Sagada had always been in the bucket list of Donna Lampano, an independent PR, Communicator and Branding advocate.
“Ang tagal ko nang gustong puntahan ang Sagada; wala lang chance before. I had heard Sagada stories from friends; and it impressed me as a place with a lot of soul. Parang ‘nung trip ko sa Bali, Indonesia in Ubud, Kuta, and Denpasar, recently!” exclaimed Lampano. (I’d long wanted to go to Sagada, but never had a chance before).
The original plan was for her and her neighbor Stephanie Salazar to have a vacation.
“We booked our hotel (Martha’s Hearth) and bus in early July this year. We didn’t really know about the concert until the organizers announced the October concert on Facebook in August! Tamang-tama, swak sa dates na bi-nook namin for our planned vacation. Since, we were going to be there in Sagada on the concert dates, we decided to get tickets and watch, as well!” said Lampano.
They bought VIP tickets (“So we were really in front and near the stage and center!”) at Reyes BBQ branch in Greenbelt 1, Makati.
“Everything fell into place lang. Na-swerte lang talaga, perfect timing!” she added.
Nars Santos, an admin specialist of the post-production department of a broadcast network drove to the concert with Roland Cosalan, Jon Myl, Terry Ann Arevalo and journalist-friends Frank Cimatu and Malen Catajan.
And because Santos is also a breeder of Noblepine golden retrievers, he watched the concert with 4-year-old Philippine Champion Noblepine Agent Duncan, a.k.a. Sabrina, “the only champion golden retriever in Baguio City for 2016.”
Musician Ely Buendia, who performed with Apartel on Day 1, and solo on Day 2, drove all the way from Manila on his Harley with eight other bikers in seven bikes.
“There were a few hiccups along the way: [we] lost our convoy, got our backs wet from the mud, and got wet from the rain,” said Buendia’s companion, musician/ writer/director Audry Dionisio.
The concert started at around 5 pm on October 28 with Native Flavor, a Baguio-based local duo consisting of Ibalois Topyu Diaus and Gary Songay who both hail from Benguet.
Lampano says that she was able to watch all the featured performers except for Up Dharma Down (on both dates!) because they were the second to the last to perform, and Kat Agarrado with Sinosikat on Day 2 as it was past 12 midnight and “my lola self cannot stay up that late anymore! I left na by that time!”
“There were only 3 things on my mind when I decided to attend the concert in Sagada: watch Ely Buendia perform live; and determine if my dog Sabrina – could swim, and enjoy Sagada,” said Santos.
“I got to watch Ely B, finally. It didn’t matter that it rained. It didn’t matter that only a handful were left from the 3,000 present right after Gary V’s ‘extended’ performance. Ely’s voice is not extraordinary. But the songs he has written and his music are primal – they speak of your dreams and failures – and they are universal. And he has charisma. When the voice-over announcer said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Ely Buendia!’ the crowd went wild. At the truck where we sought shelter, I met two veterinarians who traveled 15 hours all the way from Manila just to see him perform. He is truly a rock star,” Santos said of Buendia.
“I had so much fun!” remarked Lampano. “… It was very successful and well-organized. But for a grand music event of that magnitude, the organizers deserve kudos. On the technical side, I’d say the sound system was very good; ang klaro ng tunog ng tugtugan! [Check out videos taken during the show for proof!]. The concert venue was jampacked on Day 2, as compared to Day 1. It also rained on Day 2, but the rain didn’t stop the concert and the concert attendees didn’t mind the rain, at all. In my case, I came ready with my own raincoat, dri-fit jacket and pants, layered clothing, shawls, trek shoes, cap, and waterproof bags. I hope they do this again next year!”
“Sagada is ❤. Nagawa ko lahat ng Sagada to-do, to-go, and to-eat!” remarked Lampano. “My next trip is in Siem Reap, Cambodia in January 2018.”
“I do not think that I was able to enjoy as Sagada much as I wanted to. The two days were not enough to bask and absorb the dreaminess of the place. So I will be back again,” Santos promised.
“The Sagada Art, Music and Peace Fair was beyond words. Despite the (setbacks) – the breathtaking view made up for it – twice over. We had the hardest time (traveling), but it was totally worth it. The event was a success and I do hope it continues for the coming years,” said Dionisio.
“Playing at the Sagada Art Music Peace Fair was an unforgettable experience,” Buendia piped in.
But Noel Cabangon concluded, “A Concert In The Clouds was perfect in Sagada. The music blended in harmony with place’s ambience and its natural beauty. (It’s) a very good kick-off for a very promising tradition.” – Rappler.com
Susan Claire Agbayani is a freelance writer who contributes to newspapers, magazine, and websites. She is finishing her thesis, an unauthorized biography of a Filipino band, for her MFA in Creative Writing at De La Salle University. She lives in Quezon City with her son Gide and their cats.