Valentine's Day: the Igorot Affection

February 16, 2010

Aint they cute, standing like the thumb and ring fingers? It's mama and papa I am featuring here. Oh, Mama is used to our teasing, she's meaning to  wring my neck now, lol.

For Valentine's Day, I want to share on Igorot affection (Igorots comprise the indigenous tribes in the mountains of northern Philippines, distinct for their culture and tradition, to my words synonymous to Pocanhontas' tribe (American Indians) in the United States or to the Australian Aborigines).

Igorot affection of course have evolved as Igorots join the global community or get infused outside the culture.

Igorots, of my parents' generation, are generally not romantic, if romantic is to mean red roses, candle-lit dinner, heart-shaped chocolates, hugging in public, kissing in public and anything of PDA (public display of affection).

Traditional Igorots define 'romantic' in another way though. Romance is a private thing, shown in terms of massages, special home-cooked food away from the public eye. Hehe, I caught papa hugging mama in their room when they forgot to lock the door and I barged in. I am particular of this because Papa brushes mama's arms 'kababain' if she teasingly asks papa to hold her arms along the sidewalk.

If this still persists, I'd say it is still triggered by culture. For example, my grandfather equates salvation to land ownership. He defines love to family as working hard to buy land and build house for each of the sons and daughters. So spending on restaurants is a waste of money.

Publicly hugging is also not part of Papa's culture. I can remember I wanted to catch every chance I could to hug Papa because when I grew up a little girl (he used to carry me, yes, when I was li'l and we play kiliti), I cant remember intentional hugging him. A dad hugging a grown-up child seemed to be a taboo or kinda corny for him. First chance I tried was when I passed the CPA board examinations, I ran to tell them the results and I was determined to hug him, and while he happily met me, he extended his palms, shook my hands to congratulate. Uggh! Failed!

So when my Church wedding came, I was so bent, this is it! As we reached Baguio Cathedral's altar in that ceremony where parents give the daughter to the husband, I tightly hugged papa a little longer (and mama of course!), with everybody witnessing! Success! 

I've been focusing on papa, but of course of mama, we, her seven kids, male or female, big and big, always hug and hug her, she's not so traditional and shy as papa, haha =) .

I hope this piece would be helpful for the non-Igorot ladies getting engaged to Igorot men. If you find the Igorot man un-romantic in your terms, wait to see him romantic in another way. Otherwise, expose him to your expectations of romance and he'll give back, after all, love begets love, aint it?

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