Tuesday, July 14, 2009

highland people.

Netherlands is a very flat country. Having grown up in a city where the Sierra Madre mountain range of Luzon ends, I plead guilty for longing for the mountains every now and then.

This reminds of a story.

Once, I was hiking somewhere in Benguet. I met and saw many Igorots. I wondered why Igorot men could squat for hours and hours on the roadside, doing nothing... saying nothing. But they all do this certain movement once in a great while. They would face the mountain ... almost yearning for something... and they would welcome what seems like a whisper from the goddess of terraces. As an outsider, I never really understood this mountain culture.

My friend Cheryl is and has always been proud of her Igorot heritage. (Our friendship has nothing to do with my search for Filipino identity though.)

While I could trace my ancestry 4 perhaps even 5 generations back, Cheryl.... well, Cheryl's ancestry probably goes as far back as the Lakays and Apos... maybe, even Lam-ang himself! I envy her.

I wonder if it were possible to make a claim that people like myself embody the idea of a people of the world unified to function in a single society.... or as in my case, a single body. You know, globalisation in one person. lol... I am afterall part Spanish, Chinese, Mexican, Indu-Malayo-Polynesian. I am what you call, a Filipino. Or is this globalization phenomenon purely for economists and journalists?

A former colleague once told me (during one of those many coffee breaks we had! lol) that it was not enough to be a native of this country, to call oneself a Filipino. He also added that it is not our claim that our national history had shaped our identity because our colonial experience unified us as one. The term our referring to lowland Christian people.

Such colonial experince which probably had a nominal impact on our tribal mountain brothers. Note that I used nominal and not minimal. You see, nominal means insignificantly small whereas minimal means smallest in amount and degree.

These highland peoples who were involved in tribal wars, and not our revolution.... our political upheavals... our Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo..... such nacional development influenced by alien cultures. And yet we are too proud to make that claim. That we are the Filipinos, and they....? They are the Igorots.... the Kalingas... the Agtas..... the Tagbanuas..... the Mountain people. Or is that really the case?

Most of all, what struck me about the Igorots is that: their music and dance movement, and even weaving design haven't changed through the centuries. The tapis I wore to Cheryl's wedding, is still pretty much what Igorot women wear these days. And mind you, that wedding was back in 1991.

As for the mountains.... their gods and goddesses will protect them. Like they always did.


cherie said...

ikaw, intsik? si cherry pie idto...

Droomvla said...

ikaw man, isad man lang an hinalean kaya siyempre nasa genes ko man an intsik. HAHAHAHAHA

cherie said...

i thought you'd say that -hahahahaha!!

Cheryl L. Daytec-YaƱgot said...

You still have that tapis? It is one of the finest Narda's products.

Thanks for this article.

Droomvla said...

I still have the tapis. Believe it or not, I take that tapis whereever I go. When I was in Indonesia from 1994-1996, that tapis was with me! And now, it's in my closet. Ganyan kita kamahal! hahahaha :)

And yes, I agree that it's one of Narda's finest product. I went inside Narda's at NAIA once, and I must admit that although the intricacies in design are so beautiful, I still think the tapis you gave me and wore at your wedding is more beautiful. hehehehe