Sagada Tour Guide

Sagada tour guide

If you have nothing left to sell
but your culture
wouldn’t you don the g-string of your ancestors
to appease the appetite of tourists
for entertainment ‘round the Christmas bonfire?

Beat the gongs now
and wake the ghosts from their slumber.
There’s enough time to worry
about their wrath later
when the embers turn cold
and the winds grow strong
at sunset lake or sunrise mountain.

This afternoon you have opened a casket
of bones — or what remains of it —
for your lowland and foreign siblings to gawk at
then led them with gas lamps inside the womb
where unapologetic lessons of gross anatomy
by stalactite and stoneflow
turn into an opportunity for poking fun
at the very thing that brought you cash and fame.

Tonight you would beat a chicken’s wings numb
then singe its feathers with blow torch —
tourists wouldn’t care about such shortcuts
or the absence of prayers to the unseen
just the chicken chopped, thrown into a pot
then mixed with smoked salted pork,
rice wine, sayote, and enough local story-lies
to complete the exotic experience.
Before the night is over, take a stick and with its tip
of smoke and burning charcoal
stir against the blackness of night
the breath marks of your name, lest you forget
who you are and where you’re from
after this sleepwalk.

5 thoughts on “Sagada Tour Guide”

  1. “If you have nothing to sell but your culture” seems an inappropriate question. The people who organized, marketed, and profited from this particular exercise in cultural prostitution are not in any way poor and they have plenty to sell. If anything the culture is being sold by the rich and defended by the common people.

  2. WHO ARE YOU!!! Just because we beat the gongs in a christmas bonfire, just because we beat the gongs in new years eve, just because we played the gongs in the street,,, did that mean we committed such atrocity…? you’re way above your head… I wouldn’t care if the tourist are in my land… i’am happy and wanted to celebrate so i beat the gongs and dance… the presence of tourist won’t limit me to do what i do… one more thing, we don’t beat the gongs to anger the spirits… gongs and dances come out in celebration… this all starts with prayers…

    we are not selfish… people here share its beauty to anyone and to the rest of the world… the people here shares this place to tourist and we protect it against anyone who tries to destroy it… tourist guides are they key to that… the open caskets are not the doing of the towns people but those unregistered grave diggers who come to the town…

    my family has just performed a “senga”; “se-nga” and i watch how they did it with the presence of the adults and the grandfathers of mine and other people… it was all about prayers and following a sequence which they told us to do…

    lastly, we don’t sell our culture… stop talking about my place with such disrespect…

  3. Who profited when the event will fund the Baseball team of Sagada for the team’s improvement and would hopefully join regional games and for procurement of rescue equipment in a place where access to such is not readily available or even ample. Please be careful with your words and research first before you make allegations. If you hated the event, then contributor of this “poem” find a way to provide these and execute it. Walk the talk if you really wanted to help. “lest you forget who you are and where you’re from after this sleepwalk.”—->Describe to us your culture to further understand what you have written.

  4. Weve entertained guests with gongs and dances. Weve done rituals and ceremonies in festivals, in front of unknown throngs (langay festival,, etag festival etc. . ) and you post this poem of yours as an anonymous person, not bad for someone who cares . . We do all this in our backyard, not on the house of a buyer that you said we are selling to. . Our hospitality would have been the reason,, letting outsiders participate in our begnas, even be baptized with our native names,, id assume uve not been here long enough to understand,, print your poem and shove it down ur throat.

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