Getting to Know the Igorots: An Introduction

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By Yvonne Belen

During the 3rd Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK Consultation (ICBE Consultation) held in Aeschi, Switzerland from 5-8 May 2005, one workshop topic was “Stories of our Igorot Culture.” The workshop’s aim was to collect stories of our Igorot culture, especially our experiences, and to suggest ways in which we could publish our stories. 

The participants suggested that the stories would include Igorot practices on birth, child rearing (growth), sickness, marriage and daily life practices. It would also include relationships of man to nature, and relationship of Christianity and our Igorot beliefs.

Experiences of participants on "Ab-abiik," speaking to Spirits and "Sapsapo" were recounted during the workshop. There were more experiences and stories about Igorot culture and way of life, which needed to be documented and handed down to our next generation.

The workshop participants agreed that the stories will be written by Igorots who have direct experiences or are witnesses to Igorot practices. I volunteered to collect the stories. It was suggested that BIBAK Switzerland will be the publisher should they approve it.

Suggestions on the publication’s name were: "Is-istorya," "Kaistoryaan di Kaigorotan," and "Kaigorotan."

Through the ICBE Forum, I invited participants of the 3rd ICBE Consultation and members of the forum to submit their stories. I have since received stories and proposed that we post these in our website. More will be posted as stories are submitted.

It’s important to note that Igorot customs and traditions differ within the Cordillera region; they also vary from village from village. In many of these stories, the authors reflect their experiences based on the village they come from. Other authors stress the regional nature of the story.

The workshop on “Stories of our Igorot Culture” has generated stories, which has evolved into “Getting to Know the Igorots.” Hopefully, through this collection, we will enable people (Igorots and visitors) to learn about us.

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