June 20, 2024

Let’s start with a healing prayer for a friend: “Think, O’ God, of our friend who is ill, whom we now commend to Your compassionate regard. That no healing is too hard if it be Your will. We therefore pray that You bless our friend with Your loving care, renew his/her strength, and heal what ails him/her in Your loving name.”

Thinking out loud: It’s not that Ibaloys (not all) are against Cordillera autonomy per se. Some are just rightfully or wrongfully fearful that their leaders and their alipores might be dominated by members of a more united and dominant ethnic group if it ever becomes so. What do you think?

Aug. 9 is not only this near-sighted Ibaloy writer’s natal day. More importantly, it is also World Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In celebration of this significant event, allow me to share my late father and idol, Atty. Gabriel Pawid Keith’s essay, “I Am an Igorot” composed when he was a student in the 1950s and when Benguet was still part of Mountain Province. It continues to be a popular oratorical piece:
“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 have 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 forefathers – blood borne by them who openly defied the authority of Spain in the year 1601. 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 hardworking ancestors; proud of the mountains, hills, rivers, trees, 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 gangsa 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.
Though in educational, economic, social and political aspects, I may be far behind; though in high society, I may be frowned upon; though all in all, I may be called a barbarian, still I shall shout aloud that all may know and hear – I am an Igorot!”

FYI: Mayor Benjamin Magalong vehemently opposed the move of the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board to open additional taxi franchises in Baguio City.
“I am objecting to this for the simple reason that we have oversupply of taxis amid this pandemic. Besides, the city government was never consulted on this,” the mayor said.

Here’s “As I Grew Older” by Langston Hughes: “It was a long time ago./ I have almost forgotten my dream./ But it was there then,/ In front of me,/ Bright like a sun—/ My dream./ And then the wall rose,/
Rose slowly,/ Slowly,/ Between me and my dream./ Rose until it touched the sky—/ The wall./ Shadow./
I am black./ I lie down in the shadow./ No longer the light of my dream before me,/ Above me./ Only the thick wall./ Only the shadow./ My hands!/ My dark hands!/ Break through the wall!/ Find my dream!/ Help me to shatter this darkness,/ To smash this night,/ To break this shadow/ Into a thousand lights of sun,/ Into a thousand whirling dreams/ Of sun!”