I’m an Igorot and I don’t have a tail

That’s how I introduced myself one time to dispel people’s ignorance about Igorots, an indigenous group in the Philippines.

It may come as a surprise in this time of advanced technology where information is readily available at the tip of one’s fingertips that there are still a lot of misconceptions about us, the people from the mountains. No, we don’t have a tail. Not all of us are short and dark. And who are you calling uncivilized? Apparently, some school textbooks claim so.

Having said that, a photo of an Igorot hottie, aka “The Carrot Man,” going viral on the internet is, I think, a good thing. Yes, it’s also an indication of our being shallow but hey, an eye candy is an eye candy. Can’t argue with admiring physical beauty. But more than that, he’s attracting attention towards the region and its people. The fascination, so it seems, comes from the fact that an Igorot could actually look like that!

They tell me I don’t look like one because the image in their heads is again, someone short and dark, with curly hair, much like a fellow IP, the Aetas. And there’s totally nothing wrong about their appearance. It’s just this messed up idea of how we perceive beauty.

Where did this apparent discrimination come from anyway? I believe it’s when the Spanish colonizers weren’t successful in conquering the north and they had to resort to demeaning remarks hurled at Igorots which has crossed over to the present time.

So I wouldn’t really blame the unfortunate ignorance of some Pinoys but is ignorance an excuse?

Me, doing an Igorot dance. (c) Noel Orcullo

Author: Ryan Bestre

Environmentalist. Teacher. Writer.

3 thoughts on “I’m an Igorot and I don’t have a tail”

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