July 21, 2024

The recent Sagada Etag Festival was the most memorable and significant festival I ever attended.
I felt the strong support of my family and friends. I experienced the love of my parishioners, especially the Kiltepan Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC), Our Lady of Mount Carmel BEC, and Aguid BEC.
The Etag Marcsongs acoustic concert was not a fund-raising concert. It was intended to show our support to the local government unit of Sagada and the parishioners of St. Mary the Virgin Church. The concert was also intended to entertain and use the opportunity to advance our advocacies on peace and constructive information, education, and communication campaign to help suppress insurgencies; to open the minds of the youth that music is the best activity to hone one’s talents and boost self-confidence and not joining the Communist Party of the Philippines/New Peoples Army; to evangelize the crowd because the songs were carrying messages of faith and life; and to feature my original compositions.
Ricky Ducas is a registered nurse gifted with arts. He is a multi-talented gay. He shines in whatever task he was entrusted. He worked abroad for years and at one point of his life decided to serve his own people. Sir Ricky is currently working with a group in Baguio City catering to the millennials. He is a lively entertainer. He is a well-informed and well-trained speaker especially on mental health.
Sir Ricky, being a gay, is not ashamed of his status. He does not use his special sexual orientation to justify a mistake or abuse people. In short, he is an ethically-oriented gay.
Sir Ricky directed the flow of our recent Marcsongs concert, punctuating it with his natural wit and humor and pieces of important information on mental health. He took the opportunity to integrate the advocacy against depression and anxiety. His hash tag is “Choose Life.”
Sir Ricky once suffered from anxiety and depression. He was just grateful that he chose life than ending it. He surrounded himself with positive and proactive friends. He strengthened his spiritual life, particularly his connection with Jesus through healthy spiritual lifestyle, prayer as a habit. Hence, when he delivers his message in a symposium, over the radio, or interviews, he talks with credibility. He is a living testimony of the beauty of life and strong advocate of choosing life. Sir Ricky is a young professional worthy of emulation.
Ingrid Payaket is an Igorota talent. Aside from her God-given beauty and shape, she is gifted with stunningly beautiful and powerful voice. When she sings, people will not blink their eyes for fear of missing a single part of her song coupled with her actions. I call her “heavenly voice.” She powerfully sang her pieces to impact a lasting appreciation among the people during the Marcsongs concert.
Ms. Ingrid decided to practice her profession. She got back to her uniform to serve her fellowmen as a nurse. But she did not stop her singing ministry. She praises God through her music. She animates the people, especially the young, with her giftedness. As a great singer, she inspires souls, especially the drooping ones to get back to their senses and life.
Ms. Ingrid, however, is getting worried that the dates of the calendar are leaving her still single.
This beautiful lady has been a source of inspiration to many, especially to the young.
She will join the Marcsongs Lang-ay concert at the provincial plaza, April 3.
Gerry Fati-ig is another talented Igorot. He is currently employed as a traffic aid but he is doing more and serving beyond his job description. He is not after any merit or compensation for doing something. He does things with joy. I remember him for his selflessness, saying, “Let us share our talents to inspire the young people and to help them see their talents, improve, and be happy.”
Sir Gerry is a loving, faithful husband, and a very responsible father. I appreciate the selflessness of this man. Gifted with music, he organized youth groups to train on music until finally coming up with various bands. He spends his personal money to train them. He devotes his time and lends his instruments for their practices. He is resourceful and determined. He has dreams and he knows how to realize them.
Gemo Guyon is gifted with music. He can play almost all the string instruments including percussions. He is best remembered for his wind instrument, “salindo.”
I am grateful to Sir Gemo for his selflessness. I cannot remember him asking for an honorarium but I remember him saying, “So long as we can make people happy, that is enough for me.”
Sir Gemo is a musician with good baritone voice that perfectly sounds like the old folk songs. Despite his busy schedule, he still finds time to jam with us in music sessions and to share his talent, treasure, and time.
Sirs Gerry and Gemo are real friends I found in Sagada. They were the first musicians I met at the church and we tried to come up with a trio performance, dubbing our group as “Helivoice.”
Sir Jimmy Dagtay is an extraordinary man gifted with music. He is blind and yet he can find places to perform in. The first encounter was eight years ago in Bontoc, Mountain Province. He was a regular performer at Cable Café owned by Mr. Edgar Cue. I was attracted to how he played his acoustic guitar matched with his folk country voice. He sang perfect Jim Croce songs with stunning guitar plucking. After some bottles of beer, we became friends. Music truly is building friendship. For the past eight years, we did several concerts together and he never failed any of them.
Both Sir Jimmy’s eyes are blind, but he used his disability to challenge himself and to shine through his guitar prowess, which continues to stun his audience. He is one of my inspirations.
The Etag Marcsongs acoustic concert met its objectives, evidenced by the huge crowd contained up to the last song. The big audience was reserved in their reactions but I felt they were pondering deeply on the messages of our songs and my original song compositions.
The concert was realized with much success because of the strong support and inspiration of people. I thank Mayor James Payko Pooten for the opportunity to perform, significantly ending the festival.
I thank these few yet loving sponsors: Rod Balcita and family; Paul and Mariel Aglipay and family; Jesse Padchonga, Allan Finn, Grace Dontogan, and family; Engr. Alexander and Helen Castañeda and family; Caroline Castañeda, Gilbert, and Annie Castañeda; St. Benedict BEC Pactil; Stela Chumacog; Butchoy Bayle for the backdrop tarpaulin; Engr. Abigail Longboan and Arch. Astrelle Mangacheo for the lunch and dinner; and Delifer and Dublyn Langabao for the accommodation.
Reach me at [email protected] or at 0905-165-3669.