Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A True Proud Filipino?

On September 12th, a person calling him/herself “A True Proud Filipino” commented on my blog titled, “Coming – My First Novel, “Igorotak: The Warrior Within.”  It made my blood boil for about an hour, but I settled down and accepted it as a challenge to continue writing.  Shortly thereafter, I began receiving support and encouragement from friends and relatives via Facebook, email and the blog comments. 
I almost deleted the comment, but decided to leave it for people to see how ridiculous “this person’s” (as I will refer to him hereon) comments are.  I also enabled the comment managing tool on the blog so that all comments have to be approved before they are posted to control the possibility of this turning into a bashing contest.   I don’t want my blog fueling any animosity that exists between Filipinos.  If anything, I want it to bring understanding and unity.  Well, I was pleased to see the positive responses that contested this person’s comment.  I approved most of them, except for a few that used profanity.
I was a bit surprised though at the ten comments supporting this person, and the stupidity they contained.  I decided to allow the comments of milder stupidity to appear only to show the sad reality that exists between Filipinos.  One comment, however, caught my attention.
The comment is from a J.Rios.  I was able to read it with an open mind because it was done in a thoughtful and tactical manner.  Rather than just allowing it to post under the rest of the comments, I am dedicating this blog to this particular comment.  To read his comment:  Derogative Comment by "A True Proud Filipino"
Dear Mr. Rios,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the manner they are shared.  Though I don’t agree with most of it; they are sincere nonetheless, and deserving of dialogue.  So, I hope we could have some good dialogue without the nasty and immature attacks that I have read thus far.
To begin, this whole discrimination thing between Igorots and Filipinos is relatively new to me.   Unlike you, I was raised almost my entire life here in America.  The grammar and high schools that I attended were predominately white (99%).  Most of my friends were white Americans.  I had very little interaction with other non-Igorot Filipinos or Filipinos for that matter.  Our close family friends were Igorot and so I thought all Filipinos were Igorot.
In high school, I had a very good friend named Dan Ybanez.  He was like my older brother.  We called each other “blood” or “cuz.”  I even lived with his family for a year while my parents had to tend to business in another state.  His family is from Cebu, but I had no idea we were different.  “We” both saw each other as Filipino. 
When I was in the U.S. Marine Corps, I remember going to different bases out of town and meeting other Filipinos.  I would meet a Filipino and we instantly became friends as if we were related or knew each other for a long time.  Since all of the Pinoy I mentioned were American-Filipino, they never bothered to ask if I was Igorot and I never felt the need to mention it.  It wasn’t until my adult life that I began learning about the ignorance that exists between “some” Igorots and “some” non-Igorot Filipinos. 
When I first returned back home to the Mountain Province in 1997, I remembered my relatives telling me stories of how “lowlanders” have misconceived notions and stereotypes about Igorots.  At the time, I was too engrossed in the fun I was having that I paid little attention to any topic of discrimination.  After that trip, I began to really take interest in my Igorot heritage and read what I could to learn more. 
As years went by, small glimpses and flashbacks from my childhood years in America proved as evidence that my parents saw themselves as “different” from other Filipinos.  I recall them referring to us as “we” and non-Igorots as “they.”  It was never in a derogative manner, but simply a way of identifying themselves amongst the Filipino community.  I recalled how they spoke “our” language (Kankanaey) at home and with close friends, and “their” language (Tagalog) with every other Filipino.  Their stories of how they grew up painted a portrait in my mind of a simpler, yet happier life than other Filipinos, whom they sort of perceived as being the type to show off their possessions, titles, education and so forth.   I somehow also got the impression that “we” aren’t impressed with someone simply because they were doctors or lawyers.
Strangely enough, I experienced a recent event that really made such differences clear to me.  I went to watch a comedy show featuring the Filipino comedian, Rex Navarette.  I heard some of his material before on youtube and was sure I would have a great time, especially since we are both American-Filipinos.  I was certain I could relate to his humor.  The fundraising show was a success with a full house of close to 1,000 people.  The whole theatre was laughing and cracking up at his jokes, except for me (as it seemed).
I felt like I was listening to George Lopez.  The material was somewhat funny, but only because of my imagination.  Most of the time, I sat there smiling when everyone laughed so hard because I didn’t relate with many of his jokes.  Things like Filipino spaghetti (one of his big jokes) or how Filipinos acted at Filipino funerals didn’t relate to me at all.  In fact, the first time I ate "Filipino spaghetti" was in high school at one of Dan Ybanez’ family parties.  As for funerals, what he described seemed like a few of the Mexican funerals I attended in the past, not the Filipino (Igorot) funerals of family friends and relatives.  I realize he's a comedian and that I shouldn't look to deep into his act, but I couldn't help but realize again the differences between Igorots and non-Igorot Filipinos.  In short, I sat there thinking, “Wow, I really am different.  Wow, Igorots really are different.”
Now that I have more Igorot friends, I learn more and more about the clear cultural differences that exist between us Igorots and other Filipinos.  One reason why I decided to focus on your comment is because I heard the same story that you described about how parents in Manila instill fear of Igorots in their children.  I heard this from a good friend who admitted being told such things by his parents as a child in Manila.  I know his parents, and they are some of the best people I know.  I can't image them doing such a thing today, but something in them led them to their wrong beliefs of Igorots back then.  This is why I believe there is some truth in what you say regarding the realism of discrimmination.
Discrimination is everywhere in every culture.  I won't argue that it doesn't exist within Filipinos because I experience mild versions of it even today.  For example, I still get looks from non-Igorot Filipinos when I tell them I’m Igorot.  Their eyes or facial expressions accompanied with a, "Oh, really, but you don't look Igorot" sentiment always cracks me up inside.  I’m still spoken to in Tagalog even after I tell people I don’t speak Tagalog.  On a few occasions, after telling them I'm Igorot, they really lay down the Tagalog as if to make me feel left out, envious or something.  I got tired of this and now I just say, "Ay sica san menkali Tagalog," and I just smile at their surprised reaction after I put them in my shoes.  I will agrue though, that this discrimmination you mention is NOT as widespread as you portray it to be.  I know alot more good non-discrimminating Pinoy than I do bad.

You’re probably right about people not admitting it because of our social climate of political correctness.  Even though we have a black President, I still see how some white Americans look or act negatively around black American and how Mexicans are looked down upon by many.    We could get into a long drawn out debate supporting our beliefs and convictions, but it still won’t change the fact that Igorots and other Filipinos are very different in many ways.    
I learned growing up here in America that it’s not what happens to us that determine our outcome, but how we react to these things that are most important.  I firmly believe that the most important thing for Igorots and non-Igorot Filipinos is to try understanding each other and embrace our differences in a positive way without losing our sense of who we are. 
One of my best of friends, Joe O., is not Igorot.  He is a Chicago south-side raised Tagalog Filipino.  We go back some twenty years.  I don’t see him as a Filipino, though he is.  I see him as a brotha (from another motha).  Yet, I still know who I am and he know who he is.  I hope everyone reading this can see our fellow Filipinos (Igorot, Tagalog, Cebuano, Visayan, Moro and so forth)in the same light: a light of unity.
I purposely did not comment on your other topics (Younger generation Igorots, loss of Igorot pride, language, etc)  because I don’t know how to comment on them since I was raised here in America.  I hope others can join in this “dialogue” to shed some more light on these things.  Thanks again J.Rios, sir.


  1. I received this via email:

    Annatte wrote on 9/15/10 10:17pm :

    Dear Mr. Delson,
    I tried commenting on you site but it is not allowing me to post for some reason. After typing in the security code, everything reloads except for my comment. So I am sending you this so I don't have to retype everything again the third time.

    I was going to post this on your Melting Pot of Ethnicity blog, but find my comments more appropriate for this topic. I am an Igorot married to an American in the Navy. Tdaoey has some interesting points that are sad but true. My two daughters speak Tagalog (50%) and English. I wish I had taught them my native dialect or Ilocano at the very least, but they would have hardly any opportunity to converse with people except for me since we are around mostly Americans all the time and all my Filipino friends are lowlanders who speak Tagalog or Visayan. In the eight years I have been married I have only come across a handful of Igorots. I have been thinking about my heritage often ever since I started reading your blog. I guess I am one of those people TDaoey talks about because I left my hometown Kalinga in my late teens to chase after a life of less simplicity and poverty. I wanted the American Dream like so many others. When I met my husband I fell in love with him because he is so loving, but I also fell in love with the thought of leaving a poor dead end life to finally experience America. I love it here in America but I also miss the simple life. I miss the food, canaos parties, language, an being an Igorot among Igorots. I hope and pray others like me find a way to keep our heritage alive. Regards and best wishes on your endevors. (signed) Annette "Igorota" Richards "

  2. Apparently there has been a gliche with the comment feature of this blog. After you enter the "word verification" information, the page will reload and you should see "Your comment will be visible after approval." IF NOT, send me your comments via email at delsons@sbcglobal.net (shown on my profile). I just finished testing it, and it seems to work just fine now.

    Sorry Analyn, Annatte, TDaoey, and anyone else for any inconvenience. . .

  3. Thank you Rexcrisanto for posting my earlier comment. And to TDaoey, sorry for mistaking you for Mr. Rios. I was reading your comment at the same time as the "untrue" Filipino" comment just before I wrote mine and must have confused names.

  4. I am copying this comment by "Analyn" that was left on the original blog that Mr. Rios commented. It reads:

    "In response to JRios on the Igorot youth, I am a younger generation Igorot and as you observed, 1.) I am fluent in Tagalog/Filipino (Filipino is the politically-correct term because "Filipino"is not only Tagalog but has in the years used/borrowed other languages from other ethno-linguistic groups) 2.) I dressed like the rest of us - Filipinos - western clothing. First, Let me point out though that our being fluent in Filipino is the result of the usage of the language as a medium of instruction in schools nationwide. We have Filipino as a subject from elementary to university. We learned our "balarila"and "panitikan." Thus, it is not really because we look up to you and we wanted to be like you that we use the language. Second, we dress up like the rest of the majority Filipino. Well, culture is ever-changing and the Igorot culture is not exempt. We learn to dress just like the rest of the other people because we learn to adopt/adapt to the changing times. This is the result of commerce and common sense and again, not because we wanted to look like you. If you go to Baguio or anywhere else in the Cordillera provinces, you'll notice that Igorots have different style of dressing which to the lowlanders would claim " baduy" but we Igorots would also see your style as "maarte". On the context of the younger Igorots you've meet who doesn't ever want to wear a loincloth or even aknowledge their Igorot heritage, that's a personal decision/choice. Let me tell you though, that a lot of us younger Igorots and even those who are younger than I am are thrilled on the idea of wearing our traditional clothing on special occassions. We are keen on learning how to play the gongs, dance our native dances, sing our own songs. And as to your comments about parents not teaching their native language, I think this does not only hold true to the Igorot people but to all general Filipinos as well. There are a lot of Filipino kids here in Canada (first-geneations) who cannot speak Tagalog/Filipino because their parents did not taught them so. In the Philippines, a lot of Filipinos purposely "train" their kids to speak English at home oftentimes, resulting in the so-called Tagalog slang or "cono." Lastly, I've been fortunate to have meet a lot of my generation in student conferences in my university days and let me tell you that we are not as biased as those who came before us. We look at each other as equally Filipino - and it doesn't matter if you are an Igorot, Tagalog, or Mindanaoan. We actually celebrate the fact that we are different from each other. You know, if we are all the same in that little island of ours, then, there's not much excitement for all of us to start with. As to your claim that the world only sees your kind as "the Filipinos" well...so?? "

    Thanks Analyn for commenting.

  5. Awesome blog going on here! I see my friend's comment wasn't posted. I told him not to swear so much in it :)

    Analyn, you seem pretty cool and I learned something new about why Tagalog is so popular. This JRios guy needs to take notes, after all, he was raised in America and probably only understands what he hears from others in his circle. If I were Rosetta Stone company, I would use Tagalog too to represent the Philippines. To add to this topic, if you go to Hawaii, you won't hear much Tagalog. Most of the Pinoy speak Ilocano (yeah!). I remember in Maui when my family went to a restaurant with our Tagalog friends and my dad's friend couldn't stand it because Ilocano was the language there. He would ask the waiter something and the waiter replied with a "wen manong" even when he spoke to him in Tagalog. I guess this is how some Igorots must feel when they are in the presence of Tagalog speaking people. I don't know. Just saying . . .

  6. Dear Mr. Delson,

    I have been reading your blog and it's been so interesting knowing that a lot of our fellow Igorots are now reading it. Even though I haven't read Mr. Rios's comments on your blog, I know what it feels like to be discriminated from a fellow non-Igorot Filipinos. I just had one experience back in Arizona when I met a Filipina introduced by a friend from the Visayas. She asked me where I came from and my friend told her that I am from Baguio City. As soon as she said that, I also proudly told her that I'm an Igorot and the first thing she said was, "Igorot ka"? I said yes and she asked me a lot of things about how an Igorot looks like and though my heart was boiling with anger about those questions, I still was calm in answering her. She was referring the Igorots to be like the Aetas,in the Pinatubo province, as short and with curly hair just like the negritos. I told her that we, Igorots, are different in so many ways, though we're still Filipinos. If I remember well, I was in High School when a high official from the Philippine Government, wrote in his book that "Igorots are not Filipinos". A lot of Filipino Igorots reacted to his book and he apologized but the damage was already done and I think that's one reason why until now, some lowlanders still tell their children about how an Igorot looks like, etc, because of what they've read before. Well, I would say that some non-Igorot Filipinos are still "cultural Ignoramus" for that matter. But I'm hoping that more and more non-Igorot filpinos come to understand and be knowledgeable of the Igorots' culture, that we are of the same skin and God created us equal! I'm proud to be a FULL BLOODED IGOROT. More power to your article, Mr. Delson.

  7. Rexcrisanto, about Rex Navaratte, dude I cracked up when I saw him & Joey Guila on separate occassions, but my friend who is FBI said the same things after we left the show. My other Tagalog friends spent the whole ride back explaining things to him. He got the jokes in the first place, but they just didn't push his laughing buttons like the rest of us (and he is usually the funniest of my friends). Like I said earlier, we need an Igorot Crocodile Dundee, but in the comedy scene too!

  8. Tim (TDaoey), dude, I knew you were going to blog my experience here! To clarify my reaction to Navarette, I just don't like how he tries to put all pinoys in the same stereotype. But that's just me (a minority amongst the majority). And h.e.-double-hockey-sticks, we need an Igorot to tell pinikpikan jokes. Then I'll laugh.

  9. Shirley I think the person you are pertaining to saying Igorots are not Filipinos is a Carlos Romulo because I remember this upseting my parents and uncles and aunties. From my recollection he had a correct point, but it was a technical thing about history. It shouldn't matter anyway because people who try to divide are wrong. People who agree with Romulo on a social level are why we have silly beliefs like Tagalogs are called Tangalogs or Bicolana women are sluts or the Muslims for Mindanao are all Abu Sayyafs. We need to stop the ingorance already!

  10. To Annette:  I know what you are feeling.  I miss Baguio and my husband is deployed in Afghanistan for his second time for another year.  Rest assured, I too am facing the delima of how to raise my kids.  I am expecting my first born this year, but I want my children to be proud Americans and Igorots at the same time.  Thank you very much Mr. Delson for your still being proud of your roots especially since you have lived in America almost all your life.  I am really inspired with your passion sir. Go go go!

  11. I was out last night with my cousin and two other friends (All Filipino = 3 Igorots and 1 Tagalog). The topic of discrimmination came up and I asked my Tagalog friend, Patrick, if he ever heard of Igorots when he was a kid in Manila. Patrick is somewhat like me, but he lived in Manila for 9 years before moving to the U.S. Anyway, he told me he actually went up to Baguio with his parents where he attended an Igorot function that taught the lowlanders about our culture. It was only because of that trip that he had a better understanding about Igorots. I told him about what I heard about fear being instilled into kids, and he seemed to think that part of it comes from the television shows that he remembered as a kid that depicted the Muslims of Mindanao as dangerous people. It made sense to him how the sounds of our Igorot gangsas were similar to the Muslim gongs that he remembered hearing on television. I found this interesting.

  12. @ Anonymous (with a husband in Afhganistan) . . . At least you are conscious of this tough decision. When I first started going to school here in America, I was having a very difficult time because I didn't speak English. A group of teachers visited my parents at our house one day and told them that they needed to speak only English at home; otherwise I would be so far behind in school. Like any good parent, they thought about my future and listened to their advice. I never had the opportunity to tell them how wrong they were before they died, but I'm sure they realized their mistake when I began showing interest in learning Tagalog so I could talk to pretty Filipinas in my late teens. Today, if I had a magic crystal ball that could make me 100% fluent in 2 languages; I would choose English and Kankanaey. However, if I did . . . then I wouldn't be writing or doing any of this blogging . . . everything happens for a reason, ay sha?

  13. Harriet May Basingat emailed this to me on 9/16/10. It exceed the allowed #of words for 1 comment so I will break it into 2 comments:

    (Comment 1 of 2 by Harriet)


    if you are from, where i am from, we are related in one way or another. i am dark skinned. i continue to learn more and more about my culture. i can dance my native dances. i can sing "salidummay." the beat of the gongs is music to my ears. i keep my head up. my feet keep the tempo with baby bounces and a little kick. my arms flow with grace. my native attire is beautifully woven with designs in colors of red, green, black, and yellow. my dances are as easy as the Electric Slide or Macarena. i wrap my skirt around me right over left. i must have safety pins. my grandma's and aunties disagree with the length of my skirt. but they never disagree with the beauty laid upon me with the colors of my culture. my belt adds to this beauty. the tail sways with my hips from side to side. i decorate myself with beads. i dance with either a serious look or a smile. i am down to earth. i am brave. i love my culture. i adore my people. i still have a lot to learn. but i am proud. this is who i am from birth. and this is how i'll stay till death. i am beautiful within.


    ~Harriet May Mangagil Basingat, (written in 1999)"

  14. (Comment 2 of 2 by Harriet):

    "1. Philippines would not have gained independence if it were not for the Igorots conquering the Spaniards.

    2. I am a proud Igorota born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I understand and can speak Ilocano and a little Igorot. Why? Because my smart parents, grandparents, aunties, and uncles taught me.

    3. I know how to wrap a tapis around me. I can sing "Salidummay." I can dance my native dances. I can even beat a gong. And I have been doing it for 22 years.

    4. Unlike some "Pilipinos," I don't try to look anything other than Pilipino/Igorot. I don't need "whitening" creams. I'm not mestiza, so why would I try to look it?

    5. I have travelled to the Philippines 5 times and have even gone to the province of where both my parents are from (Data, Sabangan, Mountain Province) to see where I come from.

    6. It was said: "Have you ever noticed how Igorots have so much confidence when together in their small groups? But when they are individually mix in with Filipinos, they become timid and shy. That's because they know deep down they aren't as good as us Tagalog filipinos."

    To that guy...come to Los Angeles...come meet all the 1st and 2nd generation Igorots. It doesn't matter who we are with. We don't need to be together in a group to educate your ignorance. Timid and shy? You definitely have not met me! Deep down we're not as good as you Tagalog filipinos? Why would I want to be ignorant?

    7. RE: "When Spain failed to conquer the Igorots time after time, they had to convince the lowlanders (us) that the Igorots were bad, inferior, lesser, stupid and all the other bad things they probably had to say to get us to side with them. Unfortunately, this sentiment still survives today. Old habits are hard to break."

    First of all, your ignorance and stupidity were easily convinced. Unlike the Igorots who refused to be conquered by the Spaniards. Yes, unfortunately that sentiment does still survive today. But that is only the fault of the uneducated. About "Old habits being hard to break"...well...again, unfortunately, YOU are just part of that old bad habit.

    8. This past September 11, 2010...the Igorot Youth of INA (Institute of Native Arts) perfomed in the biggest filipino festival held every year: FPAC (Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture). We have been participating in this yearly event for over 15 years. And every year our cultural performance always draws one of the biggest viewing crowds and audience participation. This audience always consisting of 95% non-Igorots. Obviously we are well liked more than you thought. Are you envious that our dances are our own and not spanish influenced? Just like our native attire.

    9. When asked, I do say I am "Pilipina" with Igorot background. The word Pilipino is just a word derived from the word Philippines, meaning, "from the Philippines." That's all it means.

    10. I remember way back in the days, there never used to be an "Igorot Suite" in college PCN's (Pilipino Cultural Night). Now and days, there is ALWAYS an Igorot Suite within the program. I personally have been fortunate enough to help some college groups by teaching them dances. These are the educated ones who know that the Igorot culture is part of the Philippine heritage.

    Man, I've heard of racism between different races. But damn...racism within a race??? That's just ridiculous! And that's just sad that there are people out there like that! Did their parents teach them those ways? I'm embarrassed being around those kinds of people. They give Pilipino's a bad name."

  15. HARRIET > YOU GO GIRL!! I'm not even Igorot. I'm Visayan, and you know what? We also get discrimminated by Tagalogs. ANNETTE > You should have included Visayans are uncomprehensible he he he. I second your dislike for these stupidity thinking that separates Pilipinos. I don't mean to detract from the Igorot discussion but check this out:
    Tactless Discrimmination from Manila Again

  16. In all fairness, I didn’t intent on stirring up the pot with all the apparent anger Igorots are venting out on me. Do I know everything? The answer is NO. Am I ignorant? Apparently in many areas relating to my fellow Igorot Filipinos or Pilipinos or Pinoy. The truth is, I opened my mouth without doing any research on the matter, but isn’t that what a blog is about? To, as Rexcrisanto says “dialogue,” with the reading audience. I respect your comments Rexcrisanto and the comments of everyone else. It’s good this topic of discrimination is being dialogued because as bbfacio points out, other Filipinos get discriminated too. My tita told me this morning that she feels the Muslims get more discrimination than Igorots in Davao and Cebu where her side of the family originates. She said they probably know much less about Igorots because they are not from Luzon. My tito whose from Balabac read through the comments in this blog and finds the things about Igorots fascinating. For his sake, and for the sake of those with open minds willing to learn more about our diverse country, please continue forward and I will sit back for now to become “less ignorant.” I’m starting to wonder if being raised outside the Philippines as second generation Pinoy like Rexcrisanto actually is better because it seems all the people with false stereotypes and discriminating ideas of Igorots are either still living in the Philippines or just arrived or first generation Pinoy Americans. The other truth is, I commented based on what I learned from titos, titas, and lolo and parents. Oh well, hows that for an apology?

  17. @ JRios - well said pare. It takes a real man to admit when he is wrong. Actually I liked what you said in your first comments because it seemed honest and sincere even if I didn't agree with you. Some people just have different ways of reacting to offnsive attacks but it was good you stirred the pot a bit.

  18. @ JRios . . . Thanks for your last comment. Roy is correct when he said, "It takes a real man to admit when he's wrong." There was one thing you mentioned in your first comment that caught my attention so much that I have done my research on the subject of blaming the discrimmination of Spain. You're right about that! It makes for another interesting blog. Thanks.

  19. Well, Mr Rios; if you are black in America especially down the Southern States...the seeds of bigotry is sprouting everyday and as whites are born...most of their parents teach them at the very minute their offsprings come to life; to fear black and on other races...yes...including brownies like us. Education in race is paramount to a more animous free society.

    Pinas is no different. Tagalogs think they're more supreme than everyone else; the ilocanos, visayans, bicolanos would bicker and say otherwise. It goes in circles; and with over 100 indigenous tribes in the motherland and 90 some dialects spoken; it's a recipe for divisiveness. Our forgotten brother Aetas are even worse. It seemed like they don't have any voice in the goverment, unable to progress simply because of their similitaries to africans.

    My friends are international, they come from all backgrounds and etnicities...and only of good standing and morally right; with lots of humor.

    Rex: Our Baguio City High School Triennial Reunion will be held in Chicago next year. Last one was held in Seattle, Washington. Need to ponder if I go or not.


  20. I unrest my case: Luis Rodríguez Varela –also known as El Conde Filipino–, a Creole (pure-blooded Spaniard born and/or living in the Philippines) poet born in the Philippines around the 18th century, first used the term Filipino in a more endearing and nationalistic connotation. We can also say that he was the first Filipino who wrote patriotic compositions (which can be gleaned from his verse collection, Parnaso Filipino (Philippine Parnassus). With his writings, he was able to instill the first few seeds of nationalism into the then developing Filipino psyche. Yes, he somehow gave a new definition to the word Filipino. Because of Rodríguez Varela’s philosophy, the term Filipino did not belong solely to Spanish Creoles in the Philippines; it also encompassed everyone born in the Philippines, regardless of one’s birth or race. He referred to them as Los Hijos del País — Sons of the Country (this is where the founding fathers of the Katipunan got the idea of the Anák Ng Bayan).
    The only people who were UNFORTUNATE of not having shared the blessings of the Western Culture were the highlanders — including your Igorot people, Rexcrisanto.
    Yes, the local highlanders (as well as other isolated tribes) like the igorotes, mañguianes, itas, etc., were not considered as Filipinos. For one, they were not Christianized – the Spanish Crown back then was united with the Church, remember? The authority of the Church and State were in a sense considered as one.
    Secondly, they were not (or they did not) integrate into the Hispanic Culture that was already flowering in the Philippines. They weren’t able to learn Spanish nor did they acquire any fragments of Spanish Culture.
    So in a sense, they weren’t considered as Filipinos. Culturally (and even in a religious perception), the highlanders weren’t Filipinos, for yet another definition of a Filipino back then was one who pays taxes to the King of Spain (Rey Felipe II or King Philip II).
    But the bottomline is that the Filipino identity is a grand Spanish creation. Our brothers from Latin America aren’t even ashamed of it. Punyeta! Why should we, man?
    So while you’re up there in your high horse telling everyone how proud your race is that they weren’t “conquered” by the “oppressive” colonizers, think very carefully about it. Or else, you might fall hard on your head.
    Avoid cultural stagnation, pare. Your people may have preserved their culture as it has always been for the past hundred years. But do you even think that it is really beneficial for your people’s very existence, or for your people’s future?
    Also, I dare ask you this: Has your people even progressed?
    Saludos y Walang Hiya!

    source: John Leddy Phelan’s “The Hispanization of the Philippines”. Edited and presented by the late historian Renato Constantino (Filipiniana Reprint Series, Manila, 1985).

  21. @ TruBlue . . . If you come to Chicago, please make sure you let me know. I would love to meet you! Thanks for your comments manong (?) or uncle.

  22. @ "so called" True Proud Filipino . . . Well well well, look who decided to come out, and this time with some actual research that wasn't blown out of your ubet . . . oh, and still nameless but with a link to your ridiculous profile name that is linked to a Carlos Romulo site. Are you that weak that you have to live vicariously through a guy like Romulo? You might as well have chosen Sponge Bob Squarepants to emulate because the two are not too different, though Sponge Bob's stupidity and ignorance is more tolerable since he's a fictional character.

    You know what my fellow Pilipino brother (lost brother that is). . . even if all your so called facts are legitimate, they are way out of context. Don't be like some bible thumpers who take one sentence out of the greatest book and twist it around to fit their agenda. Does an eye for an eye really mean just that? Come on "man," let it go already. Whatever pain an Igorot caused you, don't take it out on all of us. . . grow up.

    While you stew in your anger and racist pool of pity, I will continue my efforts to introduce and educate non-Filipinos about us Igorots. I'm not even going to waste my time with non-Igorot Filipinos with discrimination in their hearts because this seed of racism apparently goes too far back to expect dramatic change overnight. No, instead, I will do my best to reach out to a bigger world out there. Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Africans, South Americans, Mexicans and so on will hear about us, and when they do . . . they will see that Igorots are a special kind of Filipino. . . A minority, but a special one at that. You see, we may be the minority, but I like being part of the FEW, the PROUD and the BRAVE. People will come to realize that Igorots are like the Marines who only make the entire Military even better. Maybe you aren't capable of grasping this, but others will realize that Igorots give the rest of the Filipino people a GOOD NAME. When this happens, people like you on your "high horses" will look pathetic to the outside world. People will say things like, "Can you believe those racist pigs?" So, chew on that . . . "pare."

  23. I believe this guy claiming to be true and proud pinoy is really "Pepe Alas" (an alias most likely). He doesn't deserve the attention he is getting for the reason he wants this attention because he really has a problem with Igorots and minoritees. This guy likes to blog on skirmisher.org and the gov.ph forum. Pepe, if this is you, you need some therapy. And you should stop using your old matereal that is 3 years old and older and find something more original. Stupid is what stupid does.

  24. @ Anonymous (Oct 12). . . Thanks for the info about our mystery man!

    @ so-called True Proud Filipino (aka "Pepe") . . . I'm shuttin you down here. Blog your problems elsewhere.

    @ Mark, TDaoey, Anonymous & JoeP (unpublished comments) . . . Sorry for not posting your comments. As was just confirmed by above anonymous: This "Pepe" doesn't deserve to be responded to anymore, and I don't want this blog to be his stage to perform his stupidity anymore. Your replies are appreciated though! Thanks and keep commenting . . .

    1. Hi Rexcrisanto. This is the real Pepe Alas. I just found out today that my name has been mentioned and even attacked on this blogpost of yours in which you and your supporters are accusing me of hiding under the alias "A True Proud Filipino". Please be informed that I do not need to hide under an alias. In short, I am not that anonymous guy you are accusing of. My name is plastered all over the Internet in connection to discussions about Filipino History and Identity. That is all.

  25. in my part its really hard to comment coz since i was young i grow up in the mountain and Im proud to be an igorot,i've done my highschool and college with different filipino people,(tagalog,ilocano,igorot,visayas,kapampangan,etc,)but i never encountered such discrimination even in college,because for me never let other people discriminate you,every time i meet new peolpe if they ask where i came..with a full smile by heart I say baguio-benguet proud to be igorot, and stand for it that your really different from them,more civilized,educated,can speak their language or dialect which they can not do, competitive to others in a positive way,and the same thing as now,all my friends are tagalogs ,ilocanos igorots and their's no discrimination that is happenning, we all give respect who we really are and where we came from,just the different that i observe is igorots people are wise and civilized enough to be humble,they walk without sleeper thinking that they are badoy but they are the person who owns a mansion house,a lawyer or a doctor,because pipol jugde them as badoy because of the way they dress,and for me as i always tell to my friends..im more different than you because i can speak and communicate through your language but to communicate with my dialect never,,,,and they just give me a possitive comment your right we are all igorots...

  26. Mr. Delson, it seems that it is not worth replying to an ignorant fellow Filipino. Poor guy. He's just another Uncle Tom, albeit a brown version.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Just came accross this blog....

    I'm 25 years old who grew up in the mountains and hills of Baguio City and Benguet. This comment are just purely based on my opinion and observations. So, here's my thoughts...
    most Cordillerans I know (friends, peers, strangers) do not prefer calling themselves igorot (especially Ifugaos).Probably because it originated from a Spanish word or it was used for discrimination but, yes, we just instinctively avoid the word. We normally either differentiate people based on their primary spoken language (ilocano, bisaya, tagalog,kankana-ey, ibaloi, kalanguya, kiangan, etc...) or based on the place where one is born (i-bontoc, i-sagada, taga + the place where your born, etc..).

    I know how people who didn't visit the Cordilleras, at least once in their life, are ignorant about the culture of the place and how the native looks like but I'm quit shocked when I learned that the level of ingnorance is lower than what I expected. "Surprised" is not even the right term for it.

    I often hear myself using the term "igorot" to refer to the people that is native in the highlands of Northern Luzon since i started working in the lowlands and overseas. See, the difference when i'm in Baguio and when I'm in the lowlands is that... when they asked me where i'm from and i say "i'm from Benguet", people from Baguio reply by asking "where in Benguet?" and ingnorant people in the lowlands reply by saying "di nga? igorot ka? talaga? wala biro... and so on. From then on, when people ask me where i'm from, i tell them "i'm an igorot from Benguet". Of course there are still questions that follows but well, i will never get tired of informing these folks about who we really are, the igorots.

    I still remember what my friend here in Singapore (from Manila) told me. I asked him, "what's your impression of us igorots?" he said, " hmmm... ahhh... may buntot, taz maitim, maliit, kulot ang buhok, naka bahag... yun lang". I LOLed and thought WTF???
    Then I took time explaining who we really are and how we live. From simple informations like we no longer live in "kubo's", that we no longer dress up in g-strings, and that WE DON'T HAVE TAILS to the complicated things as the diversity within the culture and dialect in the Cordilleras. Thankfully, he's open minded and started to accept the fact that we are not what he thought we are.

  29. @rexcrisanto--i stayed up just to read your blog (not all of it yet)but i have to go offline soon--its almost midnight in manila. thank you for the work you put in here. I also laughed at some of the familiar stories/experiences. this was worth my time. that dude "true proud filipino" made the back and forth more interesting as well--.thanks again. kat =)

  30. Hey there--I forgot to comment on the purple text which you posted here-its a bit hard to read. The eyes squint. Could you make it maybe yellow or a light blue maybe? Im about to pass on your blog to a young girl who, like you lives in America --she has Igorot parents and she just got accepted into a Math and Science High school. Brillinat kid. Thank you.


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