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.