There is more to Igorot than "bahag" (loin cloth/g-string)
As we look across the norms and cultural landscape of our ever changing world, we see all kinds of differences.People live differently, People worship differently. People believe differently, people think differently. We could argue over thousands of different opinions on thousands of different topics. But almost without fail when the discussion is pushed to its root source, it is about proving who is good and who is right, who is better, who is superior and this should all take us to the first ever written book that covers humanity to the end. The Bible, the governing document that is partial and never wrong.
Most cultures even individuals has at some point incurred prejudice and Igorots are no different from it. It is a global issue that has been around for generations and sadly here to stay . A line from The Paradox of Time states we conquered atoms but not our prejudice, why is that? Because we have gone far and back in our quest for knowledge leading us to the discoveries and inventions that made us known to the rest yet most of us fail to look close on the underlying embedded wisdom available within us that all God's children are created equal putting all men with one category with the same flesh and separates us out from animals (1 Cor 15:39). Some of us fail to integrate this concept constantly in our thought and being which allows us to get caught in the grapevine of negative notion towards others which then extend to our children, our association and surrounding that in order to stop or get out from the cluster is to address it from the inside out starting from our heart and (1 Cor 4:5 PHI) that we should make no hasty or premature judgments. If we are willing to ask, willing to wait, willing to listen, we might gain discernment so that we could know and not have to waver. We might achieve real wisdom. We would see past the surface into reality.
South American Indian dancing the war dance An Igorot performing at a festival
photo credit: bing images photocredit: cordillera online photos
When you say Igorot pronounced ìggə rṓt, these are the minority group inhabitating the landlock Cordillera region in the northern Luzon Philippines. They form the 6 ethno linguistic tribes more familiar in the country as the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Kalinga and Apayao, Ifugao, the Mountain Province and the chartered City of Baguio. This however is not the information comes to mind among Filipinos who's knowledge is limited about this group but one who wears a loin cloth or g-string locally called "bahag" or "wanes". This is a traditional male costume among this mountain people which I found it was not only worn by male igorot natives but by a certain tribe of Indians of South America. I have'nt found any relationship between the two but this has been the Igorots primitive clothing that they never let go since civilization took place and adopted it as their traditional costume to this day which a lot of cultures did, the only difference? others are more acceptable in todays fashion standard compared to the plain G-string/loin cloth. This however does'nt mean there is no gift of artistry in them fashion wise, because if so how would we put all the artistry they exhibited on their weaved products that are now being sold locally and abroad earning the name weavers paradise? They have all the option to make a fashion statement out from that costume to better the stereotype view of them as ugly and uncivilized but as long as they believe there is a lot more about them than the garb they wore their primitive costume is here to stay among this group of people.
Having the understanding every conflict has a cause, my further reading leads to a deeper realization how the then so called uneducated people still living in a primitive era that are small in numbers, with only primitive weapons able to resist a powerful Spanish colonizer? They have their differences as tribes and individuals, then uneducated as the spaniards categorized yet were able to set aside their differences for a common cause, to come as one to protect their land, culture and tradition,which leads to their conquistadores failure in their attemp to take control of their goldrich mountains. These are one of the cases where people learn to agree to disagree respecting other's opinion even if they don't share it but work in unity to accomplish a purpose. I pressume this is what former US President John F. Kennedy (JFK)meant when he told the head of his transition team, Clark Clifford “I don’t care if the man is a Democrat or an Igorot, I just want the best fellow I can get for the particular job.”
With what I learnt, I would categorize this people us the "unconquered" as supported in a statement by one of the greatest general in history: "Many desperate acts of courage and heroism have fallen under my observation on many fields of battle in many parts of the world. I have seen last-ditch stands and innumerable acts of personal heroism that defy description, but for sheer breath-taking and heart-stopping desperation, I have never known the equal of those Igorots. Gentlemen, when you tell that story, stand in tribute to those gallant Igorots.” Gen Douglas Mc Arthur (post Gazette Feb.23,1942 p1 cont. p.4)
Failures and defeat however are taken either in humility, in pride or in grouch. Igorots was casted the later recieving a negative perception as savage, ignorants, recalcitrant,uncivilized, and infidels as cited in the Spanish Publication of the Exposition General De Las Islas Filipinas in Madrid, Spain 1887. This negative perception remained to this day among the ones who just heard of the word igorot, haven't get to know one, and never traveled the Igorot land and also causes some of their countrymen to deny them and few Igorots to shun being identified as one.
Former Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Romulo denies " Igorots are not Filipinos". Filipino comedienne Cindy Pangilinan said "I am a human being not an Igorot" in her pre mother's day show in May 2009 in Baguio City are stigmas left by this negative perception that can be all corrected with sufficient knowledge. Apology was offered and outraged Igorots though reacted differently somehow proved they are the opposite of how they are being percieved because if not shoes, potatoes, tomatoes or pie would have been thrown at her as we have seen somewhere else. Knowing she's a product of the prestigious University of the Philippines,and held her show on the Igorots yard at that time, I would have expected more from her but understand it could be anyone else, you or me. It is not only our lack of ear to listen and failure to open our mind and hearts to look past beyond our eyes that leads us to this kind of mistake towards others which most if not all of us are guilty at some point but could have been a preventable verdict all at our control should knowledge have been acquired. (Hosea 4: 6 (KJV) My people perish from lack of knowledge. In situations like this we allowed ourselves to be robbed of the blessings of what could have been a better relationship among our brethren unfortunately, the world's voice echos louder creating us a gap in between.It is but natural for humans to see one according to what is percieved by their senses but have you ever thought the last time you lied as a child and feared getting caught? That awareness is caused by your pure being. The characteristic of our creator when He created us according to His image.It is the same voice within that whisper judge not by mere appearance but by the reality (John 7:24). Notice all the good deeds others and you have done out there, I doubt all of this acts are based on scriptures but done it anyway obeying the goodness in you that has been programmed in your system. It is similar to computers that information might have been stored in its CPU but it needs a command to retrieve it,so is with the likeness of God in us "ask and search" in prayer and fasting.If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given unto him. James 1:5(NIV.