3rd Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK Europe (ICBE) Consultation
5-8 May 2005
by Judith Balangyao
What are they doing?.. Are they going mad talking to themselves or talking to no one?.. Why are they doing that?...and more what's and why's. These are the kind of questions I often asked myself every time I witness my parents, grandparents or any “alapos” doing some of the Igorot rituals or ceremonies especially on occasions like weddings, christening, burials or festivals, either sad or happy gatherings. Some of which I take as impractical or unnecessary and some I appreciate and would probably practice myself if I cross such situations...yes, I'm interested in understanding or learning more about these practices.
Igorot arts, crafts and costumes are also valuable to me. It really shows how the first Igorots are so creative to come up with all these to survive life with just very little thing they possess. Our costumes are so original too (especially men's) that really turn people's head back once they have an eye on them. These are stuff we could actually bring with us wherever we go around this globe. Having them handy makes it easier for us to explain/tell people about the place where we come from.
Most importantly is keeping the values and right conduct emphasised on us by our Igorot parents since birth. These include respect to parents and the elderly; and the importance of education.
Igorots may not be that showy in expressing their love (in my own opinion) but they're genuine inside them. I grew up in a multi-cultural society back home and even when I was still young, I already noticed the difference in children's behaviours depending really on everyone’s upbringing. Igorot children would not probably kiss their mum when they meet in the street but would definitely offer a help when needed...even if this means carrying a sack full of “kamote” or “saba” with their school uniform. There is really nothing worse than showing disrespect to parents or the elderly. Another thing I appreciate so much is how Igorot parents (or most parents) stress the importance of education on their children. They take it as the only treasure they could pass on as an inheritance...remember the story about this Igorot father who sold all his cows and land just to send his son to college?? That’s just an example...and mind you, it's not an experience of just one but many.
These are all significant for me as I live and would love to pass on to younger ones too if I will be given the chance.