June 22, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian 

An Igorot artist who created the illustrated books on Igorot culture is among the 10 honorees of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Awards of 2023. 

Tor Sagud, of Kankana-ey and Ibaloy descent, is recognized in the area of heritage promotion, as announced by TOYM organizer Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines on March 12.

Sagud said he did not expect to be one of the awardees, as he was just sharing his work and his philosophy to one of the TOYM selection committees, who earlier called him for the possibility of being one of the TOYM candidates. 

Sagud created the Igorotak book series which include the 2019 hit “Igorotak: An Illustrated Guide” that showed general information about Igorot culture the people, cultural attire, local flora and fauna, among others in colorful illustrations. 

He said he did not patent his book template format for future authors and educators to follow. 

“True enough, after a few years, many authors locally and abroad had followed it and even improved it. They also applied it in other forms of media. They saw the effectiveness of my formula. Even foreigners drop a message of appreciation once in a while,” he said. 

The TOYM awardee is happy to see that his work has inspired other artists like fashion designers, starting or known painters, muralists, and ethnic dancers, among others, who adopted the ideas from his artworks, presenting all the ethno-linguistic groups in the highlands in their platform. 

Sagud is currently working on “Igorotak: Igorot Creatures Collection”, volumes 2 to 3, which he hopes to be published this year amid his busy schedule as an educator. 

He is also continuing to write another version of the “Igorotak: An Illustrated Guide”, where each of the six provinces of the Cordillera will be featured.   

Sagud, who established his own Studio Sagud is also producing the pulp comics “Kadangyan Komiks”. He said the studio is helping young creatives, especially in the field of animation to upskill themselves. 

Other TOYM awardees are Jan Carlo Punongbayan for economics, Kenneth Isaiah Abante for socio-civic and voluntary leadership, Ruel Amparo for agri-entrepreneurship, Khrista Francis Desesto for overseas workers’ empowerment, Mark Gersava for agri-entrepreneurship, John Mark Napao for sustainable energy, EJ Obiena for sports, Ma. Regaele Olarte for education, and Stephen Michael Co for food technology innovation and entrepreneurship.

“These outstanding individuals have demonstrated unparalleled commitment, innovation, and leadership in their respective fields, embodying the spirit of positive change and progress. They have not only excelled in their fields but have also embraced innovation with passion, driving positive change in their communities and beyond,” the JCI stated.

Sagud said his achievement was a collective effort from all the people who supported him.  Sagud thanked all those who supported him particularly Charmaine Balisong, Dheiryl Mendoza-Tombali, Edgar Kawig Jr, and the JCI Baguio Sunflower team; for their effort in putting him in the selection as well as to JCI Philippines and the TOYM personnel.