Category Archives: Mt. Province

Excerpt # 2: Albert Ernest Jenks on Igorot Peoples

ALBERT JENKS: In several languages of northern Luzon the word “Ig-o-rot'” means “mountain people.” Dr. Pardo de Tavera says the word “Igorrote” is composed of the root word “golot,” meaning, in Tagalog, “mountain chain,” and the prefix “i,” meaning “dweller in” or “people of.” Morga in 1609 used the word as “Igolot;” early Spaniards also used the word frequently as “Ygolotes” — and to-day some groups of the Igorot, as the Bontoc group, do not pronounce the “r” sound, which common usage now puts in the word. The Spaniards applied the term to the wild peoples of present Benguet and Lepanto Provinces, now a short-haired, peaceful people. In after years its common application spread eastward to the natives of the comandancia of Quiangan, in the present Province of Nueva Vizcaya, and northward to those of Bontoc.

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Excerpt # 1: Albert Jenks’ General Impressions on the Bontoc Igorot

ALBERT JENKS: It seems not improper to say a word here regarding some of my commonest impressions of the Bontoc Igorot. Physically he is a clean-limbed, well-built, dark-brown man of medium stature, with no evidence of degeneracy. He belongs to that extensive stock of primitive people of which the Malay is the most commonly named. I do not believe he has received any of his characteristics, as a group, from either the Chinese or Japanese, though this theory has frequently been presented. The Bontoc man would be a savage if it were not that his geographic location compelled him to become an agriculturist; necessity drove him to this art of peace. In everyday life his actions are deliberate, but he is not lazy. He is remarkably industrious for a primitive man.

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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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