The road to Kiltepan
|People here have waited generations for these road concreting works.|
The I-Sagada have common ancestors with the I-Chonglian. Certain oral accounts passed on through the generations, tell that the early ancestors came from such places as Ma-eng in Abra and Dallik in the north. These forebears founded villages including Fidelisan, Demang and others that now form parts of present day Sagada municipality. The Mainit people too have ancestors from Abra, Fidelisan and Belwang. The Sagada and Mainit territories are delineated on Mt Kamingmingel or Kaman-ingel in Aguid.
‘I was born on this mountain, this mountain’s my home,’ but I don’t remember much of my early times here. See I left here when I was a few days old J. Sure I’ve been back a few times, and listened to the whisper of the pines. Their whisper is now getting fainter, more like a hushed murmur.
In Sagada, you’re caught between a rock and a hard place. Yes Sagada is rocky and the nearest towns are hard places to live. Life is hard all around the mountains. In town you’ll see houses built on rocks and roads built through rock. (You’ll even sight a hard rock tribute to local legend Cosi the 2nd or Cosi II).
Sagada presents various pulls to her many visitors. The idealist and environmentalist, vacationer and traveller, adventurer and thrill-seeker, hippy and self-styled revolutionary, writer historian and anthropologist, elitist and artist, atheist and Christian, student and city slicker, slick smooth-talker and fixer, rambler and gamboler, gambler and pimp, joker and thief, merchant or other. They all see Sagada through the prism of their own conceptions. Often the visiting balikbayan or homesick child of these mountains regrets coming home. This mountain retreat used to be unspoiled by commercialism and modernism. But no longer. Around every street corner is a cafe or shop boasting exotic offerings from overseas or even the latest techno gadget. Sagada is not immune to the undesirable types. Characters running from the law or from their demons, those looking to do a quick fix, or offering get-rich-quick schemes, even those that come to use or abuse.
And in the midst of Sagada’s tourist rush, many a promising lad has fallen to the temptations of easy money and easy living. The dap-ay used to guide young men to adulthood and responsibility. Has the dap-ay ran its course? Is the door to traditional learning, the cultural classroom that was essential to community and society, closed for good? I am hoping not.
I haven’t got much more to say about Sagada, there’s many sources of information around and online. I’ll just let my photographic refractions do the narration.
A young local lad explains the history and significance of his ancestors' coffins to tourists.
|A tagalog couple, perhaps a tad anxious within the caverns, asked us to accompany them spelunking, but I had to visit the Queen. 'Perhaps next time' I said, as back out we
to catch the last outbound ride, else the Queen have my hide.