I am an Igorot, a Filipino, an earthling. My ethnicity may have made me different, but so does yours and the others out there. Our disparities may be glaring at times, however, if we look through our heart, we will notice our commonality as human beings.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Igorots are Not Filipinos...

I was so disheartened to see a profile in a social networking site today using the passe statement of Carlos P. Romulo to jump start the creator's preference of being called Igorot rather than Filipino.

As I understand, Mr. Romulo issued the infamous statement, "Igorots are not Filipinos", as counteraction to the portrayal of American media of Filipinos as natives and backward people. (I think he did a very bad job on this one. Click here to read more about Carlos P. Romulo's statement.)

What I don't understand is why some fellow Igorots, after what all our ascendants have done to trample Carlos P. Romulo's bigotry, are now patronizing and giving justice to the man's claim. Yes, he was right in saying that originally, Filipino refers to Spaniards born in the Philippines and indios who become subjects of the King but not citizens of Spain. Nevertheless, he was still very wrong because the term "Filipino" when he wrote the book was defined as to what we mean it today - citizens of the Philippines. So why would some Igorots ever think that they are not Filipinos?

To those who think Igorot are not Filipinos, consider these:
  1. Fact remains that Carlos P. Romulo issued that statement but never in his capacity as a Philippine government official. Ergo, it's his opinion and his alone.
  2. Fact remains that Filipino is the nationality of people born in the Philippines and/or of Filipino descents. Igorots, Ilocanos, Pangasinenses, Kapampangan, Visayan, Hiligaynons, Bicolanos, Tagalog and the likes are just cultural divisions of this nationality.
  3. Fact remains that the mountain ranges of the Cordillera is in the Philippines. Igorots' forefathers were born in the Philippines too. Therefore, Cordillerans or Igorots are Filipinos. That's logic. Any contradiction is illogical.
It is a mistake to take the mistake of others to make another mistake. As I have sited in some of my posts, my niece and me also suffered some discrimination from fellow Filipinos. Nevertheless, I will never make those as reasons to disown my nationality. For which Filipino tribe/regional group is never discriminated by other Filipino groups? Visayans are often portrayed as house maids. Bicolanas are often regarded as cabaret workers. Tagalogs are sometimes called Tangalogs. Muslims from Mindanao are often branded as Abu Sayyafs. But should such stupid statements by ignorant people should be made as an excuse for anyone or any group to ignore the facts and abhor being called Filipino?

After reading the posts in the above mentioned profile, it made me wonder what the creator of the profile is trying to achieve. I tried hard to be as objective as possible when analyzing it but in the end, the impression that prevailed was that, it is divisive and biased (in other Filipino term, masyadong makasarili at makitid ang mga pananaw). Not only that the site profile is calling for the seclusion of the Igorot people, some statements there are coming out with the "I'm an Igorot thus I'm better than you" attitude. If it aims to promote the Igorot culture, it is achieving the opposite. If it is to show pride of being an Igorot, it speaks more of arrogance.

Claiming to be an Igorot but not a Filipino does not make one "Igoroter" (more Igorot). All the more, such claim does not speaks well of the Igorot community as a whole. (We can not even pass Cordillera's autonomy, how much more of establishing another nationality?) Rather than separating ourselves, let us instead know what and where we really are and what we can contribute as Igorots for the betterment not just of our community but for the country and to the whole world.

7 comments:

Diego K. Guerrero said...

Agbiag iti Kaigorotan! The Igorot nation resisted colonial power Spain and their local puppets. Like the Native Americans who fiercely fought for their Nation’s lands and sovereignty. The Igorots built historic monuments in the Cordllerras like rice terraces of their indigenous engineering skills. The Igorots are courageous and self-reliant people who resisted foreign and local invaders. Igorot and Moro nationalism is embed in history hundred years before the 1896 Katipuan Revolution, the birth of Filipino nationalism. Be proud of your roots as an Igorot.

Eichs said...

Thanks for citing those info so others will also know. But if those are the reasons the Igorots and the Moros in Mindanao should resist being called Filipinos, I don't support it. Indeed, other Filipino groups have been colonized but we should not forget how some of them valiantly fought for freedom. It does not mean that since they are subjugated, they are more or less Filipino, right?
I am proud of being an Igorot. And as much as I loved being referred to as Igorot, that does not mean I disavow my "Filipinoness", unless, the Cordillerans will go for sovereignty which I don't think will happen in our lifetime.

Igorota said...

I am an Igorot and I am not proud of my people. Reasons: generally dugyot din ang mga Igorot. We spit everywhere not considering the consequences. We treat strangers like we have not seen a human being before.
We are so sensitive of bad things that other people say about us when in fact, everything they say is true. We delve on the negative aspects instead of accepting them as a challenge and improve our etiquette.
Filipinos are literally known to be detailed in hygiene practices. If Igorots are Filipinos, then they should be an example. So figuratively, Igorots are not Filipinos. We are still known to be animals living in the ancient world.

Eichs said...

@Igorota
I am not getting where you are coming from. Please allow me to dissect your comment.
I am an Igorot and I am not proud of my people. Reasons: generally dugyot din ang mga Igorot. We spit everywhere not considering the consequences.
Looks like you don't know your culture. Spitting is an effect of "bua" and "mama". And if you have been to the mountains, the grounds are of soil and grasses. For sure, others have to adjust for what other culture thinks as "cultured manners" but this is not just for the Igorots. I have friends from other regions and they do spit anywhere.
As for the Igorots as "dugyots". Whoa! That's unfair generalization.

We treat strangers like we have not seen a human being before.
This is normal reaction for those who seldom see other races, not exclusively Igorot nor Filipino trait.

We are so sensitive of bad things that other people say about us when in fact, everything they say is true.
Check your facts. When they say Igorots have tails, is that true? When they say Igorots are dark-skinned, is that generally correct? How about when they allude that Igorots are not human beings?

We delve on the negative aspects instead of accepting them as a challenge and improve our etiquette.
Unfortunately, the ethnic slurs thrown to Igorots in general have nothing to do with etiquette. And mind you, etiquette is not universal. What is socially acceptable to others may be the opposite to some.

Filipinos are literally known to be detailed in hygiene practices. If Igorots are Filipinos, then they should be an example. So figuratively, Igorots are not Filipinos.
So far, all the Igorots I know, including me and my family, do care about hygiene. Actually, one Ilocano acquaintance once told me that you will know an Igorot by the color of their pots and kettles. This is not true for all Igorots but many do keep their pots and kettles soot less even if they are using woods for cooking.

We are still known to be animals living in the ancient world.
This is the view of ignorant and stupid people, and maybe, it is true for Igorots like you (if indeed you are an Igorota, and I honestly believe you are not) who are ashamed of their race and culture.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but comment on what this Igorota wrote. If you are really an igorota which I doubt..I would say you go back to your mothers womb ...be conceived and be born again..maybe it my change your view on what/who is an Igorot..How dare you say they are dugyot..known to be animals...how ignorant are you...I would be very glad to envite you to visit my town and see for yourself who we really are as igorots..where in the world did you get those ideas..I DON'T THINK YOU ARE AN IGOROTA.and if in case are "MAY KABUNYAN FORGIVE YOU FOR YOU KNOW NOT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING."

jez said...

ay unay metten daytoy nga igorota nga nagcomento,sika nga mismo ibain mi nga apay nga naitao ka pay laeng,ayna pakawanen dakami ti Dios,mabalin la koma nga maam amo da ka ta ipalawag ko nalaing nu asinu ti igorot.TI PUDNO NGA IGOROT KET ISU TAY ADA PANANGISAKIT TI NAGTAUDAN NA,NU PAY ADDA DAGITA MAKITAM NGA NARUGIT, DAGITA TI DUTYM NGA MANGISURO TA ISU DA KET KATRIBUM

yonol said...

let us stop looking at these nagative things about igorots,we are who we are today because of these,just because our parents are dugyut and etc, does not mean to say we are,at least they gave us education to enable us to be better than them let us not disappoint them and go forward,use the knowledge that we have accumulated and teach our progenies differently,MABIAG TAKO AY KAIGOROTAN STAND UP AND SHOW WHO WE ARE TODAY NOT YESTERDAY.