “close to stop” and doing what you like in your own website, and finally at the end of her first post, shamelessly promoting her blog.

That got some respectable members of the group to denounce her “stubborn”, “indiscrete”, “self-absorbed” and “haughty” soul. I never saw so many superlatives as this group of women tried to help Francesca in France see the error of what she has written. But she would have none of it; instead, she accused a member of the group she just joined of being a trouble maker. She said “to open a topic about the igorots linking my site to this site, is looking for trouble. You should know better. People were hurt already about the past. Your motivation is to pin me down. But the igorots are in the middle of it.” As a challenge, she retorted, “you girls try to make a blog, you will understand me... if you got brains to do it, of course.”

That started another round from the other Filipina ladies. A lady pointed out that her roommate at a college dorm was an Igorota who was a Magna Cum Laude Math major. Francesca in France was declared to be suffering from dementia, along with being a “maldita”. Though feisty may Francesca in France be, the other posters simply articulated better, argued intellectually, and were a class better in being humorous, sly, and witty. If it were a boxing match, Francesca in France was knocked out senseless at the opening bell.

An interesting twist happened when a member of the group started defending Francesca in France. It turns out that her defender had a history of being kicked out from Friendster (don’t ask what she did), and she was already on her eighth account just to be able to post. (Now, that’s what I would call pathetic). Furthermore, this lady referred to those opposing Francesca in France as “futha”, a play on the Tagalog word meaning prostitute.

She too, joined Francesca in France sprawling on the canvass as she got hit by a barrage of adjectives worthy of an English major’s textbook. Both were branded as “loathsome”, “despicable”, “fool”, “thoughtless”, “imbecile”, “illiterate”, having “teeny-weeny brains”, “supporting discrimination” and employing “futile, unintelligent antics”. Even Francesca in France’s real name didn’t escape the Filipina group’s ire. Amalia, was rebranded as a-MALI-a, with “mali” being the Tagalog word for “mistake”. That got some of the ladies giggling.

Right now, the topic stands to be the most discussed in recent group topics with 245+ responses. As of this writing, Francesca in France and her friend are furiously backpedalling with posts that are awkwardly reconciliatory. They sound like two beaten mongrels, with their tails behind their legs, licking their wounded egos, and waving little white flags. “Tama na pooooooooo!”, they silently wail.

Related Link: The forum discussion at Friendster
Next Post: Life Lessons on the “Francesca in France” Blunder


Sagada Photos at Putograb

Thursday, April 9, 2009

sagada photo 2sagada photo 1

I'll never tire of viewing Sagada photos like the above recent photographs from putograb's gallery. They remind me of the beautiful scenes back home. The advances of technology has allowed scenes like these to be captured as they are in real life; well, almost like-life. Nothing beats watching these scenes in Sagada, a gentle breeze touching your cheek, and the warm familiar smell of the pine wood permeating the air. Just beautiful.


My Sagada Graduation

(Blogger's Note: This is the second of a 2-post series celebrating the end of classes in Sagada. The school year ends before the Holy Week. The first post is titled Sagada Elementary Closing Exercises)

Grade 6 was an exciting grade level for me. There were a lot of firsts – my first time to win a student election, first time to be part of the school’s newsletter, first time to join a debate, first time to write a love letter and actually give it to someone (ehem!), and of course, first time to graduate.

For the first time too, I was finishing the grade not as the #2 student. I’ve changed and was graduating as #3 in the class. (Hehehe) In earlier grade levels, there were 2 classes per grade, and each class had different sets of honor students. For the sixth grade, there were still 2 classes but the rankings were merged to determine who finished in the Top 10 of the graduating class, and who finished as #1, #2, #3, #10, etc… I clearly recall that the competition between us top three were very close, and only 0.5 separated #1 and #3. As a very competitive person, #3 is not good enough, and that’s how I felt back then. Still, I have to give it to the 2 other students ahead of me – they are friends, and I got easily along with them. I even followed our valedictorian all the way to high school in Manila, and to the same university, and try as I might academically, I just couldn’t match up with him. So since I couldn’t beat him in school, I eventually gave up and befriended him instead. He turned out to be the best man in my wedding. Moral of the Story: if you can’t beat them, make them your best man.

Going back to my elementary graduation - only the top 2 students gave speeches. As #3, I was tasked to do the invocation before the graduation program. Before anything started though, the graduation procession started with the graduates lining up in Bomabanga’s multi-purpose playground. Each student was accompanied by his parents / guardians during the march. I was accompanied by my paternal grandfather, a very respected man in Sagada. I was named after him too. I was marching behind #1 who was accompanied by his maternal grandmother. (In high school, we soon learned that #1’s maternal grandmother was my maternal grandfather’s 3rd cousin. That explains it – genius runs in our family! Haha.) At the procession, the boys were lined up in alphabetical order, and the girls followed, also in alphabetical order. We looked fresh for our graduation but we had on simple attire. Blue jeans and white shirts were the only uniformity for the boys. Some wear shoes, some wear slippers. The girls were more uniform though – they wore the traditional skirt and belt (tapis and gateng), and a white blouse/shirt. And all of them were required to be barefoot. This is fine if the weather is sunny as it is on most graduation days, but it would be a problem if the ground is too warm or muddy.

I didn’t notice it back then, but I later reflected that majority of the students marched with their surviving grandparents. We had some students from Kalinga in our graduating class, and their elders came to visit them. It is perhaps the only time their elders would visit the school. We may have taken our graduation for granted, but if you reflect on it, a lot of those accompanying the graduating students have not even attended school. I’m sure it was a great sense of pride that their grandchildren are completing their elementary education.

For the graduating class’ presentations, we did a couple of choir songs. We also presented our entries for the regional speech choir competition. We represented Mountain Province in this contest, having beat other Sagada schools, and the top Bontoc school during the division competition. We did English and Filipino pieces titled “The Six Blind Man of Industan”, “At the Seashore”, “Ang Mangga at ang Bakawan”, and “Kabataan, Ang Pag-asa ng Bayan”.

During the recognition part, medals and ribbons were given to the top 3 students, the top 10 students, special awards, and competition awards. Every graduating class member was accompanied at the stage by his/her elder, and each of us was given a diploma and a ribbon. We had a special award during our graduation – for the first time ever, a contestant from our small school won the national Shell art contest besting thousands of contestants from all over the Philippines. I still remember vividly what his painting was. It was a satellite-like machine floating amidst a backdrop of rice terraces and other Igorot sights.

Our guest speaker that day, if I remember right, eventually became a 2-term Sagada town mayor. He helped distribute the ribbons and diplomas to the graduating students. As the ceremony ended, the graduating class sang “Bomabanga’y Kagawisan” – Bomabanga the best. It was a song paying tribute to the school, and it has a line containing a promise that we, graduating students, would look over it. Now that I write this post, somehow, I feel that promise have not been met. Or wasn’t it? It’s a good thought to revisit.


Sagada Elementary Closing Exercises

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

(Blogger's Note: This is the first of a 2-post series celebrating the end of classes in Sagada. The school year ends before the Holy Week.)

As a child, I have eagerly awaited the yearly closing exercises that marked the last day of school for the school year. For a sixth grader, it is the first major educational milestone – the elementary graduation. It is a practice common to Philippine schools, although not in US schools. For the first to fifth graders, the closing exercises signal an end for a particular grade level. The next time they’d go to school, they’d be in a different grade, possibly with different classmates, and with different teachers.

The first Bomabanga closing exercises I attended was for my eldest sister’s graduation. In that same year, my 2nd eldest sister finished grade 5, while my 3rd sister, the sibling I was next to, wrapped up her third grade. During this year, I still lived with my father and mother and younger siblings in Gobgob, Tabuk in what was then the province of Kalinga-Apayao. It was the first graduation amongst our siblings, so we made the 12-hour plus trip from Gobgob to Sagada. I don’t remember much of that graduation; most of the images in my mind are what I saw in photographs at that time. (For my family, we buy film for our camera on special occasions only – closing exercises was one of them.) I do remember an overnight stay with the Gayagay family in my grandfather’s Atowanan farm.

The next June, I transferred to Bomabanga, officially known as Sagada Central School, for my second grade. I was coming from Gobgob Elementary School where I spent my first 3 years of elementary education – 2 years in Grade 1, and a year in Grade 2. By right, I should have been a 3rd grader in Bomabanga – the thing is, they didn’t accept a 7-year old in grade 3. That’s the reason I remember, though now that I think about it, I believe my folks didn’t think I was mature enough to be in a class of 9-year olds. (Darn.) If you’re doing the math, you’d probably figured out that I started first grade as a 4 year old. Not that I was a genius – it’s just that my mom was a school teacher and the 1st grade teacher is her friend, and I was allowed to sit-in whenever I wanted to. Our house in Gobgob was adjacent to the school, so my family walked to school. We also walked back home and vice versa for lunch.

I have some vivid memories of the first closing exercises I participated in Bomabanga. I didn’t attend the last days of regular class because I was sick. My parents and my younger siblings came from Gobgob, since this was also my 2nd sister’s elementary graduation.

The format for the closing exercises is generally the same as that in the coming years I would attend. There is the lower class presentation. There were 10 classes from Grade 1 to Grade 5; 2 classes per grade level. Each class would present a short skit, a song, a dance number, or some oral presentation. The graduating class would also do 2 or 3 numbers. There is the award recognition for top students in the lower and graduating classes. For the lower grade levels, awards were given in the form of ribbons. These ribbons were pinned on the shirts of the student by a parent / elderly relative.

All graduating students would also be called on stage to accept a piece of white paper that represents their diplomas. They’d be accompanied on-stage by their parents or guardians. Then, there’s the speech by the guest of speaker as an encouragement / challenge to the graduating class. The top 2 students of the graduating class, the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, would also give their speeches. The closing exercises would end around noon, with parents and teachers doing photo-ops with the graduating class.

Sharing a summary of the closing exercises I attended before I graduated:

2nd Grade – Our class did an oral presentation. We spelled the word G-R-A-D-U-A-T-I-O-N with each letter standing for something. Two or three students would recite a couple of sentence for each letter. Example: “R is for REWARDS. Rewards are ….. ” I was #2 in my class and my dad pinned my honors ribbon for me. My teacher was Mrs. Mary Dao-as, and our class was known as Grade 2 – Red.

3rd Grade – Our class recited a poem, “Ako ay Pilipino”. I was #2 again in my class. A month earlier, my dad died due to a cardiac arrest. His dad, my paternal grandfather, pinned my honors ribbon. I was in the Grade 3 – Pink class under Mrs. Imelda Zabala.

4th Grade – Our class did a skit that ended in an Igorot dance. We didn’t do the dance with real gongs; instead, we played with sticks and cans. It was my 1st time to do that, and I was very uncomfortable. I had trouble coordinating my feet, hahaha. I was #2 in my class again – start seeing a pattern here? I was in the Grade 4 – Red class under Mrs. Muriel Omaweng who also happened to be our neighbor in Nangonogan.

5th Grade – Somehow, I’m drawing a blank on what our class did during this grade. I do know I finished #2 in my class. How about that for consistency? We were called Grade 5 – Red and my teacher was the late Mrs. Magdalena Pooten. She also happened to be my paternal grandmother’s first cousin. I was hoping that since she was my great-aunt, she’d make me first in her class. Obviously, she had something else in mind, hahaha.

There’s a lot to tell on my graduation class that I’m reserving it for another post. I did want to note that during closing exercises, I fondly recall Mrs. Bosaing’s accordion playing. She’d play the accordion as one class exited a stage, and another class entered the stage for their turn to present. She’d play the accordion standing up, with a leg propped up against a stool, and a hand resting on the elevated knee. I know that Mrs. Bosaing got promoted to work in the division office after I graduated. It would be interesting to know who replaced her as the accordion lady after she left.

To Be Continued...


Lang-ay Festival 2009 - Photos, Videos, Blogs and News

This is a placeholder post for the Lang-ay Festival 2009 Photos, Blogs, News and Videos. The festival has completed and there's almost no coverage in the local news. Maybe bloggers will need time to post videos and photos so I can filter those I find interesting. The above photograph was taken from the TRIBASIA.com website which I think is being considered as a spam site by Google. I'll be updating this post as data trickles in.

April 6, 2009 Video: A Bontoc Welcome to the Lang-ay Festival -

Other Links: Lang–ay fest opens with calls to preserve culture and env’t


Sagada Photo - Rice Terraces

Sharing a screen capture of Sagada Rice Terraces from Oman Aguilos' Flickr album. The above photo was taken on the way to Bomod-ok during Holy Week 2009.


Presidential Chopper, Malacanang Execs Missing in Baguio

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Bel 142 helicopter carrying several Malacanang executives were reported missing after taking off from Baguio City's Loakan airport. The helicopter took off from at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Apr 7, for a 30-minute flight to Banawe as advance party for Mrs. Arroyo. President Arroyo who is spending her Holy Week in Baguio City was scheduled to inspect the Halsema Highway on April 8, Wednesday. Passengers of the missing helicopter were Press Undersecretary Jose Capadocia, Pres. Arroyo’s senior military aide Brig. Gen. Carlos Clet, Appointments Secretary Malou Frostrom and two pilots.

Recent Updates: 04/08 - Helicopter is confirmed to have crashed causing death; US sends helicopter to help in rescue efforts. See regular updates in Google News.


Lang-ay Festival 2009 is On-going

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mountain Province's biggest crowd drawer is currently on-going. The Lang-ay Festival which started on 2004 will be featuring an agro-industrial fair, tribal sports, indigenous games and exhibits, a fashion show, and cultural dance presentations including the much anticipated street dancing parade on the last day of the festival. The town of Barlig has consistently performed well in the street dancing category and will be a favorite again this year. Hoping to end Barlig's reign will be entries from Bauko, Besao, Bontoc, Natonin, Paracelis, Sabangan, Sadangga, Sagada, and Tadian. I'll definitely be rooting for Sagada to do well. E-esten yo!

Links: 2009 Lang-ay Festival Program of Activities; Lang-ay Festival Photo Gallery 1; Lang-ay Festival Photo Gallery 2; Lang-ay Festival Youtube Videos


SaGaDa-iGoRoT.com Traffic Increase

What a difference a year makes! After shifting to the SaGaDa-iGoRoT.com domain, the website traffic has more than doubled from 1,938 visitors on Apr 2008 to an all time high of 4,591 visitors for the month of Mar 2009. With regards to website pages viewed, the number increased from 6,444 to 10,953. This is still far from my target traffic, so there's still much work to be done. I'm working to merge the SaGaDa-iGoRoT.com website with this blog and traffic should increase by another 25% if there will be no surprises. Look for some major updates by the end of this month. To all visitors and readers, thank you for dropping by.


Igorot Links for this Weekend

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Some interesting weekend reading on blog posts regarding Igorots.

  • 3 lady bloggers made a mention on "big Igorot legs". One going as far to say that her Igorot mom's legs "suggested their ancestors were built to do manual labor outside—they could easily squat and wash by the river". Ah, vanity. See Cheri Lucas, Ubbog Cordillera, and Kalawakan.
  • Howie Severino's blog post on Igorot Cowboys.
  • Adventurers from Monash University feature the Easter Weaving Room's role in preserving traditional Igorot weaving.
  • A spa now offers dagdagay, described as ancient foot massage from Mountain Province. See Hot City. Naganas met-a nan menpa-dagay.
  • See Sadiri's brief commentary on why Igorots are still considered primitive amongst Filipinos.


Igorot Veterans die after applying for US Lump Sum

Inquirer reports that several Igorot war veterans have died after applying for the $9,000 lump sum benefit that the US government has granted Filipinos who fought alongside American soldiers during the war. Records from PVAO Cordillera showed that the following war veterans have since died after filing their claims: Leon Wacay, Balosdan Alcido, Gabriel Fabian, Francisco Agmalew, Maximo Lagiman, Ponciano Lawaguey, Martin Liampo and Perez Dinangwatan, all of Benguet; Mauro Bambico and Tranquilino Andres, of Baguio City; and Emilio Nacatab of Tadian, Mountain Province. Apparently, only the surviving spouses of these veterans could claim the money. The benefit would not be given to the veterans' children because the law specifies that only the surviving spouses could claim it on behalf of the veterans. What happens if there is no surviving spouse? $9,000 is roughly P450,000 - still a huge amount. Surely, after the very long wait, the children of these veterans deserve the benefit their parents risked their lives for. Read the full story.


Featured Sagada Restaurants

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I don't think there were any outstanding restaurants in Sagada when I was growing up. Nowadays, Sagada restaurants are featured in regional and national newspapers. The latest mention is from Inquirer Lifestyle's Kitchen Rescue. In an article titled "Dining in Baguio and Sagada this summer", the manager of Mario's Baguio singled out 3 Sagada restaurants as recommended stops. I've eaten in 2 of the 3 places mentioned, and judging from friends' feedback, this group are must-visits for Sagada tourists. Contact numbers are provided - not surprisingly, one of the restaurants require a reservation as it is heavily booked. Here's a section from Inquirer's Article:

Chef Aklay—Run by a lambĂ© chef who has lived in Sagada for the last eight to nine years. Does Saturday-only dinner buffets at Log Cabin. Reservations necessary as he is always booked. Soups and salads made from homegrown greens, wild ferns, wild berries, wild mushrooms gathered from his hikes, Sagada pears or whatever is in season. Roasts (usually pork and chicken), homemade smoked hams, potatoes, homemade breads and wonderful desserts. Very good chocolatier; also whips up great croissants, pain de chocolat, baguette, onion breads, etc. Look for Dave to make reservations at 0920-5200463.

Yoghurt House—Walk down the main road leading to the caves. It’s around 300 m from town center, on the right side. Generous servings of homemade yogurt topped with fruit jams or granola. Good pastas. My favorite: eggplant pasta.

Ganduyan Inn—in the town plaza itself. One of the first coffee houses in Sagada. Good crepes and breakfasts by Marina. Bonus: nice Cordillera museum on the second floor by Christina Aben (Marina’s mom). My fave: wild blueberry and banana crepes. Call Marina at 0921-2738097.
For the full story, read Dining in Baguio and Sagada this summer.