By ALRTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — It is continuing what their ancestors had started as highland – lowland trade relations prior to colonization, where the highlanders trade their forest products with the salt and woven products of lowland Ilocos. And this time, they just recently strengthened their continuing past relationships, with concrete bilateral trade programs where both towns will be the beneficiary.
Recently, the local government of Sagada, Mountain Province and Tagudin, Ilocos Sur strengthened their sisterhood with focus on trade relations. Here, the local temperate vegetable products of Sagada will regularly find its way to the Tagudin market, while the latter’s products, like fish, will find its way regularly to the Sagada market.
Located in the cooler area of Mountain Province, Sagada farmers produced temperate vegetables like cabbage, potato, beans and large red tomatoes. While Tagudin, located in the coastal areas of Ilocos Sur, produce bangus (milk fish) to compliment their fishermen’s catch at the China Sea and the farmers’ produced lowland vegetables, notable in their local dishes, like pinakbet.
And to strengthen their ties, 37 delegates from Sagada, led by its Mayor Eduardo Latawan Jr., attended the Tagudin town fiesta last week. “We further strengthened the sisterhood ties, where the trade will be among its realistic output,” Latawan explained.
He added that a “bagsakan center” was identified to be at the Bitalag, Tagudin where the Sagada products will be centralized then retailed to consumers there. He also said that the same is to happen for their counterpart’s products in their town.
Latawan traced that they established their sisterhood under Tagudin Mayor, Atty. Jose V. Bonuan, last January this year.
Shorter route via Aluling Bridge
This writer learned that the opening of the Aluling Bridge in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur take the trip from Tagudin to Sagada for three to four hours.
“The shorter route with just hours would make the products from both sides still fresh while reaching their destinations,” explained Robert Pangod, tourism officer of Sagada.
When the bridge was not done, lowland products, like bangus, are bought by traders from Baguio City which is six hours by bus to Sagada.
Still from reliable sources, there is a possibility that Rep. Eric Singson would donate a refrigerated van to transport Tagudin products to Sagada.
A potential for the economy of both towns would be the bilateral promotions of their tourist spots. Tagudin has its natural coastal destinations while Sagada is proud of its natural caves and luscious mountains.
Along the way, the historic Tirad Pass can be seen clearly while the Bessang Pass visits compliment the visitors’ patriotism, Pangod said referring to these places in the Ilocos Sur area.
In Tadian, Mountain Province, a neighboring town of Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, a visitor can view the Mt. Mogao and rolling hills laced with unending rice fields.
Pangod admitted that the opening of the Aluling Bridge at Cervantes paved the shorter route and travel time for visitors from the Ilocos Sur, like Tagudin and Vigan, to visit Mountain Province.
“But enjoyable too is the weather in the mountains,” he added. # nordis.net