Watching the animated short, “Dream” was saddening. Endangered species sing “I Dreamed a Dream” as they show how humans show no regard to animals and the planet.

Human needs and greed always come first. Environmentalists are branded as anti-development. It’s such a travesty when animals are protected against people who consider hunting as livelihood. “How can I feed my family if I don’t do this,” they ask. It can be a tricky subject as I remember Greenpeace’s war against sealers which affected the livelihood of indigenous tribes like the Inuit in Canada. What then should we prioritize? We always hear of sustainable consumption but how exactly can we keep the balance of sustaining the ever growing human population and the destruction of the environment and the extinction of animal species?

And what becomes of the indigenous people (IP) relying on what the Earth provides. They’re being shunned and their land taken away from them. I am an Igorot, an IP. But I have lost this identity somehow when I got molded in the ways of modern city life. That which is considered superior but is miserably failing as a system.

Is this the hell we’re living? Regardless, I still continue to dream.


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