Birdcatching in Sagada and Other Poems by Frank Cimatu

Birdcatching in Sagada and Other Poems (2021) is a poetry collection by the Baguio City-based poet/journalist Frank Cimatu. The collection was published by the University of the Philippines Press. It's part of the Philippine Writers Series.

"At the onset of the amihan or the northerly winds, Sagada boys used to practice ikik or birdcatching on top of Mt. Ampacao and other mountains. They would hold high nets and torches to catch the migratory birds riding on the Siberian winds. Sagada would later outlaw ikik when the avian flu became a pandemic, but some residents still practice it.

Poet-journalist Franklin Cimatu not only wrote a poem about ikik but also used it as a motif for this first collection of poems in English. He caught the poems that flew from the North: poems about his parents, the Marcoses, Cordilleran revolutionaries, Hawaiian sacadas from Candon, and artist-friends from Baguio.

The poems follow his flight path in journalism from the early 1990s up to the 2010s. His subjects are mostly the people he covered. He scoured his old notebooks, newspaper clippings of typhoons, journals of old European explorers and the New York Times on the day he was born. This book is also a very personal collection. Many of these poems are dedicated to his friends and are eulogies to some of them. Add to this the patented play of words and love for the sestina, canzone, and sonnetina.

Some of the poems were part of collections that won the Palanca Awards and the Procyon Contest for Young Filipinos. Some were published by the Philippines Free Press, Sunday Inquirer Magazine, and the Likhaan series."

Critical Response:
Alfred A. Yuson of the Philippine Star writes, "The veteran journalist, NGO worker and “Baguio boy” has a remarkable number of terrific poems in this second poetry collection, with most having been written decades ago (as early as 1989). Highly imagistic, cinematic, eclectic, and adventurous as terraced narratives, Cimatu’s poems tweak and celebrate Cordillera lore and personal mythology. "