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Apr 25, 2013

A Visit to the Old Village of Sagada: Home Weaving and Etag

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Sagada weaving in their respective homes in Sagada, Mt. Province.
Just like any other towns in the country, there is this single area in Sagada where civilization has flourished. This now what they call the “Old Village”, which is a series of old houses of local Sagadans, dap-ays, and some palay-isdaan. The Old Village is not a tourist spot, but if you want to see antique belongings of the people, their homes are not exception. Luckily, I was with a Sagadan friend who let me visit his grandmother’s house in Sagada where I saw the living legend of “Sagada weaving”, “etag” and Sagada version of kakanin.


Nothing Beats Plain Nature Adventure: Sagada

From the Dalikan Restaurant which was initiated by our trek to MountKiltepan for the sea of clouds and wild berries, we headed near the souvenir shop or Persimon Café, because there is a way in to the Old Village of Sagada. I do not exactly know how people and civilization flourished in that particular area. It’s maybe because the agricultural and suitable lands were there where it is aimed to become their food basket in the entirety of the municipality. I remember the history of Camiling in Tarlac where civilization flourished where the river was, and in fact, “bayan” was actually found on the eastern side of the river, until they constructed a big church on the right side and eventually the market, town hall, plaza, churches and houses also followed. It is true that churches were an insignia of a town center during the colonial period. Churches were also built as a safe house indeed.

The Old Village is a small area, or we just didn’t see the whole of it. If I will compare it to Baguio, it was only a fraction of houses built on Brookside Baranggay. You see how small Sagada is. But believe it or not, this small uphill resort town in Mountain Province boasts of bigger elements like growing tourism, culture and tradition.
 
On going back to Old Village, Sagada
A few minutes more and we reached his grandmother’s house. It was a simple up-and-down (two-storey) house. Just behind their door was there home equipment for weaving. If you think that all of the Sagada weaved products were factory-made, think again. The one I saw in their house was still used by his grandmother. I would have requested how the weaver works but his grandma was busy doing some kakanin. Ingenious. The equipment was made out of wood and with this primitive way of weaving cloth were an output of beautifully crafted and designed clothings, bags and purses. Tatak Sagada talaga. Nowhere in other parts that you see something similar to their style of weaving.
 
Sagada weaving
Another Sagada endemic food was the “etag”. Etag was a smoked meat, and you might not like the idea that the meat was smoked for several days or weeks. The ‘e’ in “etag” is pronounced as ‘e’ in the word “matter”. Huh, thinking that flies were already flocking around the smoked meat? Yes, they were present. Etag was smoked for several weeks on a heat or fire in their respective cooking areas. It’s a preservation style. I am not sure though if they also add salt on to it. My friend told me that almost every house in Sagada make etag. This is because etags were served in their important events like canao, wedding or fiesta. That’s why Sagada also celebrates Etag Festival. They do not often eat etag when it’s not an important celebration. We can liken etag to the usual food served during occasions.
 
Sagada etag
The taste of etag was salty, and I like it. Just don’t think how etag was made and you will like it too. It’s like bacon or something. You know, it’s not only etag that has undergone process like hell but tastes like heaven. If you have already tasted “buro” (usually fish) and you like it, you might want to know that it was actually a fermented fish with rice. Etag was one of the best served food I ate in Sagada. By the way I ate etag because it was their canao, and they cooked their Sagada version of pinikpikan with etag. Pinikpikan is an Igorot way of cooking chicken, very similar to tinola of Tagalogs. Pinikpikan though of the people of Benguet has no etag in it. Get the difference?

After our very own tour of the Old Village with a matching house visit with living Sagada weaving apparatus and etag, we headed for lunch in Lemon Pie House. Yup, my lunch is no other than the delicious lemon pie of the Lemon Pie House.

 Nothing Beats Plain Nature Adventure: Sagada Travel Series (20 - 30):
Part 26: A Quick Breakfast Inside Dalikan Restaurant, Sagada
Part 27: A Visit to the Old Village of Sagada: Home Weaving and Etag
Part 28: Lemony Lunch @ Lemon Pie House in Sagada
Part 29: When They Call It Halo-Halo in Sagada
Part 30:  Sagada All Saints Day: Burnt Pine Woods and Thick Black Smoke.
Travex Travels GUIDE: Three-Day Sagada Itinerary and List of Expenses

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