Monday, January 12, 2009

Unflattering Sagada on NatGeo TV

Any publicity can be good publicity.B ut not the kind that Sagada got on a recent episode of NatGeo's "Banged up Abroad" series.T he episode talks about the tale of Cullen Thomas, an American who made a side trip to the Philippines from a teaching stint in South Korea way back in 1994. While in Sagada, he bought hashish and mailed it to a friend in Korea so they can earn a tidy sum of money. Anticipating the prospect of making money without splitting the profits, he bought a second time and mailed it to himself, hoping to get it when he and his girlfriend get back to Seoul. He was caught while trying to retrieve the package in South Korea and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.I won't play naive to the goings-on in Sagada where even up to now, hashish can be bought quite openly. I just find it sad that the beauty of this place becomes just a backdrop to this misdemeanor which happened 15 years ago. As a regular visitor, I'd like to say that not everyone who visits the place comes for this kind of high. Just makes one think that of the many things that can be featured about the Philippines, something unflattering like this would just like come out of the woodwork. In any case, a repentant Cullen narrates his ordeal on the NatGeo episode; if you want to catch it, tune in to the NatGeo Adventure Channel and find out what times they air the "Banged up Abroad" series. For updates on Cullen, visit www.cullenthomas.com. Credits: image of NatGeo TV banner culled from the NatGeoTV website

19 comments:

the donG said...

kakalungkot nga naman. i hope that it won't promote trafficking since foreigners often visit sagada.

this is a sad note.

Lawstude said...

teka bro, ano ba yung hashish? is it in the same category as marijuana?

The Islander said...

saddening. hope the people of sagada becomes more vigilant. not only to preserve their rich culture but also of their heritage.

lagal[og] said...

dom, it's saddening nga of all the things that can be featured, eto pang lingering "drug haven" image.

oman, hashish is processed from the other parts of the cannabis plant, same source as marijuana. it's supposed to have the same effects as marijuana, only more potent.

jp, i do believe so. otherwise, the bad rap will outweigh the good.

paoruiz said...

i think the natives of the place also have to perform their responsibilities for the wellness of the place. If they think such commerce will not be healthy to the reputation of Sagada, then i think they should have second thoughts on continuing such. =)

my gulch said...

i've known before that in Asia, the Philippines is well-known for this kind of high (mas madali kaseng ipuslit ang hashish kaysa MJ, di rin siya masyadong maamoy kahit sindihan ng sigrilyo lalo na yung old stuff) but to have it on NaTGeo is really distrubing kase it will invite/attract more hashish users to go get some in Sagada. i have the same sentiments with you Oggie. Sagada is too beautiful.

Ferdz said...

Medyo na-alarm din ako when I heard about this feature on Nat Geo. Although I know about this, wag naman sana mabahiran ng gantong reputation ang Sagada.

bertN said...

First time I heard of this problem in Sagada and I imagined, elsewhere in the country. Drug was never an issue when I was in Pinas. I must really be out of touch being away for so long.

DCIntern said...

This show is called "locked up abroad" here in the states. Anyway, this is nothing compared to the episode about the Burnhams-Dos Palmas terrorist kidnapping.

Photo Cache said...

off topic--i just discovered your other fotoblog and i am really wowed by your talent. your photos are awesome.

Allan Barredo said...

may nag benta nga sa amin dati sa tapat lang ng police station

lagal[og] said...

rayts, thanks for sharing with us your thoughts.

pao, sana nga, kasi collective will yan. there are people saying they're planting cannabis kasi mas malaki ang kita kesa crops, tsk tsk

wulfriend, tama ka dyan, i wholeheartedly agree.

bert, me reputation na ang sagada on hashish and marijuana pero trumpeting it on such a scale is well, letting more of the world about this.

dcinternminsan talaga ang media, focusing on the bad instead of writing about the many good things, sigh...

photo cache, salamat nang maraming-marami.

bai, me kaibigan akong guide, balita ko top seller ng hashish. oh well...

SaGaDa-iGoRoT said...

Without a doubt, the drug problem is perhaps one of the bigger problems in Sagada. I think there is still taboo to discuss this in circles. I hope the locals really realize that it's more taboo not to resolve it - drugs affect individual lives, families, and the whole community.

Cheers from a,
SaGaDa-iGoRoT

lagal[og] said...

bai, that's true. i am also pained by the inclusion of sagada in the brodetts' testimony in the alabang boys case. tsk tsk. i agree with you, it's like taboo to discuss it very openly. on the other hand, some people take it like a joke when they say something about sagada kasi taken for granted na drug haven siya.

Jacob said...

I never know this story. Thanks for sharing.

reclaimed juvenalia said...

check out the lonely planet guide book on the philippines. in sagada one can buy "cheap dope". whatever they say it promotes criminality. malungkot talaga

lagal[og] said...

jacob and toffy, it saddens me to keep seeing sagada in this light.

benj said...

Just some insights

1) The world (especially the West) is becoming more accepting of the use of cannabis for recreational and medicinal purposes;

2) while "weed capital" might be an unfair characterization of Sagada, I don't think it damages the reputation of Sagada to people who WANT to visit the place. I actually think it even enhances the mystique of the town;

3) lastly, we must inform people of the inherent risks of that sort of behavior and how it can get them into trouble medically or legally.

Benj
http://visitsagada.com

Anonymous said...

i've seen this episode in nat geo..i think the title of the series is Locked up abroad, i've seen cullen stories and i've been to sagada quiet a few times together w/ my sister and her family..im so sadden that a beautiful place like sagada will be known in the world as a hashish capital of the Phil..Sagada is so beautiful and very peacefull place

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