The ancestral domain of the Igorots comprises the six provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao, and Mountain Province, plus the lone city of Baguio. This domain was not spared from the circumstances of the second world war prompting the natives to join the resistance against the Japanese invaders. Here’s a summary of an Igorota’s love affair with an American soldier in WW II.
Leading a group of twenty GI’s consisting of eight Americans and twelve Filipinos with the enemy in hot pursuit, the American Lieutenant was worried. His sergeant, a twenty year old Texan was wounded and without rest and medication he would certainly not make it. They were survivors of an ambush just twenty kilometers north of La Trinidad, detached from their unit and their only chance was to reach an undisclosed guerilla camp of Major Dangwa’s local resistance group which was about one hundred kilometers away.
They had barely done twenty kilometers of their journey when they met an elderly villager who saw how tired and weary the soldiers were and so, offered to take the wounded sergeant home to nurse him.
In an hour, the sergeants wound was cleansed and dressed by the good Samaritans daughter as the two Filipinos from the unit who volunteered to stay along ate the boiled sweet potato with hot tea that they were served.
The sergeant awoke at dawn. Hungry, he ate two pieces of sweet potato and drank ten ounces of tea as he wondered where in hell the pretty angel beside him came from.
When he got stronger the two Filipino soldiers left him to join their unit which was then with the Dangwa-Molintas division.
In time, love developed between the America GI and the Igorota. When his commanding officer came to fetch him, the GI promised to come back when the war was over. It was then that the enemy was at the brink of defeat.
The Japanese finally surrendered. The GI came back and offered to marry the girl much to the disagreement of her parents. The girl was to marry a local lad through parental engagement. Since she was deeply in love with the GI, they eloped and got married in Camp John Jay which was not too far away.
Angered and dishonored among his folk, the man renounced her daughter and in desperation sought the native priest for advice. He burned his daughter’s clothes, chanted and performed indigenous ceremonials.
After giving birth to a lovely daughter, and as if by the power of the spirits, the Igorota got ill and the army base doctor could not diagnose her ailment. Her ailment persisted and was so thin after more than three years.
Worried and anguished, The GI took his wife to the village that once have saved his life and with the aid of some officials, tried in vain to soften the heart of the father.
That night, at the barrio hall which also served as a clinic, the same village priest was sought for help and there, performed some rites
The next morning, two army jeeps of American and Filipino civilian employees at the army base arrived. With them were the little girl and their maids. Though weak and limp, the Igorota managed to bring her daughter to her father. The man was astonished. At the site of her half breed granddaughter and the woeful condition of her daughter, he burst into tears embracing them both.
To show his sincerity, he summoned his nephews quickly to make preparations for a festivity in thanksgiving as well as the native wedding ceremony. Americans from the army base were invited including officials of the town and the province.
As the seasons changed the Igorota miraculously regained her strength and all that remained for them was joy.
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