More on Paulo Avelino…or Akala Ko Di Tayo Mahilig Sa Celebrity

This video, courtesy of Pinoy Rickey, shows a Starstruck episode aired two weeks ago where Paulo Avelino was asked about his seeming lack of pride in his Igorot roots — in Lorna Tolentino’s words, “hindi niya ipinagmamalaki na siya ay half-Igorot.” Whether this is true or not is something we do not know but he must have given that impression otherwise the issue would not have been raised in the TV program itself. Paulo’s answer wasn’t very straightforward. But in fairness to him, Lorna’s question was also confusing. The Lorna-Paulo exchange is in the middle of the video. This was also an episode where Paulo was nearly eliminated, as you will see towards the end of the video.

ON THE SPOT QUESTION & ANSWER
Lorna: Paulo, mula nung nag-start ang search hindi mo ipinagmamalaki na you are a half-Igorot. Umaasa ka ba na dahil dito makukuha mo yung suporta na natanggap ni Marky Cielo last year?

Paulo: Hindi naman po. Actually po sinasabi rin, inaadvise rin po sa akin na sabihin ko po. Sinasabi ko naman po. Last na po na sinabi ko yung nasa Baguio, tapos eh medyo na-edit out po yata. Pero ngayon po kinakausap na rin po ng parents ko, actually….. (He gets cut off because of the time limit.)

Is it just me or is the question badly phrased and therefore confusing? Why would Paulo expect to get the support (which mainly came from Igorots) that Marky Cielo obtained last year if he has not been proud of his Igorotness? As I said, I am confused with the question so I wouldn’t be too critical of Paulo’s so-so answer. At any rate, the issue now appears to be moot. According to Paulo, he has stated that he is a half-Igorot but this was edited out and not shown on television.

Now, although we all know that Igorots do not get crazy about celebrities, I think it is good that some of us are trying to become movie/television celebrities. Why? Because Igorots in show business have the most potential in changing the negative stereotypes about us. These stereotypes persist mainly because those who hold them have not really met or seen an Igorot. If they see what an Igorot actually looks like then it is very likely that they will change their negative conceptions.

Of course, in our own little ways we can open the eyes of those we meet but our impact will be limited to the small circles we are a part of. In contrast, Igorots in show business will have a much wider audience and will naturally have a much bigger impact. So should we support Paulo because he is one of us? I say yes, if only because he will increase our visibility as a people and in the process change how others look at us. Visibility is a very important tool in combating stereotypes especially those stereotypes that have no basis in actual fact which is usually the case with stereotypes about us Igorots.

Of course, Starstruck being a talent search, we should also also ask whether Paulo has the talent. It would be embarrassing to be supporting someone merely because he is one of us even though he is not up to par with the talent tests and the competition. Thankfully, mukhang may ibubuga naman ang bata as he has been cited for his confidence in singing and his skills in acting.

So go ahead and vote for Paulo here. Hindi ka naman siguro mapagkakamalang fanatic. He he. If he wins and have a long showbiz career (rather than just 15 minutes of fame), you will have done your part in increasing our visibility as a people which, at the risk of sounding repetitive, is very important in changing the negative stereotypes associated with us Igorots.

UPDATE: Sandati makes several points on this issue and comes up with the same conclusion that we should support Paulo. I pretty much agree with his/her assessment. S/he also raises a very important point about the role of parents in keeping our culture alive: “Our elders worry about annihilation of Igorot cultures if those in power submerge our communities by building dams, but in their very homes they kill a facet of the culture/s they want to preserve by not teaching their kids at least ten Kankanaey/Ibaloi/etc sentences?” Read the entire article here.

RELATED POST: Will Igorots Be Starstruck With Paulo Avelino? VIDEO CREDIT: Pinoy Rickey.

13 Comments
  1. I was uprooted from the Igorot soil at a young age and transplanted to a Tagalog pot for a considerable length of time. And if there is one thing the Tagalog culture has rubbed on me, it’s their hilig sa mga artista. So ayun, Sharonian ako. I even follow two soaps sa kapamilya kase i like these two pairs of young actors. Wala lang… all that to say na walang masama kung may Igorot (kahit hilaw, I mean half) na mag-aartista. Like you said, we really need people to represent us in the limelight and show the world how our ‘skin’ looks like. Teka, at makaboto na! 🙂

  2. I don’t watch Starstruck. But that doesn’t mean I’m not proud of our fellow Cordillerans, It’s just that it’s too hard for me to get hooked with reality shows.

    I don’t think Paulo is not proud of his Igorot roots. To me Lorna’s question was not confusing.. but rather it is offending. I really find it offending. They easily assumed that he’s not proud of his Igorot heritage. However I have my “theories” on why they came up with such assumptions.

    1) Paulo doesn’t look as Igorot as Marky(physical attributes). He’s kinda singkit but his Igorot features are not as strong as Marky’s.

    2) Cultural orientation. Paolo is a Baguio/Manila boy. So I think it is expected that he is not close to his Igorot heritage as much as Marky Cielo is. I think Marky has been living in MP since they moved out from the Visayas(or was it Mindanao?). Baguio, being a heavily cosmopolitan city(masmarami pa nga atang non-Cordillerans dito eh), Paulo’s cultural orientation would not be similar to that of Marky’s. Like me, I am a quarter(mas konti nga lang) Igorot and I’m not heavily oriented towards it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not proud of my Igorot lineage.

    3) No “Igorotak” from Paulo. Hehehe.

    4)Probably because of this: http://sandati.wordpress.com/2007/01/05/another-igorot-joins-starstruck/

    Hardly do they know that we Igorots are quite English-oriented people. Baguio used to be English and Ilocano-speaking before the rapid campaign in favor of Tagalog. My first language, admittedly, was English. I learned Tagalog when I went to school and Ilocano through listening to the conversations of my relatives. As I understand his father’s ethnic origin as stated on the quoted POV in the link I provided, his father is of Spanish descent(ala- Eduardo Masferre?…. hehehe).

    We can’t be really be sure but that what I think.

    Since our “kailians” are now starting to “come out of the cocoon”(hehehe), I do also think that this is our opportunity to wash away those untrue and unrealiable stereotype(like having tails…) against us. But we should also hope that our folks would really do this.

    Goodluck nalang kay Paulo.

  3. We can’t really be sure but that‘s what I think.

    Sorry ah. Hindi ko kasi ginamit yung preview option. Sinusubukan kong gamitin kanina ayaw. Nirefresh ko nga yung page para mapost ko yung comment. Hehe

  4. Ferri,
    Sharonian pala ha. Baka awayin ka ng maka-Maricel 🙂

    Betelnut,
    I was also wondering why they came up with such an assumption and your theories are very plausible. I especially like number two, iba talaga ang lumaki sa probinsiya where the indigenous culture is still strong (although unti unti ding nawawala) compared to Baguio City where you have a mix of different cultural influences. Thanks for the link, I didn’t know about the Engrish (according to Koreans he he) but, as you said, sanay naman kasi tayong mag-English. By the way, Marky came from Mindanao (Butuan City yata).

  5. I don’t really have an opinion on this because hindi ako mahilig sa mga reality tv shows. But my feeling is that Tolentino is just trying to stir up some controversy. What do you expect from an actress? I sympathize with Paulo on this one.

  6. Wil,
    That may be the reason why the Starstruck people didn’t show any clips of Paulo saying that he is half-Igorot. Because if they did show the clips, then there’s no point asking such a question that really invites controversy. Baaaad reality tv people .

  7. I watched on TV the “controversial” episode of Starstruck starring Paulo. I can’t really say if he isn’t proud of his Igorot roots but I guess he gave that impression because the kid got tongue-tied during the Q & A part. Parang shocked siya na tinanong yun. Instead of denying at once that he’s ashamed of his ‘Igorotness,’ he stammered and groped for words and then time ran out for him.

    But I do sympathize with him since it needs a lot of courage for an aspiring actor to announce on national tv that you’re an Igorot or that you have Igorot blood. I watched last year’s episode of Starstruck where the guy from Cebu recommended Marky to be eliminated “kasi iba siya sa amin” (read: for being an Igorot). But as things turned out, people from Cordi to Butuan overwhelmingly voted for Marky, thanks to the pambabastos.

    Maybe Paulo needs to be more forthright on how he sees himself. If he’ll play up his being half-Igorot or just keep it on the background. Despite my reservations for this kid, I did vote for him, of course:-)

    liezel

  8. Hardly do they know that we Igorots are quite English-oriented people.

    I know. I am an Igorot. Hence my blog is called Sandati.

    And that is why I agree with move to put Paulo on the spot. Click on my name and read the explanation.

  9. Liezel,
    Yes, that was really a very short time for him to explain himself. I also had reservations for the kid but after adding and subtracting and dividing he he, i ended up expressing my support. He’s just 17 (?) after all and has a long way to go in learning about and appreciating his roots. Thanks!

    Sandati,
    I agree with the things you raised in your post 🙂 I added a link to it in an update on this post. Thanks.

  10. Seems that the term “Igorot” has always been controversial. Hehe. Laging may controversy kahit saan ka lumingon.

    Maybe when it comes to things like this(national scale), we should replace Igorot with Cordilleran… to emphasize that we come from the region…just as much as those from Davao, CdO, etc… call themselves “Mindanaoan”, not “Bisaya”.

    At least, like the term Mindanaoan, it’s very broad and not marginalizing. Cordilleran is quite broad too. It would now incorporate the non-Igorots who have long settled in the region.

  11. hi again! taking from what you just said, paulo needs to learn fast about who we are as a people. remember, SS is a reality show. it’s a test of the teens’ strength of character, mala-psych war ba, to put it bluntly.

    by knowing more about cordi culture, paulo would look more confident and would not only impress us, his kailians, but even lowlanders as well. i guess the best thing we can do for this kid is to vote for him and ask other people to do the same. but in the end, it’s paulo’s (and his family’s) call. peace:)

    liezel

  12. Betelnut,
    Hehe, controversial talaga. Yung different Cordillera forums nga maraming debate about it. I think all sides of the debate have valid points so I’m sure its going to be an endless debate. Pero sa tingin ko naman ay pag may inapi sa atin ay nagkakaisa tayo, like what happened to Marky last year.

    Liezel,
    I wish he reads this blog, just so he gets to know his cultural roots better. Aba marami yata siyang matututunan dito. Meron folktales, merong funstuff, merong serious stuff, (hehe biglang nagpromote ng blog) and most importantly merong nuggets of wisdom coming from the comments section 🙂

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