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Friday, August 24, 2007

When South meets North

The ladies in the photo are not Igorots. They are young Muslim (Moro) professionals who belong to the 5th cohort of Congressional Internship Program for Young Muslim Leaders (CIPYML), which is a program I used to handle. One of their internship activities is to visit local government units where they can learn the interface of legislative and executive functions and how these are supposedly translated into programs and services.

In June last year, I brought them to Baguio not only for some R&R but to learn more about the culture of Igorots, and more importantly about the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

The Igorots and Moros share a yearning for self-determination. It would be recalled that the Igorots pushed for the creation of the Cordillera Autonomous Region during the Aquino Administration, but they failed to deliver the votes--thus the creation of the Cordillera Administrative Region, instead.

Much has been said about the Moros in their quest for self-determination (Unless you want me to discuss and you have the patience to read centuries of historical accounts). But my dissertation is rather simple. Like many Filipinos, it is my fervent prayer for this issue to finally come to a resolution so that peace and development would finally thrive in Mindanao, particularly in the ARMM and other conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. It is easier said than done, but Insha'Allah! (God willing!), we would also find a way to resolve this issue.

Much has been said against the Moros. I cringe at the thought that they are badly stereotyped. Having the chance to relate with them, getting to know what they think and aspire for, and going through what they feel, I had a better understanding of what they are, of their cultural pride and religious beliefs, as well as what they are fighting for.

As they took fancy of the Igorot costumes in Mines View Park, it was, for me, a meaningful learning experience. While I took this photo because they keep on saying they look beautiful in Igorot costume [so I should take their photo, sige na nga!], some more important thoughts were rambling in my mind. Their visit to Baguio and Benguet has further made them stand proud to belong to an indigenous people--and this became a special occasion to cherish the meeting of two great cultures of the South and the North.

Finally, if we only give ourselves a chance to don and get the feel to be in someone else's clothes (or walk in someone else's moccasins), it becomes a starting point for us to fully understand each other--we would be ready to break stereoptypes and other barriers to walk the path and lay down the foundation towards a lasting peace and development in Mindanao.

Salaam! (Peace!)

6 people have commented. Leave your comments too!:

They do look pretty in our Igorot costumes, as I think we will be when we wear theirs hehehe..

Your thoughts are so poignantly stated. I couldn't have said it better. Keep up and more power!

yeah sir, that was a rare and exciting experience indeed!a mere "thank you" to the people there, particularly the local officials of baguio city and the benguet province would not suffice for their most generous and hospitable accommodation of our presence. nevertheless, i say thanks to them! it's a great honor for us the people of the downsouth to be with the people of the upnorth like what our forefathers did. i remember that was an experience when people up there looked up to people down here.

fongakhan - thanks for the visit. I am sure yo will also look good in their native costume! I am glad that Kaigorotan is also blogging! Cheers!

Datch - indeed! it was a pleasant experience! Good luck in your graduate studies! Long live batch 5. Why don't yu blog? I am sure you can do your advocacy in your own little way...

I just love the picture! I also love the way you write. Keep writing. God bless po.

btw, i'm adding your site in my blogroll.if u don't mind.tnx po!;-)

HI Jhie!

Agragsak ak nga nabasam daytoy blog ko. Salamat! By all means, link me up.

Dios ti agngina!

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