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Friday, May 15, 2009

From W.H. Scott's "The Defense of Igorot Independence"


... during those three centuries when Spanish firearms never really conquered the lofty liberty of the Igorots, they were paying a heavy price for their independence.  Moving off into more remote parts of the Cordillera, they had to pit their brawn and brains against raw nature and sterile soil.  And while they learned to carve whole mountainsides into terraces to wring out a bare subsistence of living, their tribute-paying brethren in the lowlands were learning to farm like Spaniards and to cook like Chinese.  While Graciano Lopez Jaena was ornamenting the Spanish press with his graceful prose, and Jose Rizal was hobnobbing with European scholars in a half a dozen foreign languages, their illiterate Igorot compatriots were being exhibited in the Philippine exposition along with other native plants and animals.  In their mountain province independence, the Igorots missed out on all those convenient innovations enjoyed by their conquered brethren -- the iron plows, the horses and cows, the pancit and pan-de-sal, the camisas de chino and barongs tagalog, the grade school primers and those prestigious blue eyes and curly, blond hair.  It was a heavy price to pay for liberty.  And it is a price not yet fully paid.  For even their descendants who are congressmen, professors or bishops must send their children to government schools where they dutifully stare at textbooks which say they are different from all other Filipinos because of migration.  But never a word about their 350-year resistance to foreign aggression.



- William Henry Scott, "The Defense of Igorot Independence," Of Igorots and Independence (Baguio City: A-Seven Publishing, 1993), 38-39.

1 comment:

Michael O. Bennett said...

Not enough has been said about our brother Igorots. To this day, our history books are next to mum about their valuable and heroic contributions. Instead they are slandered and vilified. While their lowland, conquered brothers were forced to submit, the Igorots continued their struggle - 350 years of it. There is much we can learn from that story of W.H. Scott as well as from our brothers in the Highlands.