And Then the President Came to Town (Part 2)


Despite the fact that Gloria’s visits are unlikely to be considered among Sagada’s top events of the year, her visits usually do become a conversation topic when people come together as a group. What I find most interesting in these conversations is that nobody appears to have been awed by the President’s presence. So there’s been no “Wow, I saw the President!!!” kind of reaction. The reaction is mostly like, “Ho hum, yeah I saw the President.”

I think this is partly due to the fact that iSagadas (and all Igorot groups for that matter) are really not the kind of people who get starstruck when they meet a celebrity. It is also partly because Gloria herself does not inspire awe. Nothing is really compelling about her that would make one feel that one is in the presence of greatness.

Bill Bilig’s IMAGINARY conversations. Please note that this is only a product of my imagination. Also, the pictures were not taken during the President’s visit. This exercise is to merely illustrate a point 🙂

First Sagada boy: Ine, aped de-ey kano si Presidente id baba et. (The President is said to be down there.)

Second Sagada boy
: Et? Ayta no wada? (So? What if she is?)

Sagada man
: Ala maseyep tako manet. Am-amed kayo ay ongong-a, maseyep kayo ta masiken kayo. (Hey, Let’s just sleep. Specially you kids, go to sleep so you will grow up.)

Anyways, what did Gloria do when she was in Sagada? Here are some things that people say she did. My comments outside the quotes.

“She caused traffic.” — Gloria made her visits during Sagada’s peak season, a time when vehicle traffic becomes a problem for the town’s narrow roads. The President’s presence understandably adds another layer of traffic.

“She ate at the Yoghurt House. No vehicles were allowed to pass until she finished.” — An inspired choice for the President to eat at the Yoghurt House. You should also go eat there whenever you are in Sagada. Yes, I’m advertising the place. It’s owned by a relative on my mother’s side but that’s not why I’m advertising it. The yoghurt there is really good.

“She went to Sumaguing Cave but didn’t really enter the cave. She only went to the entrance. Pasado was her official guide.” — Pasado is former Sagada Mayor Tom Killip, now the Presidential Assistant for the Cordilleras. With such a fancy title, I hope he is actually doing more than just coordinating the President’s Cordillera visits.

“She had lunch at Gagab-an, Ambasing at the Right Turn Cafe. But the lunch was prepared at St. Jo.” — You should also go to the Right Turn Cafe. It has a very nice view of Sagada’s hanging coffins and rock formations. Yes, I’m also advertising the Right Turn Cafe. And yes its also owned by a relative, but this time on my father’s side. 🙂


“She kept waving to people but people were not waving back. In fact, a boy at the basketball court playfully aimed a slingshot at her while she was waving.” — He he. Boys will be boys.

Here are some quotes related to the President’s visits:
“I hope she makes her visits during times when we are not busy.” — This is a quote by an official. December is a busy month in most parts of the world but it may be busier in Sagada because this is usually the time when people get married.

“In Bontoc, we were worried that some activists would unfurl a banner protesting against the President.” — Too bad, they didn’t. That would have been very newsworthy.

There you have it. This just about sums up Gloria’s Sagada visits from the point of view of iSagadas.

RELATED POST: And Then the President Came to Town, Part 1. PHOTO CREDITS: German Nelson Laurente for the Yoghurt House; Jill Lejano for the hanging coffins/rock formation and the Sagada boys; and Pacocruise for the sleeping Sagada man.

7 thoughts on “And Then the President Came to Town (Part 2)”

  1. i’m from sagada. i have to make a point regarding the seeming disinterest or nonchalance being shown by us towards celebrities or other people who would normally be mobbed had they been in other places. there could be numerous reasons for this attitude but foremost among them should be the fact that sagada has always been one of the favorite destinations of tourists. there’s really no reason for the mestizo/mestiza actors/actresses to be offended if they only merit a glance from the locals. folks here have been so used to seeing and interacting with people whose noses are a lot more pointed than theirs. we can’t be blamed for ignorance either, as cable tv has long been in town and the vcr has been present much earlier. of course, things might eventually change in the future. maybe we’ll shout and jump like crazy when celebrities arrive and we would push each other to ask for an autograph. ake ke ke. as for the president and the other politicos? ulay no mananeng sina et adi met ngumina nan repolyo. no men mula tako et sugal kayet nan ikakkan di presyo.

  2. I agree with everything you said. Maybe an indicator that things might change in the future is that kids these days talk about “artistas”. One time, my nephews/nieces were talking about Bakekang and Ara Mina and I was like “What? In my days, we didn’t give a damn about artistas. And you are now talking about them?” Hopefully they won’t be lining up for autographs and become a part of the mob.

    anon says : ulay no mananeng sina et adi met ngumina nan repolyo. no men mula tako et sugal kayet nan ikakkan di presyo. ( My rough translation : Even if she stays here forever, the price of cabbage will not go up. It is still a gamble when we plant vegetables for the market.)

    I very much agree. Actually, GMA should be held accountable for the decline of the vegetable industry. When she was a Senator, she was the most vocal in her support for the Senate’s ratification of the Philippines’ membership to the World Trade Organization. I remember her saying in her sponsorship speech that we will become “world-class” when we embrace globalization.

    Globalization has its costs and benefits. For the Philippines, one of the “costs” is the livelihood of many Cordillera vegetable farmers who face a very uncertain future because of vegetable importation.
    And despite her many pronouncements, Gloria has failed to provide adequate safety nets to support vegetable farmers. So farmers are now paying the price for Gloria’s “world class” dreams.

  3. Good for you iSagadas! NCRians should learn from you! That’s really cool–about not being starstruck!

    I still can’t believe why the presence of willie revillame and a 1 in a million chance of winning a jockpot would make people crazy enough to trample one another… stampeding like thirsty mustangs…

  4. Aha! I love yoghurt and I have never been to that part of the Cordillera! so Sagada, here I come! 🙂

  5. Anon (12:06),
    Thanks.Kaya lang baka mastarstruck ang mga iSagadas kay Paulo Avelino, a contestant of GMA’s Starstruck. He also traces his roots from Sagada kasi. Sana they support him but not go over the top. You’re right, the ULTRA tragedy is really sad.

    Yay, another one who loves yoghurt. Aba, dapat talaga palang punta ka sa Sagada. Isabay mo ang trip mo sa pagpunta ni Gloria doon kasi baka andoon ulit ako 🙂 I will be your guide kung sakali.

  6. oh, that’s very nice and very kind of you! 🙂 Guide and tagalibre dapat kase first time! hehehe!!

  7. No problem, as long as I’m there. So let’s keep in touch. I sent you an email pala about some words that needs to be translated 🙂

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