MY two favorite stories on the news website I work for do not feature big names, and do not have any bearing on the big picture. In terms of national importance, they will not even merit a mention on a news crawler.
One story deals with the sleepy mountain town of Sagada and how people are slapping ‘Sagada’ on products to make them more marketable. Some of these Sagada-branded products don’t come from their town, or from this country.
[Sagada ‘brand manager’ Richard] Abellon also lamented that other traders use the brand to sell more. In the long term, it destroys the industry as these products are found not to suit standards, especially by those familiar with the various tastes of coffee and might find themselves disappointed, he said.
The “Sagada coffee” sold in the market, is not the Sagada coffee natives of the town actually drink.Through the funding of the Philippine Coffee Council, 19 barangays in Sagada have ventured into the propagation of coffee. However, harvest will be three years from now, Abellon clarified.
The other story is on what may be the event of the decade for an islet off Cebu: the day the governor brought electricity to their remote community.
Niari gyud ko bisa nagsungkod ko aron lang ko makakita niya (I came here, even if I have to use a cane, just to see her),” said 72-year-old farmer Lourdes Aguisanda-Batad.
“Way gobernador nga naka-ari sukad. Siya ra (No other governor has ever visited us before),” said public school teacher Roque Tinga, 56. Annalou Torrefiel, another teacher, agreed.
It’s easy to dismiss these as small-town problems and petty milestones. After all, they pale against multi-million-peso corruption scandals and the RH bill. But that only holds true for people not living in Sagada, or off the coast of Cebu. Specifically, that only holds true for a handful of people living in Manila.
Ten years from now, the RH bill will have been passed (or not), the multi-million-peso scandal will have been replaced by a corruption scam even more audacious. But the people in Bantayan island, who only got connected to the power grid this year, will remember the day the governor came. The people of Sagada will be richer (or not) because they were able to protect their brand (or not).
These people and their problems. Shouldn’t they be what journalism is about too?
[Edit: changed ‘newspaper’ to the more apt ‘news website’]