Candy Pangilinan's "Tao po ako, hindi po ako Igorot" Remark

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I was checking my "igorot" blog alert when I noticed a post titled "my apologies". I quickly opened the link which led me to Candy Pangilinan's apology to the Igorot people on her Multiply blog. Upon checking other sources, I learned that Ms. Pangilinan, a comedienne, uttered an ignorant "Tao po ako, hindi po ako Igorot" (I'm a human being, I'm not an Igorot) remark on her pre-Mother's Day show in Baguio City.

I'm ignorant myself on most Filipino showbiz personalities so I don't know this comedienne. A close friend from my Pisay and UP-Diliman days, a non-Igorot, emailed me about the incident and that she was disappointed with the comedienne's remark. My friend also said that she expected more from Ms. Pangilinan than the average showbiz person. I gathered from her email that this comedienne is also a graduate from UP, as she commented that "kulang pa rin ang edukasyong nakukuha ng mga tao sa UP".

I don't have to hear how Ms. Pangilinan delivered the line to know how outrageous it was. Judging from the reactions of those who have heard it directly during the show, it wasn't funny at all. In a Baguio City online forum, readers have expressed their anger at the remark. This is also true for some members of an Igorot mailing group I belong to. But I didn't feel the same sentiments because I read Ms. Pangilinan's apology first, before I learned more information about the incident.

I admire her efforts to try and correct the mistake she has done. Her written apology, which she admitted to have edited multiple times, doesn't hide the fact that she made a mistake, and that she was disappointed at herself for being irresponsible. No sugarcoating, no excuses, just a humble apology and a plea for understanding. I also learned from different sources that she immediately apologized before the show ended, and she has aired her apology on nationwide TV as well.

I'm sure fellow Igorots may not feel the same sentiments as I do, and I don't blame them. Some of the comments I see show deep resentment for Ms. Pangilinan. I wouldn't want to be on her shoes at this time. I do hope that she really has learned her lesson. As a professional who makes her living out of entertaining people, the first thing that she should NOT do is to antagonize her audience. She should also be thankful that the consequence of her mistake so far is just being toasted in cyberspace. Had it happened in other places, eggs, tomatoes, or even stones would have been thrown at her had she made a comment of similar impact. Or, possibly even worse.

Though the normal reaction for such a mistake is to get hurt by it, I urge fellow Igorots to go beyond the normal reaction and get over this incident. The person made a mistake, and has apologized for it. Whether she's sincere or not is already between her and God. It's fine to express outrage over the matter, and to highlight it so other people can learn from it. But once the lesson is learned, it is time to move on.

As I was thinking about this post, it dawned on me that I am guilty of making such remarks as well. The other day during lunchtime, a colleague jibed me for emphasizing that a fellow employee's inefficiency is due to her race. The point is, we all make mistakes as Ms. Pangilinan does. The only difference is that Ms. Pangilinan is a paid public performer, and I'm not. At least she got to apologize - I still have not.

I suppose I’m in such a forgiving mode since we just had a Bible Study at our place with a topic on “loving others fervently”. Hahaha. In the bigger scheme of things, there may well be a silver lining to this incident. I don’t intend to trivialize the emotions of those who got hurt by Ms. Pangilinan’s remark. But I strongly believe that educating other people is the only way to stop Igorot bashing of any kind. The attention her mistake has generated will make others more aware of who the Igorots are. We’re not the ugly, uncivilized, dirty, ignorant, dumb animals that others think we are. We’re normal Filipinos, deserving of anyone’s respect as the other person.

Related Links: Candy Pangilinan's Apology | Baguio City Online Forum; Image Source:


AdB May 14, 2009 at 6:21 AM  

Am curious... is there an existing social or ethnic prejudice against Igorots?

I am aware that there exists an urban mentality prejudice against being too provincial folks.

Anonymous May 14, 2009 at 6:23 AM  

Poor CANDY, cry cry cry until we accept your apology, but make sure that its not a crocodile tears. you cannot fool us by that showbiz tears

SaGaDa-iGoRoT May 14, 2009 at 7:30 AM  

AdB - there is an existing ethnic prejudice against Igorots, even from educated Filipinos. A lot of it is due to ignorance on who we really are. There's a history behind it to and it apparently goes back to the Spanish era. The Spaniards who were not able to conquer the Igorots and their gold perpetuated a kind of propaganda against Igorots that remain to some lowlanders until this day.

Anonymous May 14, 2009 at 11:08 AM  

ukininana nga candy dayta. awan panunot na.

Kayni May 14, 2009 at 12:57 PM  

i'm still trying to grasp what was she trying to convey anyway. i'm glad she did recognize her mistake.

Anonymous May 14, 2009 at 8:32 PM  

Good thing she apologized.. As to her sincerity - that would be between her and God as you have said..


kg May 14, 2009 at 9:45 PM  

nice post! yes, we all make mistakes, and if ms pangilinan is sincere, people must at least try to forgive her.

btw, i like the way you write. :)

Maddy May 14, 2009 at 10:33 PM  

nice blogs uncle.. hehehe...

i only got to see them now.. (^_^)

Anonymous May 15, 2009 at 2:05 AM  

I know how soft-hearted Filipinos could be and would probably embrace Candy Pangilinan after reading her apology, however this matter should not be taken lightly and should be discussed and deliberated everywhere. Prejudice and insensitive discrimination in the form of '(bad)humour' is a common occurrence delivered by not 'smart' enough comedians such as Candy Pangilinan (UP? tsk tsk tsk)everywhere...from comedy bars, to TV to movies.....people should start to stand up and shout foul when they hear discriminatory remarks and jokes such as this. this "tao po ako hindi igorot" has been used many times over in comedy bars, and there was no line delivery mistake-it was in fact, exactly the punchline!

SaGaDa-iGoRoT May 15, 2009 at 5:04 PM  

hi anonymous 2:05am. i agree that "this matter should not be taken lightly and should be discussed and deliberated everywhere". it has to be in the proper venues, and with the right way of discussion. however, it is to be done in a manner that's corrective, not divisive. if it becomes a swearing slugfest, the objective may be easily lost. let the world know that the name and the culture of the IGOROTS should not be discriminated against. and when people do learn, give them credit for that.

Anonymous May 18, 2009 at 1:25 AM  

that sour Candy is obviously miseducated, judging from her racist remarks.
She should know that the igorots have a very proud history...far better than her(candy's) people. the igorots were never colonized...not now, not ever.
candy's people(the filipinos) consistently rank among the world's most corrupt. the philippines is among the world's most dangerous places. stealing and lying have become badges of honor among filipinos. they have a sister named Nicole. their actors become politicians and their politicians become actors. they go to church every sunday and do evil the rest of the week...
now who is more "tao", the filipinos or the igorots?

SaGaDa-iGoRoT May 18, 2009 at 11:59 PM  

anonymous 1:25AM. it seems that you're trying to differentiate igorots from filipinos. you can't. the igorots are a sub-set of the filipino people. we just have a different culture, a different background. i'm not here to prove we're superior over other filipinos. it's for everyone's benefit that we acknowledge our differences yet respect each other as fellow filipino citizens.

Noldie Taroogs May 25, 2009 at 2:39 AM  

yet another example of shooting off one's mouth without thinking. haay nako. nasa dulo talaga palagi ang pagsisisi :-(

Anonymous May 25, 2009 at 5:47 AM  

being resilient filipinos as we are, a text message is going around that if igorots are not human, let it be said that we are gods and goddesses hehe...kidding aside, it is true that it is high time filipinos get to know and appreciate fellow filipinos, not just the igorots!

sagadablues May 28, 2009 at 2:30 AM  

poor candy,that's what people get for misjudging us igorots,hay,if they only know our roots,hoping her apologies are real,

iveebee March 6, 2010 at 9:56 PM  

i am no Igorot but I work with them here in CAR. From my experiences with you, I see that the Igorots are far more human and in touch with their essence than we "colonized" lowlanders. It's so annoying and almost irritating to hear fellow lowlanders say "modern igorots yung mga kasama mo"? There really is that mentality among unaware lowlanders that Igorots are "left behind", unglobalized, "undeveloped". But see, "development" in the perspective of lowlanders is really of patriarchy, of commercialism. The Igorot concept of development is for the oneness with everything. I claim to be an "adopted Igorot".

grace davis January 10, 2013 at 5:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous January 10, 2013 at 5:16 PM  

I myself and other children from our place were told "Igorots are not Filipinos... Its crazy how People like discriminating Igorots when in fact Igorots are major contributors of the Philippine economy...