For the people of Sagada, the dap-ay is perhaps one of the most prominent embodiments of their abundant culture. These stone slabs formed into a round venue is where in-depth belief in Cordilleran culture and tradition is rekindled and passed on from generation to generation. Hence, although rustic and unrefined in its feature, this dwelling and meeting place plays a very important role in the everyday lives of Ysagadas.
During the olden days, the dap-ay primarily serves as a socio-political venue for the council of elders, and functions as the legislative and judiciary unit of the community. Within this circle, elders hold meetings and ceremonies to settle disputes between their people, discuss indigenous laws, and impart customary conducts.
In addition, since the dap-ay is usually set near an “Abong” or a dormitory for young boys, it also functions as the community’s schoolhouse prior to the arrival of Christian missionaries. Here, young men gather to listen to elders tell stories of the past and the present, and share their perception about the future. It is in the dap-ay that young boys are molded into responsible, wise men.
Similar to the stone slabs that constitutes its structure, the dap-ay is also a proof of Sagada’s strong sense of community. Aside from functioning as a governing institution, the dap-ay also serves as venue for festivity. Men, women and children gather here to hold rituals that celebrate prosperity and bountiful harvest.
Today, although the Dap-ay is still a culture-bound meeting place for the YSagadas, it is also where people from all walks of life share drinks, stories and warmth during a cold evening. At Rock Inn and Café, we encourage guests to visit Sagada not only for its picturesque beauty or rip-roaring adventures, but also to experience first-hand the culture, tradition and heritage of our people.