The Faces of Sagada

Elisa_Igorot_Sagada Mt. Province

Elisa, 66

At age 16, Elisa, an Igorot of Sagada heard her own wedding bells as she married a fellow Igorot upholding the tribe’s tradition of an early marriage. The tribe practices two weddings such as the traditional wedding and the Church wedding. It has been a custom of inviting everyone including local tourists and foreigners in the wedding manifesting a grandeur celebration.

Amy Wangdali_Sagada Mt. Province

Amy Wangdali 

Amy is a caretaker of A7 House, the oldest homestay in Sagada. She fluently speaks Kankana-ey, the native’s language in Sagada. Ilocano is the commonly used language in the Mountain Province since variety of languages is spoken in the region.

Omaweng Sagada tour guide Mt. Province


Sagada native and full-blooded Igorot are two prerequisites of becoming a legitimate Sagada tour guide. In the tradition, each Igorot is given two names; the traditional and Christian name. Traditional names are identical in the community given by the elders while Christian names are given by the child’s parents. Tourists call him John while Igorots call him Omaweng.

Bacolong sisters_souvenirs_Sagada Mt. Province

Bacolong sisters Sagada souvenir shop

Bacolong sisters 

Regee Bacolong (left) and Wanay Bacolong (right) are the children who now manage their family business- Indigenous handicrafts and Inn in Sagada.

“Kung kaya ng manahi ng 10 years old, magsimula ng matuto.” – Regee Bacolong

Regee, now 27 years old is the youngest of the four siblings started sewing bags and wallet at the age of 10.

Every corner in Sagada has family businesses run by the natives. It is a consensus in Sagada to preserve the community by not allowing outsiders to put up businesses in the area.



Undying Art in Miagao, Western Visayas

                     Pottery making is an undying art in Cagbang Miagao, Iloilo. Nanay Enriqueta started molding clay pots at the age of 12 with her mom teaching her. For 50 years, she has been into pottery making and now, as a family tradition is her time to teach her sons and grandchildren the art of pottery. 

Snippets of Fishing Livelihood in Miagao, Western Visayas

Unwoven Truth of the UP Sablay

UP_Sablay_IloiloAn Ilongga laboriously weaves the UP Sablay for 2018 graduates. 

          Sablay is the most popular academic regalia of the University of the Philippines. Graduating students from the university take pride in wearing Sablay symbolizing their perseverance inside the university, a mark of bravery and persistence in midst of adversities.

       Behind the challenges that confront Iskolars ng Bayan in attaining their Sablay, the traditional weavers devote great effort in producing the Sablay. Miagao, Iloilo, is one of the homes of the major suppliers of the UP Sablay. Eight thousand were woven for the 2017 UP Commencement Exercises. Each of the weavers receives only P100 for every Sablay made.

UP_SablayA sample of UP Sablay to be replicated by the weavers in Miagao, Iloilo. 

            However, there is a troubling question concerning the cost of the UP Sablay, which is sold at around P950 and an additional payment depending upon the size of order. Producers of the Sablay experience exploitation in the form of low wages despite the difficult labor they put in making the sashes.

          Few are familiar with the struggles behind this beautifully hand-woven symbol of Honor and Excellence. As it is glorified by Iskolars ng Bayan, it would only be right to honor the works of the weavers by telling their stories to raise awareness about their plight and create changes to their status quo.