The Carrotman: just a face?

I’m happy that someone “discovered” Jeyrick Sigmaton. Because of him, the Igorot tribe has been trending in the Philippines for the past weeks.

I’m frustrated that until now a lot of Filipinos are still misinformed about the looks and lives of the people of Mt. Province. I shake my head in disbelief because, I agree, Jeyrick is good-looking but a huge population of the Cordillerans are equally handsome. Believe me, his features are the norm up in the mountains.

I cringe when I watch him on TV and he is asked silly questions. It makes him look superficial.

In one recent interview he was asked,
“Do you want to go back to school? What did you finish?”

He answered,
“Yes, grade 6.”

And they moved on to other nonsense questions like, “Who of the Filipino actors do you want to meet?” or “Do you eat carrots?”

Even the comments and conversations of netizens are frivolous. For them, he’s just a hot guy showing off his body in a g-string.
carrot-man-igorot

I’m disappointed because the Filipinos are feasting on his good looks and are just scratching the surface of a deeper social and cultural reality.

In an ideal world, he shouldn’t be carrying loads of carrots when his photo was first taken. He should be in school with other 21 year olds.

Mt. Province has an education problem. There is a massive lack of schools, teachers, finances, and opportunities for the youth. Many of them are like the Carrot Man who end up supporting their family at a young age.

Most of them don’t really care about TV or being famous. Their daily goal is to help their family get food on the table, even if it means carrying heavy baskets of carrots up and down the mountain trails.

After Jerick went viral, then what? Will he be just a phase or a face that people craze about ’till the next one comes along?

What can you do to make a difference in the lives of the tribal youth? Ogling at their pretty faces not included.

I pray that we all look beyond the carrots and see the hands and shoulders that carry them.

Know more about the tribal youth ►

All photos are taken from Google.

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17 thoughts on “The Carrotman: just a face?

  1. Spot on! I don’t think most of our fellow Filipinos realise that his facial feature is a norm in the Cordilleras rather than an exception. I clearly recall being asked recently why I am not dark-skinned and don’t have very curly hair.

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  2. i hope somebody or an agency would sponsor an scholarship for jerrick so he could finish his studies because he has that ambition… any taker?

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  3. i had been working in makati for 5 years before and i also experienced being discriminated buy lowlanders. When they heard me say im an igorot they ask me where’s my tail, why i have straight hair? some even ask me if how often i go for hair rebonding.
    , but i always answer people who ask me the same question with this ” look at me properly and if you see my tail comes out it means to say you came from hell but, if you dont, you came from heaven”…I also once joined extra rules in tv series ” Mangarap Ka” by ABS CBN way back 2004. And i can still remember one of the crew called me fair aeta.

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  4. I was born an Episcopalian and I used to work in the Cordilleras. . People do not really know our brothers up there. . They are good people. .

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  5. Lucky are still the cordillerans, rich soil to farm and warm people to get along. you are right with the igorots atittude towards materials and looks, they are still hardworking regardless of what job is infront of them as long as it counts to life, they will do it. They finishes the day with dirty clothes and wet body from pirespiration but end up in a home thats trully their own.

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  6. SOMETIMES PEOPLE SHOULD RESEARCH ALSO THE HISTORY BECAUSE IGNORANCE IS NOT AN EXCUSE , I AM A FULL BLOODED IGOROT MY CHILDREN AND SIBLINGS , NEPHEWS AND NIECES THEY ARE ALSO HANDSOME AND BEAUTIFUL WE BELONG TO THE APPLAI TRIBE , AND MOST OF US ARE EDUCATED, iGNORANT PEOPLE PRETEND THAT MOST OF FBI’S ARE VERY POOR , THEY DON’T KNOW THAT WE ARE JUST HARDWORKING PEOPLE AND WE LIVE A SIMPLE LIFE , NOT THE SHOWY TYPE.

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  7. Thank you for writing this, Violet. As a youth worker, i always wonder how to reach out to the tribal youth. Pray that we’ll get a chance to expand our ministry and reach them and learn from them. 😃

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  8. You have a very good point there Violet. Being a half blooded Igorot, pretty faces like Jeyrick isn’t a new thing for me but I also am thankful for the attention given by the netizens because awareness about Cordillera (people, culture and place alike) is rekindled through Jeyrick’s photos. And I take it as a blessing that they get to see and interview the real person behind the pretty face because a lot of “Why”s and “How”s pop up from people who don’t know much about Cordillera. This in turn should become a platform for the Cordillerans as well as those who have good knowledge about Cordillera to interact and give a pretty good picture of the life, culture and beauty of the Cordillera. And such as you have shed knowledge about our Tribal Youth, for I also do not really know much about what’s going on in the Cordilleras (having lived in the lowlands most of my life and now overseas). And who knows, this too will become an eye opener for the government, philanthropist or other organizations to look deeper into the situations and opportunities in the region and do something to improve it.

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  9. You have a very good point there Violet. Being a half blooded Igorot, pretty faces like Jeyrick isn’t a new thing for me but I also am thankful for the attention given by the netizens because awareness about Cordillera (people, culture and place alike) is rekindled through Jeyrick’s photos. And I take it as a blessing that they get to see and interview the real person behind the pretty face because a lot of “Why”s and “How”s pop up from people who don’t know much about Cordillera. This in turn should become a platform for the Cordillerans as well as those who have good knowledge about Cordillera to interact and give a pretty good picture of the life, culture and beauty of the Cordillera. And such as you have shed knowledge about our Tribal Youth, for I also do not really know much about what’s going on in the Cordilleras (having lived in the lowlands most of my life and now overseas). And who knows, this too will become an eye opener for the government, philanthropist or other organizations to look deeper into the situations and opportunities in the region and do something to improve it.

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  10. True,,,seeing how hard life is ,,something the government should consider improving the life and education in the cordilleras!

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  11. At first when I saw the post shared by friends wow what a look.. hard working but for me farmers are really hard work and I grow up being one so I understand what life farmers go through. ..
    Being an igorot like him is one of which I was proud of bcoz alot pilipin itself discreminating us IGOROT /CORDILLERIAN . So my thought is that through him some of our country men will know how igorot looks/ character / nature / culture will be known ..
    People have different ideas in every single views but I hope we will be respected by everyone being igorot.. bcoz we are also human being a normal people like them..
    And being a farmer is not easy. Working hard under the sun.. love us even we are just a farmer.

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  12. This is so true. The people in Benguet and nearby provinces are goodlooking and nice. I have so much admiration for people from these areas. My experiences with them are unforgettable. They are so welcoming and they sincerely wish you well while traveling in their area. People in the cities tend to be superficial.

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