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I Am an Igorot

By: Atty. Gabriel Pawid Keith


"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!” *********************************************************************'

The above essay entitled, “I am an Igorot", was written by Atty. Gabriel Pawid Keith, while he was a college student in the 1950s at the Mountain Agricultural College (now Benguet State University) for his undergraduate studies. Then pursued his studies to Baguio Colleges Foundation (now University of the Cordilleras) for his Law degree. Benguet was still a part of Mountain Province then. He passed away on Feb. 1, 2007. He was a proud Igorot from the Ibaloy tribe. It's from him who we owe this beautiful oratorical piece that is very popular up to this generation.

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