Sagada folks assail music, ‘panag-aapoy’ fest scams

>> Monday, October 24, 2016

Don’t buy online tickets, tourists told 

By Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province – This tourist destination is now being used by unscrupulous individuals and groups outside town to scam unsuspecting people of their hard-earned money. 
For one, Sagada netizens and music bands identified to sing during a supposed Sagada Music Festival on Oct. 22-23 say the supposed event is a scam. 
Manila-based music bands Ransom Collective and Sud in their Facebook Accounts  warned the public not to buy tickets for the fake event.
Ransom Collective and Sud are among 12 identified bands posted in the account name Sagada Music Festival in Facebook.
The poster which registered in Facebook Sept. 27 this year was taken down October 10 after netizens alerted the public not to buy tickets to a fraudulent  event not going to happen in dates identified.
The poster identified music bands from Manila including one called Sagada Rasta to sing during supposed event. The poster did not state any exact venue except the place Sagada, no time and no organizers named.
A regular ticket was sold at P5,000 and the early registrants at P2,500 with a round trip transportation, three days, two  nights hotel accommodation, 3-day breakfast and a festival poster.
A letter sent by a certain festival organizer named Jesse Red to one of the bands  said the supposed event is in cooperation with the local government unit of Sagada. LGU officials however denied this. 
In an email sent to one of the bands invited to play, so-called sponsoring organizers  White& McGill Events and Manila Music Productions  said the band shall receive P65,000 talent fee aside from free accommodation for  two nights and three days.
A page in the internet directed ticket buyers to deposit their payment to a certain Francis Dy in money remittance outlets Cebuana Luillier and LBC Express.
Following another scam, and uproar of Sagada netizens against travel and tour agencies selling “Panag-aapoy Festival,” the Vestry of the Church of St Mary the Virgin in their recent meeting said tour groups are prohibited entrance to the cemetery during “panag-aapoy.”
“Panag-aapoy” or “panagdedenet” is a traditional practice among the people of Sagada to light the graves of their departed with “sa-eng” (fatwood) every eve of All Saints Day at the Christian cemetery here.
The CSMV Vestry said group tours are prohibited to enter the cemetery during “panag-aapoy” after the 3 p.m. church service on Nov. 1.
Earlier, Sagada netizens hit travel agencies for selling ‘panag-aapoy’ as a festival and offering to the public their packaged rates as posted in Facebook prompting netizens  to tell travel agencies that “panag-aapoy” is not a festival.   
The vestry further instructed that visits to Echo Trails at the cemetery, Calvary Hill, Echo Valley and Underground River are suspended from 8 a.m. of Nov. 1 to 9 a.m. of Nov. 2.
The cemetery, Echo Valley, Calvary Hill, and Underground River are favorite attractions that tourists visit in town, located within the Mission Compound of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines.
With the conduct of “panag-aapoy,” drinking, gambling and jamming at the cemetery are prohibited.
Vehicles are not allowed to enter the cemetery on November 1 starting from the road below the Rectory. Parking is open at the left side of the Church, at the softball ground and Tangeb soccer field. Parking at the frontage of the Church is not allowed.

Netizen Philip del Carmen suggested that travel agencies that do not remove or change their “panag-aapoy festival” advertisements be banned. 


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