Friday, October 6, 2017

The Igorots and the Untold Stories

Please give due credit to the author. Do not copy-paste.
By: Felisa Daskeo

Most Filipinos probably do not know that a huge number of Igorots are scattered around the world. There’s a top notch lawyer out there, an engineer, an accountant, a business man, a doctor, a police general, but they don’t carry with them tags or banners to identify themselves as Igorots.

That said, I will now begin to bring you around my humble hometown nestled between tall mountains; where lawyers, engineers, accountants, high ranking policemen, doctors, teachers, nurses, midwives, abound nowadays.

Tadian, Mt. Province is a home to more or less 5000 residents. Of course, they are Igorots, except for a very few that you could count with your fingers who are from other regions in the Philippines, mostly because they have married an Igorot. 

In the year 1960s, I could still vividly remember how our elderly would exclaim happily every time an airplane was heard overhead, “Oh, that’s Victor flying by.” Because at that time, there was already a pilot from Tadian, Mt. Province. I can’t remember the name of the pilot. I was still a very young girl then.  Oh, thanks goodness, someone, a kind kailyan (town mate), shared the name of our first pilot in Tadian. He was the late Victor C. Astudillo.

Now that it is 2022 and I still hear and read expletives hurled against the Igorots, aggravated with descriptions like pigs, pangit, dogyut(untidy), and ignoramus, my thoughts travel back in the 1960s when we already have a pilot in our hometown.

Let's take a break first so I can share this FB post I recently read in Facebook. 

Yeah, that maybe taken just as a joke but there is truth in those questions. Perhaps you don’t believe it but the man you see resembling a beggar maybe the owner of a multi-million-peso vegetable garden somewhere in the Cordillera Region; who supplies the vegetables you eat; who drives a Montero around, who lives in a mansion but who wears no ties, no well-pressed slacks and polo shirt except for worn-out jeans, cowboy boots and a leather jacket.

If you have still time to read, click and read this anecdote of an Igorot man and see what I mean.

Back to where I started, some people think that Igorots are still way behind modern civilization. To tell you the truth, several Igorots are serving many Filipino people. There are judges out there, police superintendents-even generals, lawyers, accountants, doctors, midwives, engineers and many more who are working their butts off for the Filipino people.

In Tadian, Mt. Province, my hometown, every parent is striving hard to send the children to school. Education is necessary and getting a diploma in college is every child’s dream. 

The house below that is as big as 4 townhouses combined is where a CPA-Lawyer resides. Not content to be an accountant and a business owner, she juggled her time between her job, taking care of her thriving business and going to her law class during weekends. She successfully passed the bar exams and she’s now a certified lawyer and an accountant. Her accomplishment does not rest in her personal achievements alone because her 3 children are themselves achievers in their schools. They are the top students in their classrooms.

Walk a little further and you can find a humble dwelling that produced 7 smart children who are also achievers in their own field of education. The family has two judges, a nurse, a teacher, a police superintendent, a forester, and a businessman. They have gone a long way in their professions and are all on top of their careers. A few years ago, one of the members of the family was one of the top five among the graduates of PNPA (Philippine National Police Academy). There are more achievers in the family as the family grows. The recent bar exam has added another 2 lawyers in the family.

These are only a few of the achievers in my hometown. This post could become a book if I mention everybody here and tell his or her story one by one. In the neighboring towns, there are countless achievers too. They are either working in the country or else deployed in other countries. And these are all Igorots who are often discriminated in their own country.

Igorots are hard-working people and dedicated to their jobs. That’s one thing that an Igorot man or woman possesses and there is no doubt about that. What makes them shine even more is that they are frugal and know the importance of money.

Igorots are one of the people you could trust. Just look at the taxi drivers in Baguio City who are considered the most trusted taxi drivers in the Philippines. If you hire a taxi in Baguio City, there's no need to worry how much you are going to pay because they charge fairly according to the regular rate and they don't ask for more. If you leave some valuables inside the taxi, you can rest assured that your money, cellphone or other valuables will be given back to you

It is worth noting that Igorots come in many colors and shapes just like other Filipinos. You can see them anywhere, from the farm to the corporate world, politics, showbiz, furthermore, they can be anywhere, from the freezing cold Canada to the blazing hot desert in the Middle East and they are all working hard just like many other Filipinos.

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