More on that Barrio Fiesta Peeing Igorot Man

Thanks to Sandati for informing me about this Google video which provides a greater context from which one can view the peeing Igorot man. After viewing the video I would agree that there seems to be no intent on the part of Barrio Fiesta restaurant to demean the Igorot image. But does it then mean that the statue of the peeing man is totally harmless? Was I totally off-base in pointing out that the picture depicts us in a bad light and that it reinforces negative stereotypes of Igorots? Definitely not.

So can a harmful image come out of something that its creators originally thought is harmless. Yes, this case illustrates that it does. Viewed with the other statues, one can see the humor of that peeing man. Taken separately, that peeing Igorot man really is bad. The problem here is that not a lot of people can go to that restaurant and have a proper appreciation of what the owners intended to depict.

The other problem is that the owners have no control over what people can photograph or videotape to ensure that their intent in presenting Baguio City’s “rich cultural heritage” is what comes out of these pictures/videos. Nope. People see a peeing Igorot man, they find it interesting, they then photograph or videotape it then upload them in the web. And these are the things that people who visit the web see — an unflattering depiction of an Igorot who is peeing in public being pursued by a security guard. Context be damned.

Do I blame the photographers and the videographers for doing it? Of course not. Do I blame Barrio Fiesta? Not anymore, after I watched the video that Sandati pointed out. But do we have a problem? Yes that statue of the Igorot peeing man, viewed separately, presents us in a bad light. It adds to the collective negative image that other people have of Igorots. (See: greedy Igorots, Igorots and their freaky culture, Igorots as objects of fun, an Igorot who only eats sardines — the blogger then changed Igorot to tagabundok when someone called him out on his ethnic slur, a drunken Igorot video, and many more to list.)

So if that statue reinforces a negative Igorot image even without the owner’s intent, what then do we do? For me the only logical thing to do is to ask them to remove it. Between the thousands of people who may go to Barrio Fiesta and who may come out of the restaurant having a positive image of Igorots (“Wow. That Igorot man, he has big muscles and well defined abs, no?”) and the millions of people who go to the internet and who may see an Igorot man peeing in public (“Yuck! These people are uncivilized talaga.”) there wouldn’t be a hard choice.

But why can’t we simply request the people who uploaded the video and the picture to remove them? Because its their right. And more importantly, because other people can go to Barrio Fiesta and take similar photos and videos and upload them in the web. The cycle goes on unless the source, no matter how innocuous its intent, is not plugged.

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7 thoughts on “More on that Barrio Fiesta Peeing Igorot Man”

  1. Wow, I had no idea there were so many blogs out there with such negative outlooks about Igorots. How disappointing! Kinda makes me lose hope with my fellow Pinoys. On the other hand, maybe there will always be jerks in the world but that people (for the most part) are generally good people. I’d like to think so….or am I just being a “Polly Anna”?

  2. Hi,
    Disappointing talaga and I didn’t have to look hard for them. They are in the first two pages if you type “Igorot” sa google blog search. I agree that Filipinos are generally good but a lot of them are misinformed which is why they have a negative view of Igorots.

  3. Congrats! I just learned from the bibaknets e-group that the Association of Young Igorot Professionals (AYIP) filed a complaint (it wasn’t mentioned with whom they filed it) about the statue.

    This isn’t really a lowlander-highlander thing. It’s about the need to present a group of people – Igorots or not – as accurately and as truthfully as one can. One negative image of an Igorot marks all of us as lawbreakers and ignorant and that’s not who we are, generally.

    Cheers!

  4. Hi Bugan,
    Welcome to the blog. And welcome to the blogosphere. Mas marami tayong bloggers from Cordi mas masaya. I added you to the links.

    Thanks for the info regarding what AYIP has done. Hopefully the authorities can do something about it talaga. This is definitely not a highlander/lowlander thing. Its just a statue which unfortunately reinforces the negative image that people usually have of Igorots.

  5. A friend from the media thinks the statue in Barrio Fiesta was intended for humor. I am willing to grant that. Unfortunately, the humor has an ethnic slur.

    Some people -men, in particular (Hey, no sublimed discriminatory or sexist message)- do urinate against walls including those on which “No peeing” signs are installed. They are not necessarily Igorots.

    Using an Igorot man to represent the “urinating man” cannot be divorced from how we as an ethnic group have been regarded by the majority culture. We have, for decades, if not centuries, been victims of ethnic prejudice. “Dogyocity” (being “dogyot” or dirty) has always been an oversimplified but strongly held idea (stereotype, in short) associated with Igorots. In St. Louis University where I teach, students from the lowlands are candid enough to admit that they always thought of Igorots as dirty people who rarely bathe and who spit and urinate with wild abandon anywhere! I would ask them, “What made you think so?” The answer: “Iyon po ang alam sa baba.” In this day and age, we Igorots are still on the defensive.

    Aware of the prejudice suffered by our people, I see where the idea that gave birth to the statue emanated from. It did come from a sense of humor. Alas, it is one that is prejudiced. The joke is not funny.

    Why I never noticed the statue before beats me. I thank Bill Bilig for bringing this matter to our attention.

    Barrio Fiesta can retain the statue. However, the urinating man must be “re-done” so it will look generic.

  6. that is for humor if only for the case that the peeing man is just wearing an ordinary clothes..but to hell he is wearing a bahag which is the identity of the cordillera that makes it offensive..somebody argued that we should look at the positive aspect, yes corect! we understand the reasoning of others as for fun or etc. but not all people in the cordilleras views the same thing as positive..some maybe angry and some maybe laugh for fun, but my point is why should we represent such tribe as the underdog by means of the bahag costume while in fact the restaurant is within the territory of the underdog..I know what the bario fiesta’s aims is to promote and have some fun,but having some fun with others cultures is not good at all…so let that peeing man as it is but change the costume.

  7. Don’t you find it funny. The Philippines protested when a Greek dictionary referred to Filipinas as maids? But in the Philippines, no matter how we try to correct the misinformations about the Igorots, they seem not to listen?

    Kaya siguro nadidiscriminate din ang mga Pilipino sa ibang bansa kasi dito parang wala silang balak alisin ang discrimination.

    Sometimes, they’re not only misinformed(they “volunteer” to be missinformed…. because they like having fun of people)… they like sticking to the negative stereotypes rather than really learning about the people. Even among the “educated” ones, they still look down on the igorot. Hey Carlos Romula was supposed to be “educated”. I could excuse the real igorant ones cause it’s easier to correct them adn they are more open. But the hard-headed ones are… ugh.. never mind.

    Hey Barrio Fiesta is owned by the Ongpauco’s right? They’re supposed to be “educated”.

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