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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sagunto, My Sagunto


When we went on vacation to the Philippines this past December, our final destination was this little barrio in Sison, Pangasinan called Sagunto. How it got it's name, I do not know. I do know it has a namesake in Spain, so maybe some lonely Spaniard during the days of colonization wished to acknowledge his hometown and so named this corner of the world after it? Who knows. Sagunto to me is the birthplace of my mom. It is populated by people who've dubbed themselves "bago". The most that I could glean about the label is that they are a people of mixed ancestry, a combination of the indigenous Igorot people and the Ilocos who are sometimes connected to Chinese and Spanish ancestry. The "bago" are the people amalgamated from these cultures.

Sagunto is located at the foot of the mountains, one of the last towns you would pass as you ascend to the mountain city of Baguio.
This is the entrance from the main highway. The road continues until it runs into the the foot of the mountain called Palina. Its length is probably less than a kilometer long. I remember the time when this road was not paved but more of a dirt road; when there was no electricity and people still used gas lamps and everyone lived is thatch roof houses and bamboo floors. Now the houses are much bigger but the yards have gotten smaller. It is much more crowded now.

Many of the residents of this small village (barangay as it is now called) are OFWs (Overseas Foreign Workers) who send remittances to their relatives and build big, comfortable homes for them to return to when their stints abroad has concluded. It is to the credit of these overseas workers and the local barangay that the road to the village was paved. OFWs continue to provide support for the local government to be able to manage the day to day operations of this small village. They stopped waiting on the government to provide necessities such electricity, running water, roads, sewage, etc. Instead, they have worked on acquiring these things on their own with the help of overseas workers who dream of coming back to this place to live, among their friends and extended (very extended) families.

They are my family, and my friends. This is where we went home to.

I'll have more photos of our trip in future posts.

11 comments:

the squid | un calamar said...

Regards from Sagunt/Sagunto in the other part of the world [Valencia,Spain].

JMom said...

un calamar, thanks for visiting. how exciting to hear from someone from the other Sagunto! I dream of visiting your town someday :)

cathy said...

and there are people who look down on OFWs.

JMom said...

hi cathy, that is true. But the people who look down on OFWs do not realize that right now they are practically carrying the Philippine economy on their shoulders. OFWs are not all working as domestics as many may think, there are plenty who are working in their professions; and of the many who are serving as domestic help, a number of them are professionals, college graduates, who could not find work in the Philippines or could not get paid what they are getting paid working as domestics abroad. No shame in that. They are giving back to their country from the grassroots level (as it is in Sagunto) on up to the national level. They should hold their heads up and be proud.

Rose said...

((((((((((Jmom))))))))))) I have missed you. Welcome home. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. Thank you for sharing your photos with us.

JMom said...

Hi Rose! Thank you, it's good to be back. I'll have more photos to share. I'll probably be blogging about this vacation for a few weeks yet! lol!

HiPnCooLMoMMa said...

sayang we didn't get to meet...next time nalang...i know your sked is really full

JMom said...

Hi Girlie, oo nga eh. I didn't have time to meet up with any of my blogger friends. Two days lang kasi kami sa Manila. I'll know next time we come home to allow more time for EBs :)

tintin said...

What did the kids think of Sagunto? What did they think of the trip in general? I love hearing kids' views on things.

Ate Sienna said...

don't you just miss the motherland more when you post their pictures and write entries about them? kakainis, ano? sana uwi na lang tayo. :)

JMom said...

Hi Tin, the girls loved Sagunto and just about everything about the Philippines. They didn't complain about the heat or the food, not even the butiki on the wall. lol!! I'll have more stories to come.

Hi gigi, oo nga eh. If only it was easy to just go every so often. Miss ko na ulit ang Pinas kahit kagagaling lang namin. Actually, mas lalo pa.