BAGUIO CITY –The municipality of Sagada will again hold the Etag festival in February after a two-year hiatus as an added attraction for tourists.
“After its two-year recession, the annual Sagada Etag Festival is set to be celebrated in full blast from February 2 to 5. We will also be launching the Sagada tourism tagline aside from the institutional activities we used to have,” Mayor Felicito Dula said in a phone interview on Thursday.
Dula said tourism plays an important factor in their town's economy, with most of the residents engaged in the tourism industry.
Town officials earlier said about 70 percent of establishments in Sagada’s central business district are engaged in tourism, with around 1,300 residents working as tour guides and 300 inns and restaurants operating.
Around 100 souvenir shops are also employing locals.
Dula said the municipality is likely to earn an annual average revenue of PHP10 million from tourism once arrivals pick up.
"We have fully opened our borders without any requirement and we will have it (Etag festival) again this year for tourists to look forward to," he added.
“Etag” is the Igorot's traditional way to preserve the meat of a wild pig ready for the next rainy season.
Sagada’s etag is black due to the smoking process observed by the locals. A common way of cooking is with the charred chicken for the traditional “pinikpikan” aside from that flavored with soy sauce topped with onion bulb slices and onion leeks.
This year's festival carries the theme “napigsa ay Kultura ya pammati, wed-weday I-Gabay ya isikan di umili” means “Strong culture and faith is the foundation and progress of the community.”
It will again feature the etag as a delicacy in its agro-gastro fair and will include a civic parade and celebrations connected to the feast of the purification of the blessed virgin Mary and the presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A cultural day will also be held featuring traditional games and other cultural activities.
Dula also said a different Sagada will be presented with the opening of the “Southern Sagada nature treat, tour and adventure” allowing tourists to destinations that used to be exclusive to the community.
Southern Sagada has the Obwa Canyon waterfalls, Takkong traditional burial grounds, Balangagan cave, and the Pinumdeng skyline sunrise, among others.
Dula said with their town's closure to non-residents during the pandemic, the natural beauty of the attractions that they are famous for has also been rejuvenated.
“We are recovering slowly and we hope that the festival will further increase the tourist arrivals of our town so that the losses incurred by the residents will also be recouped,” he added. (PNA)