A Taste of Sagada right here in Chicago – Part I

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In Disney’s RATATOUILLE movie, the unsmiling and dour-faced food critic named ANTON EGO, tasted a dish that suddenly transported him back to his childhood days. His countenance changed as he gamely savored the dish he was giving a critique on, and the warm childhood memories that accompanied the dish showed dramatically in his facial expression. He actually smiled, and proceeded to devour the rest of the dish with childish joy. In our family, we call such an experience a “ratatouille moment”. It is that warm, wonderful, indescribable feeling you’d get when you bite into food that reminds you of a great dishes from the past.

Welcoming Alumni, Family, and Friends

On a different scale, being part of the 5th St. Mary’s School Sagada Alumni Family and Friends (SMSSAFF) Conference that was held in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge was a drawn out 3-day “ratatouille moment”. My wife and I joined the host committee on Thursday, August 4, as alumni, family and friends started arriving to register for the event. We met relatives and friends from Michigan, Colorado, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York and Illinois – there could be more states represented, and I believe there were those from Canada, but those states mentioned were what I remembered.

My wife and I didn’t graduate from St. Mary’s School (SMS) in Sagada – but my mother-in-law did. So did my dad (batch ’56), my mom (batch ’65), and my 3 older sisters who belonged to batch ’87, ’88, and ’90. Two of my brother-in-laws were also graduates of SMS. I was supposed to be a member of batch ’92 – but I was shipped to Manila for high school and missed all the fun. Still, I didn’t feel left out. The St. Mary’s tradition runs strong in my family and during the reunion, I somehow felt like I was representing my parents and sisters as they were not able to attend.

Anglican Mass and SMS Missionaries

The reunion / conference was held in an episcopal church also known as St. Mary’s. The Anglican church service on Saturday morning was the first time I’ve attended in years. (My family now have affiliated ourselves to evangelical, non-denominational churches in more recent years.) It was the same traditional hymn mass I remember from my Sagada childhood with great fondness. Members of the alumni served during the service, and the hymns were also handpicked by them. At the end of the service, when the attendees started singing the SMS hymn to the tune of O Danny Boy, I felt a tinge of regret that my family members (my mom especially) who were supposed to be there were absent.

Saturday evening was cultural night. The theme for the conference was about honoring Sagada’s teaching missionaries who were from various Anglican dioceses across the United States. These missionaries served in Sagada’s St. Mary’s school in the early 1900s and stayed in Sagada until the 1960s. In the photo slideshow which started the evening, there were images of SMS alumni who eventually settled in the US, visiting these same missionaries during their later years right here in their home country. I can only imagine what those missionaries may have felt like.

Having stayed here in the US since 2006, I cannot imagine sacrificing comfortable living here and going to a strange mountainous land in the Far East to spend time with a group of people and culture that is too foreign from the one you’re used to. And after all the hard work and time spent, you actually get to see the fruit of your labor by having some of your students get to visit you back in your home country. Indeed, a theme that I’ve heard from the older alumni during the conference was of thanksgiving – the alumni are thankful to those brave teaching missionaries for the opportunities that it has provided the students and their families not just in their lifetime, but also for the next generations to come.

CONTINUED here... A Taste of Sagada right here in Chicago – Part II

7 comments:

Ryan Tejero January 19, 2012 at 2:06 AM  

Would like to invite you to participate in the forthcoming 2012Filipino Heritage Festival to be held in the Quad Cities, please leave email address so I can forward information. We are currently looking for additional performers in the event - hopefully the authentic Igorots of the Cordillera..

Love KidsTV September 14, 2015 at 8:43 AM  

Thanks for your post. Click to play Plants vs Zombies , Solitaire,Tom And Jerry Games, Brain Games, Happy Wheels

Ann Kelly April 11, 2016 at 3:55 AM  

Thank you for the introduction of a range of information that is very interesting to see in this article.
open facebook
facebook login
happy wheels
happy wheels game
earn to die
earn to die game
Good post! Thanks for sharing. Really very useful and informative post.

Alice Denny July 6, 2016 at 3:28 AM  

Welcomes to google terminal keep sharing such ideas in the future as well.
google snake this was actually EARN TO DIE
what i was looking for,and i am glad to came here! AGE OF WAR 2
Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while HAPPY WHEELS
I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! Slitherio
Amazing insight you have on this, Slither io This article always blew me BIG FARM

Rokki Winchester October 10, 2016 at 11:10 AM  

The best lighting for smart people. Visit our site and ensure the adequacy of price .
Informative and interesting which we share essaylab reviews with you so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the efforts. I am tiring the same best work from me in the future as well. I'll use this information to provide research paper help.

Taylor Bell November 9, 2016 at 2:35 PM  

Would like to invite you to participate in the forthcoming 2012Filipino Heritage Festival to be held in the Quad Cities, please leave email address so I can forward information. We are currently looking for additional performers in the event - hopefully the authentic Igorots of the Cordillera..
top-10-writers.com

Alice Denny November 22, 2016 at 8:52 PM  

The blog or and best that is extremely useful to keep I can share the ideas. Age Of War 2
Big Farm | Slitherio | Tank Trouble
Of the future as this is really what I was looking for, I am very comfortable and pleased to come here. Thank you very much.
Happy Wheels | Goodgeme Empire | Slither.io