Went up to Baguio a while back to visit my parents and started thinking about our roots and heritage, and then visited some ethnic places in Baguio like Tam-awan Village . Then when I was rummaging around the house for old picture and stuffs I saw a not so old copy of the Baguio Midland Courier and started reading an article written by Gaby Keith entitled G-Sting, which was about some thing about an incident which happened a some time ago where a certain personality made jokes about the Igorot, and he has added an essay written by his dad, Gabriel P. Keith, when he was still a college student and when Benguet was still politically a part of the Mountain Province, and which really touched my heart. Allow me to reprint and to show you how proud I am of my roots and culture!!!!
I Am An Igorot!
By: Atty. Gabriel P. Keith (1950)
I am an Igorot, son of parents in whose veins flow Malay and Indonesian blood. I was born and reared amidst these mountains and hills covered with sturdy and verdant pines that sway and dance with the mountain breeze beside the mountain streams. This part of the country, the Mountain province, I learned to love and to call my home.
I am an Igorot, in my veins run the immortal blood of my gallant, peaceful and freedom-loving fore fathers – blood borne by them who openly defied the authority of Spain in the year Sixteen Hundred and One. Again, it was the blood that also freely flowed in the bloody battlefields of world-famous Bataan and in the rocky bastions of Corregidor.
That Blood is immortal. It is the self-same blood that flowed in the hearts of my Grandfather, Father, Brothers, Cousins, Uncles, and Nephews who formed the mighty 66th Infantry, blood that watered the wild lilies in the treacherous mountain of Bessang. Some of them died fighting that I may be what I am now – a free man, living in a free country governed by the principles of democracy.
I am an Igorot – a proud one. I am proud of my noble, brave, peaceful, and hard-working ancestors and of the lilies that adorn the forests and which were given by him above to be mine; proud of the Cañao and the Bacdew and of the customs and traditions handed to me from generation to generation; proud to beat the Ganza and to hear the savage sound of the Solibao.
I am proud too of my Christian status and education brought about by the pioneering zeal of the occidental missionaries and teachers; proud to be an integral part of the young Republic of the Philippines.
Through in education, economic, social and political aspects, I may be far behind; through all in all, I may be called a barbarian, still I shall shout aloud that all may know and hear –
I AM AN IGOROT!