Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Writer's Sagada

Chi once told me that when she was a PETA writer, they were all hauled to Sagada to write. The Sagada of the mind conjures an image of tranquility and simple living. The view of the pine mountains swathed by fog or the rice terraces at night with multitudes of fireflies will make you grab your pen or open your laptop. In other words, the PETA people did not accomplish anything. My NGO friends in Manila in the 1990s would also go to Sagada for "de-stressing" and come back stressed at the thought of coming back with more work backlog and office intrigues. There was a time when I was always in Sagada because I was researching. I like the peace and tranquility and talking with the people and the tourists. I, too, can not write much while in Sagada but I was able to mentally map my stories. Maybe a habit of the mountains would come to me so I can just write about tawdry and seemingly trivial things like Wm. Henry Scott. I visited his library and there are so many typewritten notes there unpublished about Sagada. How prolific! It seems that the rhythm of the place and the season would allow you to include writing in your daily life. No meetings. No presscons. No shopping. No drinking all night because they have a self-imposed curfew here at 9 pm. Today is the market day in Sagada. That is when the residents buy their stuff and meet their friends. When was the last time there was a market day in the real sense in your place? Not Market! Market! but market lang? The malls destroyed all that. "The trouble with us is that we want instant things -- instant noodles, instant messages, instant babies," wrote one high school student in her feature story. She was, I think, from Sagada and I asked them to write about teenage pregnancy. It was a lead I did not expect. We all want instant things including instant Sagada to spur our creative spirit. Like all things, Sagada is a patient place. You allow yourself to live here longer incognito and a little resigned and then Sagada will come knocking like a shy neighbor.

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2 Comments:

Blogger marionne said...

True, true, very true.

I went to Sagada with Ruel and Tommy once supposedly to find some sort of inspiration to write again.

I wasn't able to find it.

The place taught me something more important to not write just because everyone around me is doing it, because it was what I used to do and it is expected of me.

And that there is an acute shortage of ice cubes in Sagada but they have better ukay ukay.

2:10 PM  
Blogger frank cimatu said...

they better have better ukay-ukay because the Sagadians own the national cartel

2:37 PM  

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