It’s been a week or two since the photos of the Cordilleran Carrot Man (Jeyrick Sigmaton) went viral on the Internet. He was seen carrying carrots and a photographer caught his attention. His photos were uploaded online because they wanted to know the identity of this heartthrob. Quickly his photos went viral. Facebook pages were created in his name. He was featured in GMA shows such as Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho and Unang Hirit.
But beyond the good looks, what are the qualities of a Cordilleran that many may not be seeing? Let’s take a look.
1. Cordillerans are not poor people – I have grown in Natonin, the neighbor town of where Jeyrick lives (Barlig). Once we walked 41 kilometers for one day from Natonin to Paracelis because public transport was not available. It was difficult – yes. But I didn’t feel deprived.
Jeyrick was seen carrying carrots and I have seen pages made for him that are romanticizing his “poverty”. While life may be hard in the mountains, we do not feel poor. We just know how to live simply. We focus more on what we need than what we want.
2. Cordillerans are good looking – Seriously. It’s not only carrot man but a lot of men and women in the Cordillera are good looking. I suppose this is true in other places as well.
3. Cordillerans usually have well built calf muscle – Well, I have one myself. Haha. It’s because the terrain in the mountains are up and down. And that makes us strong whether we need to walk long distances or up the mountains.
4. Cordillerans do not have the same dialect – Go to Bontoc and they speak Kankanaey but it’s different from Benguet Kankanaey. The people from the Barangay where Carrot Man grew up speak “Kenachakran” (Kadaclan) but it’s different from the dialect we people from Natonin (just a few kilometers away from Kadaclan) speak which is Balangao (Efarangao). So how do we understand each other? Well, almost all of us speak Ilocano and that is the language that binds us together.
UPDATE: My uncle Ignacio has this to say. “re. knowing Ilocano…; perhaps in ur present generation, yes, but during our time I can speak Balangao, my seat mate speaks Kadaclan & another seat mate speaks Majukayong and we communicate with each other…although we tease each other coz of our language differences…It was then absent from my mind why we understand each other.”
5. Cordillerans are not fanatics – My dad used to tell us that Judy Ann Santos went to Bontoc once but nobody cared. The politician who invited her got disappointed because he invited Judy Ann to promote the tourism in our place. But—nothing happened? Oh well. I guess Igorots just don’t have time to be fanatics because they’re busy minding their business. But now that Jeyrick Sigmaton aka Carrot Man got famous, will that change?
6. Igorots Love Country Music
“Country roads, take me home to a place I belong…” I almost failed to include this. 😀 Thanks to your comments, I am reminded of this. This is so true. Whenever I hear country music playing in a bus I feel nostalgic and miss home. Even here in Manila I listen to country music and country is the favorite genre I love to sing.
There you have it. That’s my list of qualities of a cordilleran inspired by Jeyrick Sigmaton aka Carrot Man. Do you agree with the list? Do you have anything to add? Please comment below.