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?”
“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.
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.
All photos are taken from Google.