Reading Albert Jenks’ The Bontoc Igorot

Before I started reading Albert Jenks’ book on the Bontoc Igorots, I was ready to be offended. I was also prepared to write a snarky review and to bash the book with the righteous rage of an Igorot whose ancestors were slandered by an American writer.

I assumed that since Mr. Jenks is a “modern” American writing about the “primitive” Igorots in the early 1900s, he will be paternalistic and judgmental. In other words, I was prepared for him to say things like “Ugh, this people are really uncivilized. I’m glad we white people are here to save them.” Or “These people will all go to hell because they are not Christians.” You know stuff like that.

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GMA’s Minitrue: "My Father Built the Halsema Highway!"

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in this year’s State of the Nation Address: “My father built the Halsema Highway from Baguio to Bontoc, and the Bagabag airport in Nueva Vizcaya to access the Ifugao rice terraces, which by the way, the UNESCO has recently praised for the way we have carried out our heritage preservation policy….” (Emphasis supplied.)

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