Men of the Mountains aka IGOROTS - what sets them apart? Aside from the awesome views that the mountain province offer are the extra ordinary people who inhabit the region. It's really interesting to come up with this entry and I hope even if it's a little superficial having visited the place in such a short time - I can say my impressions are quite remarkable.
I didn't realize early on, that IGOROTS have 6 ethnic groups each having their own dialects. They are the Kankanaeys from Sagada, the Ifugaos, the Bontocs, the Ibalois of Southern Benguet, the Kalingas, and the Isneg from Northern Apayao. Each one having their own unique traditions and beliefs. I've visited most of these places except for Apayao and would love to check it out one of these days. The Cordillera Region is so rich in character that it will leave you with more questions each time you visit this mountainous region.
Well, if you are expecting to see them wearing a "bahag" (their native costume) - haha, that's sooo old school!!. It could have been a very welcome sight though, hahaha ... But then "bahag" is still being worn during special festivities, so better schedule your visit during those events.
Technology is no longer foreign to most Igorots I've encountered. Most of them owns a cellphone and they surf the web. They looked and talked like each one of us. They can conversed fluently in English, Tagalog and Ilocano. Surprising enough, there are actually a lot of them who would pass the standards, me and my gay friends would normally call "PWEDE" ..... meaning they are above 5 in our rating scale, 10 being the highest. LOL!
The late Marky Cielo (a celebrity Igorot, I really have just good words for him) is really good looking for me. So finding a multiplicity of Marky look alike is such a beautiful sight. Imagine clear skin, rosy cheeks, chinky eyes, very lean body built, yeah that's how most of them look like most probably because of their Chinese ancestry and the very nice and cold climate. The kids are so adorable and the men, very dependable!!!
Who needs a gym membership and a derma consult in the Cordillera Region? Your answer is as good as mine. Their clear skin and sturdy built is built to last, born out of hard work and their way of life.
Even though, change is inevitable, I really hope the younger generation will still continue to embrace their rich culture and traditions and continue to protect this beautiful domain.
(PS. To the Igorots on my slideshow, thanks for sharing a part of you. It was indeed an enriching experience. A visit to your place is something I will always look forward to.)