What? Sagada is Not Unique?

Hey you Sagada people who think that your town is unique, here’s a message for you: Sagada is not unique. Yes, you can brag about your caves, rocks, hanging coffins, underground rivers (with no water sometimes), sinking rice terraces, Balugan tomatoes, Antadao persimmons, and Pidlisan coffee but, I repeat, Sagada is not unique.

Before people from Kalinga, Bontoc, and Tabuk gloat and look down on poor Sagada for not being unique, here’s also a message for you: Your place is also not unique. Of course, no one in his or her right mind would ever say that Mountain Province, Cordillera, and Abra are unique. For the record, La-Trinidad is also not unique.

Okay, before readers coming from those places protest violently, let me backtrack a bit. In saying that your places are not unique, I am referring to the names of your town/province but not to the place itself.

Of course, in the real sense, Sagada is one of a kind in the entire world and hence, it is unique. And so is Kalinga, and Bontoc, and Tabuk, and even La-Trinidad (where my boxing idol Rey Tam lives). But there are other places in the world that also go by the name of Sagada, Kalinga, Bontoc, and Tabuk. I’m not one hundred percent sure about La-Trinidad but it is such a common name so I’m assuming that there are also other places in the world called La-Trinidad.

Anyway, I was searching for some Kalinga pictures and these pictures popped out of Google.

Photos of palaces/temples of the former kingdom of Kalinga courtesy of The Hindu.

Turns out that Kalinga, aside from being the current name of a province in the Cordilleras, was also the name of a once-powerful kingdom in India. So there may not be Igorot kings and queens as I argued here, but there were Kalinga kings and queens. Quote: “The bravery of the Kalinga kings is legendary….” Very much like the Kalingas in the Cordillera, no? More here and here.

What about Sagada? Interestingly, there is also a town called Sagada (population, 1596) in Dagestan Republic which is a part of Russia. It is also mountainous but is higher in elevation than Sagada, Mt. Province by 986 feet. The people there are also indigenous peoples (well, they are not Russians); they are called Didos and they speak Dido. (The Google satellite image above is of Sagada in Dagestan, Russia courtesy of this site.)

Like Sagada in the Cordilleras, Sagada in Dagestan has also been the site of armed encounters between government and rebel forces. Uncanny, huh? Same name, somewhat similar events. Click here and here. Although Sagada in Dagestan beats Sagada, Mt. Provinve in terms of height, the latter is much more popular than its Dagestan namesake. That’s according to Google results so don’t say I’m biased.

Meanwhile, our good friends in Tabuk, Kalinga have long been dreaming (since the 1990s) that their town be converted into a city. So far their dreams are still dreams. Don’t ask me why. Maybe them officials still haven’t gotten their acts together. Anyway, I just sent an email to one of my Tabuk friends saying that if he really wants to live in a city called Tabuk, he should apply for a job in Tabuk City, Saudi Arabia. This is what he would see if he goes there. I’ve added a map of the Middle East which shows us where the city is located.




As for Bontoc, well you don’t have to go abroad to see another Bontoc. You can just to Bontoc, Southern Leyte where you can party above the sea to your heart’s content (see picture below courtesy of this site). Who knows, you might even see our ancient warships BRP Kalinga Apayao and BRP Benguet guarding the Philippine sealanes.


Because I ran out of time, I temporarily concede that maybe Baguio, Benguet, Apayao, and Ifugao are unique. But maybe some of you know of other places in the world that bear those names.

8 Comments
  1. Maybe if they had spelled it with an F and a K just like we pronounce it [Fontok], then it might turn out unique after all. Matry ngang igoogle kung meron pa ring “Fontok” na place =)

    Fongakhan

  2. Hi Fongakhan,
    Oo nga ano. Haven’t thought of googling the town’s alternative spelling. Just tried it and wala ngang namesake ang Fontok. So it is indeed unique! Thanks again.

  3. u knw wat i think b4 u say anything else about sagada…..read first its history coz as far as i remember sagada is not its original name…………its GANDUYAN!!!!uhmmm,isearch mo nga bka may iba png ganduyan na place!!!!!?????

  4. Hi Ann,
    Thanks for the advice and for the very valuable lesson in history. I am actually from Sagada and do not need to research to know that Ganduyan is the old name of Sagada, that old man Biag followed his dog to Demang and started the first of Sagada’s dap-ays, that he is sort of considered as the founder of Sagada, that I am somewhat related to him [din alapon din alapon din alapom et si Biag], that the books you can read about Sagada’s history would be primarily those written by Scott, but in the old days you can also know it by listening to old men in the dap-ays in Bilig, Matuba, Tokipa at marami pang iba.

    But sadly those dap-ays are mostly empty these days because young men now sleep in their homes and so our old tradition of learning from the past generation is now a thing of the past.

    Ay ngan pay ngen kayet di kanak? Thanks again Ann Quinio for your very thoughtful advice.

    My apologies for the stream-of-consciousness reply.

  5. whoah… nice message from the writer.. but haven’t you reaad the history of the different places before blowing up your own idea… i think it’s unfair!!!!

  6. Take note that topnotchers in Mechanical (3000 to 4000 test takers), Civil (4000 + test takers), Electrical (2500 to 3000 test takers), and Electronics Engineering (2000 to 3000 test takers) should be more significant than those who topped in less populated fields like Mining Engineering (only 100 test takers).

  7. para sino ka ba tanga ang sinasabi mo taga saan ka ba sa atin kong sasabihin mo hindi ganda ang manga cordillera tanga ka tang ina mo taga saan ka maganda ang lahat ang cordillera champion kami sa urcc bonga bonga taga mountain province ako wada ak ti pure 100 percent cordillera taga maed dayatay nga babagam mayet amin to cordillera

  8. i come across this site while doing research about sagada.. “I am from Sagda my self” and its so funny how people dont read the WHOLE article before commenting, are they just so eager to say a word??? too bad for them that it took me two years to discover this article.. hehehe…

    Ganduyan is the original name of sagada but it’s not its OFFICIAL name… the article is not about the history and how pretty the place is… geeezzzz cant you people not read….

    the article is all about how the odd fact that the place we though that it’s unique is after all not unique… I love the article because it made me smile.. for how many years in my life did i think that sagada was after all just can be found in the high places of Mountain province then i came to learn that we can find it too in other places… isnt that amazing….

    whew i dont think i need to go on with things… buttom line is that learn to read the WHOLE article before ranting cause it will make you just so… “bad word” in the eyes of other people who KNOW how to READ….

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