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
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