"They go to the busy cities like Baguio for livelihood: not farming nor hunting but to harness the  great deals tourism industry could give them."

NOTE: All the opinions and views published in this article are personal interpretations of the author. The author has no intention of slander, defame or to destroy the image of an individual, group, corporation or any entity.

The Igorot people, is I think the most popular indigenous people group in the Philippines. According to some sources, the Igorots carry a "headhunting" culture. A brutal mode of searching a person to kill by reasons known to them.




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Whatever negative publicities people might attach to the Igorot culture, I can safely say that their culture is still one of the most distinct, unique and richest in the Philippines.

Everywhere you go in the Philippines people know about the Igorot people. However, as I was discovering Benguet in a day trip I made with two friends, I discovered a personal issue with this people that has affected me a lot. How I love the culture of the Igorot people because their unique identity is the one of the few things we could present in the world to recognize that we are Asians too.

Asian countries have something in common: with regards to architecture, their small narrow eyes, and their culture. But in the Philippines, our culture is different. We are more to be like a Western country than Asian. Thank God the Igorot culture is surviving! They are a great help in maintaining the Filipino people as part of Asia. Simply, we are Asian but our culture is unique and distinct from others.

 The Igorots are our pride. Sadly, to my big surprise, I discovered that now, the Igorot culture is now a commodity. Yes, tourism helps our economy, but the sad thing is, do we need to sell the Igorot culture for profit? 

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I went in Benguet and in my day tour, I went to a park. In front of that park is a group of our very own Igorot brothers. They were joined in one area, compressed and closed. I wondered what they were doing. I approached them and I learned that they were eating their lunch.

Suddenly, some of them run toward us dragging us to have picture with them. Of course we did. It was our joy to experience the Igorot culture, to appreciate their culture and to know more about their culture. As a fun-traveler, it is my goal to search for the unusual, for a different culture, to meet people, to enjoy. Taking pictures with them will surely be a great opportunity to experience the beauty and culture of the Philippines.

As my two friends had a picture with the Igorot people, we were surprised. They asked money in exchange with our cultural experience with them. It inserted in my mind. This is no good. There are bad effects of tourism.

Because of my eagerness to be immersed with their culture, I captured these two Igorot elders. The surprising thing is, I had no absolute opportunity to experience and appreciate our very own Filipino culture in the person of these two Igorot brothers because I need to pay them first before capturing them in photos. 

The Igorot people's culture is now changing a lot. They go to the busy cities like Baguio for livelihood: not farming nor hunting but to harness the  great deals tourism industry could give them.

Try to notice the female Igorot in photo. She is doing a wacky shot known to our contemporary culture by raising her index and middle finger together or simply the "peace sign." Of course, without the influence of media, this Igorot woman will never learn this thing. 

The Igorot people usually live with their crops and livestocks in the mountains of Cordillera and Caraballo with their tribal leaders in their villages. But now, the trend is changing. The modernization of the world, especially the Philippines, a developing country has penetrated the unique customs and traditions of our indigenous people. Sadly, the rich culture and traditions of the Igorot people are in danger of extinction.


The younger generations already wear the modern clothes they see in the television. Their traditional attire has been put into shame themselves. Now, only the elder true-blooded Igorots now use their traditional clothes called "bahag." Although some younger Igorots use that clothing, surely, still more of them prefer to use modern clothes. Sometimes, they now only use those clothes during festivals or as a "costume" for dance competitions and cultural presentations and not merely using it as part of their daily culture.

Baguio Exploration Series

What to Eat in Baguio | The Fruits of FragariaWhat a Wacky Igorot!ABaguio City | Lady Horsie GagaBaguio City | Stolen at BaguioBaguio City | Baguio Botanical Garden in Full BloomBaguio City | Romance at the Burnham ParkBurnham Lake | Man-Made Lake Within a City in the MountainsMines View Park, Baguio | Becoming an Igorot for 30 minutesBaguio Cathedral | The Low-Degree AmbianceThe Mansion, Baguio | For Your Eyes Only

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Tags: Igorot People | Igorot Tribe | Cultural Issues | Issues about the Igorot People | Culture of the Philippines | Culture of Cordillera | Culture of Baguio | Culture of Benguet | Philippine Cultural Issues
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EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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