SAGADA: Reverend John Staunton Memorial Park: Why is Reverend Staunton so important to the people of Sagada?

August 21, 2014

SAGADA: Reverend John Staunton Memorial Park: 
Why is Reverend Staunton so important to the people of Sagada?

As you approach Sagada town, you see a small memorial park with a bronze bust of Reverend John Staunton welcoming you to Sagada. Later, you will find out that the town's main road is also named after this man, John Staunton. 

Who is Reverend John Staunton? Why is he given so much importance by the people of Sagada?

The plaque found below the bust shows
the brief background of Reverend Staunton's
life in Sagada and his many accomplishments.

The article written by Steven Rogers entitled "John Staunton and the Sagada Mission: An American Missionary in the Philippines Cordillera will show more details of Reverend Staunton's life in Sagada. The article can be found here

Below is an excerpt:

"The lasting legacy of Staunton's work has been spiritual and educational. The region served by the Sagada and Bontoc missions remains a staunchly Episcopalian enclave to this day, and produces most of the entirely Filipino clergy that make up the Philippine Episcopal Church. More important, the quality of the mission schools made it possible for Igorot youths to enter learned professions on an equal footing with their lowland cousins. This cadre of educated men and woman has been an invaluable help to the Igorots in their continuing -- and so far successful -- struggle to maintain control of the land and resources of their ancestral domain. Perhaps ironically, Sagada has seen a resurgence of interest in the original Igorot religious practices. Traditional rituals are held in the Sagada dap-ays to this day, attended by many graduates of Staunton's schools, including Episcopal clergymen, who set aside western dress and don the G-string, spear, and shield of their ancestors for the occasions. The Sagada mission changed the lives of the Igorots, but their cultural identity remains as strong as ever. This is a rare accomplishment for any missionary endeavor; that it was an accomplishment not intended by the mission's founder makes it perhaps even more remarkable."

This bust was unveiled in 2012 to commemorate the centennial
of St. Mary's school founded by Reverend Staunton