A FEW days ago, my newsfeed was full of indignant posts in response to Dick Gordon’s derogatory comment about Igorots going down to make "palimos."
I tried watching the whole video, but I could not get past the part where the senator kept interrupting Madam Edna Tabanda so she did not get a chance to speak. I couldn’t continue. I just kept cringing.
I wonder if the senator spoke to her like that because he didn’t want any objections to his proposal. It showed me though, that he didn’t know much about the Igorot and the Highlands.
I cannot call myself full blooded Igorot because my parents are from Pangasinan. I was born here in Baguio, and I’ve been here almost all of my life save for a few weeks out now and then. Solid Cordilleran.
It was no other than our Philippine National Artist BenCab who educated me about the Igorot and made me proud to live among them.
I interviewed him for a Women’s Journal article 21 years ago when he was building a name for himself, and asked, among others, why he chose to settle here.
He said he admired the purity of the Highland culture, their practice of universalism, their respect for the earth.
And in an interview with the late Narda Capuyan, internationally famous for her weaves, I learned that industry, perseverance, simplicity and humility are traits of the Igorots.
I also learned that Igorots are not materialistic. They do not measure wealth in terms of how many cars they have, or how big their houses are. True wealth for them is measured by how many people they help.
In another issue of Women’s Journal, I was able to walk through the house of our Mayor Morris and Ma’m Becky Domogan’s home and saw that it mirrored the values of the indigenous tribes of the Cordilleras -- simplicity, humility, practicality, love for, and pride in, one’s culture.
I do remember, in the 90’s, that I wanted to jump up and applaud the mayor-then-congressman when I watched clips of him on TV, addressing Congress, in g-string, declaring this pride for his roots, his Igorot heritage.
There are still many Filipinos who are unaware that true Igorots are universally admired for their stewardship of the earth. Respected in many countries where they work because of their industry and perseverance. They are humble. They live simple lives because they choose to.
And definitely, making "palimos" is not part of their culture.