Tuesday, February 3, 2009

World's Smallest Fire Station in Sagada.

Perch high in the mountainous regions of the Philippines Cordilleras is reputedly the World’s Smallest Fire Station.

Locals will proudly tell you that despite the unfavorable size of Sagada Fire Station, the cabin-shaped station operated by the Bureau of Fire Protection is their only visible insurance to safeguard the idyllic hamlet against fire hazards.

A tall order nonetheless, for a tiny fire station and its entire fleet consisting of just a red Honda scrambler (which I believe has seen better days).
Missing at the station is also viable fire fighting paraphernalia except a radio transmitter inside.

Hence, you'd be forgiven if you doubt if the world’s smallest fire station could live up to its roles in an emergency.

Sagada is remarkable as a pristine highland retreat and as we have discovered in December 2008, has great potentials for a respite holiday destination with a magnificent mix of caving adventure and picturesque rice terraces add to it.

Nevertheless, a quick check in the internet revealed a chequered past that is anything but peaceful.

The quaint town was almost consumed by a devastating fire not too long ago and telltale signs are still found at the town square opposite the Police Station cum market.

Till today, the fiery episode remains a mystery but its outbreak is reminiscent of a more sinister and turbulent time.

Like many first time visitors, we were surprised to learn that curfew hours are enforced from dusk to dawn in this tranquil place. When we asked the town folks, the only answer we got is that the curfews are for our safety without revealing too much.

We soon learned that the entire Cordilleras were engulfed in a violent armed struggle.
It ended only recently in the late 80s when the locally supported - The New Peoples’ Army (NPA) - signed a peace accord with Manila to bring peace to the area.

Perhaps for this historical reason, it is best to assume that the non-descriptive looking fire station despite its imperfections may serve its role rather perfectly.
Without a doubt, the Sagada Fire Station is the best antidote for the war-weary people who long for some real peace and tranquillity.

No comments: