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: Pep.ph