Welcome to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Igorota

Now Blogging from the Philippines, Cambodia, New Jersey, Austria, Ireland, Spain, the United Arab Emirates & Maryland!

Friday, February 6, 2009

meet the igorota-toting sisters, part 2

As promised, here's the second installment of the online interview with the three other sisters that carry Miss Igorota the Doll Explorer. If you missed the first part, you can read it here or simply click the link with the itty-bitty strawberry on the left-hand sidebar that says "meet the sisters, part 1."

The dolls have been given nicknames to help distinguish them from each other location-wise. Hey, it's fun to have nicknames!

"Have doll, will travel!"

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Igorota:

Gingmaganda: Travels with Mr. Igorot & Ms. Igorota/"Coco Jam Iggy" (works for both genders, hehe)

maligayang pagdating sa mundo ng mapagpalayang panitikan!
ako si gingmaganda. patay na ang pink na iPod kaya't kinakantahan ko na lamang ang aking sarili sa pagtulog. basahin ang aking mga tula dito.
(welcome to the world of liberating literature! i am gingmaganda. my pink ipod has died so i just sing myself to sleep. read my poetry here.)

Sreisaat: Travels with "Khmer Iggy"/"Outback Iggy"

I have a sunshine and sunflower personality, laced with enough barbed-wire to make it more interesting.

The Becky/Dyowsa: Travels with "Singapurple Iggy"

handles too many secrets. comedian, writer, diplomat and humanitarian.

Interview with the Sisters

Hi! Where are you originally from?

Gingmaganda: i was born in sampaloc, manila, philippines. my mom was a teacher in bacolod when she was pregnant with me and had to go back to finish the sem so i was left in the care of my dad and lola in pasay city. then we moved to quezon city, then to antipolo, rizal and then to project 4, quezon city where the bulk of my childhood memories congregate. and then we finally settled here in cainta, rizal. my dad is from surigao in mindanao and my mom is from abra in northern luzon.

Sreisaat: I'm originally from Roxas City, Capiz, Philippines. Born in Roxas City, grew up in Quezon City and Angono, Rizal, then went back to Roxas City again to finish elementary and high school. I went to Cebu for my university degree.

The Becky: Oh...this is interesting. I was born (and conceived!) in Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines. Due to my dad's nature of work, we moved around quite often. I've lived in Sta. Mesa, Manila and Cainta. My family is now based in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna. If you mean 'from', as in ancestry--my father is from Cagayan in the North while my mother is from the other side of Luzon: San Juan, Batangas. Now, if you look for them in your handy map, they are literally from the opposite ends of Luzon. (feeling special!)

Where do you live now?

Gingmaganda: i consider cainta, rizal, home. i live in a bright yellow house with a bright red roof on a street corner.

Sreisaat: I live in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I've been here for more than 8 years now (going 9 this April).

The Becky: Er--Singapore. :)

How did you become part of the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Igorota"?

Gingmaganda: i got a Lilo (of Lilo and Stich fame) doll from Connie some years ago. when i was in the Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet, i saw these iggy dolls and immediately thought of connie. i got a doll for her and some for me as well. then she asked me to join the blog when i started doing photos of my own iggy dolls. it was really amusing for me having her take miss iggy's pictures at all these different locations. it was a laugh.

Sreisaat: I met Fortuitous Faery at Litratong Pinoy. It turned out that we both come from the same hometown and started visiting each other's blogs. We exchanged emails and I think that's when she asked if I would be willing to contribute to Miss Igorota's adventures.

The Becky: Uhh--I think Conniechiwa invited me. Now, how did we know of each other? I think it might have had something to do with gingmaganda and her Blythe obsession. Long story, folks.

Why did you decide to join this blog? (Any coercions, bribes, threats?)

Gingmaganda: i was in by default. haha.

Sreisaat: No bribes, nor threats at all. It was a mutual agreement! hehehe. Who would refuse such a brilliant idea of a traveling Igorota?

The Becky: Mine is purple...world peace... Oh, did I just mention that miss singapurple iggy is--purple? Mine is purple...world peace...

Have you ever traveled/do you travel with a toy/doll/object other than Miss/Mr. Iggy?

Gingmaganda: yes? ever since i was little i always had to have some sort of security object with me. it started with a tube-shaped pillow named Abra, and then a little ducky stuffed toy named Duckie. recently it's been Hodge (a teddy-dog), Stitch, Piggy (a blythe), a Jack Sparrow action
, Lilo, Bratz Kidz, a petite Blythe named Thursday... and the list goes on. i am what you call a person who has issues. haha.

Sreisaat: I used to bring with me a batik malong wherever I go. It was given by my university roommate who's from Surigao.

The Becky: I used to bring my Blythe doll with me, but eversince that incident in Po Lin monastery in Lantau I learned my lesson: anything with heavy heads are prone to falling 'face down'. These days I bring a toy camera from my collection, then there's miss iggy. Kermit jr. is tagging along for the wedding though. He's representing the other motif (for my wedding), which is--urm...green.

Do your family and friends know that you blog for an igorota doll?

Gingmaganda: some of my friends do. my family...my family...my family...they don't know what a "blog" is. haha.

Sreisaat: Family, yes, even the in-laws :), some friends also know of Miss Igorota's adventures.

The Becky: My fiance (now husband) does. And my folks.

Has anyone told you you're crazy for taking photos of a doll in public places?

Gingmaganda: no. people know i'm crazy enough as it is without an iggy doll in hand. i do get asked though if it is a voodoo doll.

Sreisaat: There were a few snobbish-old-fart foreigners who raised their eyebrows and turned their noses up in the air (I seriously think they're expats here - and they are definitely the NGO-crowd type-- because tourists would somehow understand what I'm doing) but most people who saw me, especially the locals, were more amused at the idea and curious at the concept that I ended up answering their questions about Miss Igorota, who, I was told, looks just like any chunchiet (indigenous minority) from the northeastern part of Cambodia.

The Becky: will i look uncrazy if i stop taking photos of a doll in public places?

Have you ever been to Baguio City or anywhere else in Benguet Province? If yes, what's your favorite thing about Baguio/Benguet?

Gingmaganda: i kind of grew up in La Trinidad, Benguet. i go there once or twice a year. my extended family is based there.

my favorites in Benguet include: my family, my kuya's (big brother's) house in La Trinidad, the market, the ukay-ukay, the mountains, the cold climate, manang linda's cooking, the flowers, the people (mostly the iggys), and every now and then you get a glimpse of the hippies that are still up and about in the city. it's cool. it's like being still in the 70's.

i am missing my kuya though, he passed away at the age of 26 due to an aneurysm. he was the one who took me places there when i was little.

Sreisaat: The first and last time I went to Baguio was in the 90s for a national school paper conference. We stayed at Teacher's Camp in Baguio. I love the cool weather, pine tree-lined roads, the strawberry jams, strawberry and chocolate crinkles and peanut brittles, the everlasting flowers, and the lovely people I met along the way...

I vaguely remember how Baguio looks like now (I went there before THE earthquake) so I'm making it my mission to visit Baguio the next time I go home, and maybe go further up - to Sagada.

The Becky: Yes, but a long time ago. My favourite thing about this trip is this chocolate drink I had at the Manor Hotel. It was thick, smooth yet light (not the throaty-sensation you get from drinking chocolate drinks). Overall, I love the cultural side of it--the Igorots and the irony behind their oversized 'americanas', and how people very often misrepresent igorotas as dark-skinned and looking very indigenous. (okay, long-winded na..)

What kind of camera(s) do you use to photograph Mr./Ms. Iggy?

Gingmaganda: i have a pink sony cybershot. i also use my dad's mobile phone cam for fun. i plan to shoot with film. i hope i remember to.

Sreisaat: Sony Cybershot DSC-W35.

The Becky: I use my camera phone, aka iPhone. Only recently--my blackbird, fly and my Holga K200.

So far, where have you traveled with Miss/Mr. Iggy?

Gingmaganda: here and there. boracay in aklan i think is the farthest we've gone off to. the iggy blog was not yet operational when i was really going places, although i already had the iggy dolls with me. that kind of makes me saaaad.

Sreisaat: Only within Cambodia - in Phnom Penh and in the coastal town of Kep. If only Ms. Iggy came earlier, I could have taken her to lots of places as I used to travel a lot within Asia. But, there are plans to go overseas this year so Ms Iggy and I are keeping are fingers crossed!

The Becky: Hmm.. Holland Village in Singapore, Manila, Binondo, Tagaytay and my dentist.

What dream destination(s) would you like to visit with Ms./Mr. Iggy?

Gingmaganda: tortuga, middle earth, shipwreck cove, on board the Black Pearl, Frida Kahlo's house in Mexico.

Sreisaat: I'd love to go to Europe -- to Prague of my dreams :) And if there's an opportunity, to Africa and South America.

The Becky: I'd like us to visit Casa Mila in Barcelona, Prague Castle and Palawan. And the Uluru!

What's the hardest part of traveling with your doll(s)?

Gingmaganda: travelling? travelling is always a breeze. hee. i just don't want to get her wet seeing as it is that she has non-waterproof mascara on.

Sreisaat: No problems so far. The only hassle I've encountered was when locals mill around me while I'm taking Miss Iggy's photos. Also one time a traffic cop accosted me for taking a photo of Miss Iggy right at the same spot where they were. These Phnom Penh cops are a sensitive bunch. They thought I was trying to take a photo of them accepting bribes from truck drivers and traffic offenders. Mukhang guilty? Guilty talaga sila *lol* but of course, I just had to disguise myself as a tourist.

The Becky: carriage. :)

What travel souvenirs do you take home from a trip?

Gingmaganda: stones. pictures, beach sand. tickets. shirts, anklets and bracelets and earrings. if there are dolls, they go in my luggage too. i'm a souvenir hoarder as this is what i use to give away come the Holiday season.

Sreisaat: Ay caramba, a lot! Fridge magnets, postcards, stamps, maps, mouse pads, key chains. Just like Fortuitous Faery, I am also souvenir junkie *lol*

The Becky: fridge magnets, lot of stories and definitely-- pictures.

What do you like most about where you live?

Gingmaganda: i love the way the sun falls on everything. everything is yellowy and warm. it gives me a very nice feeling. i love my country because of its history, its geography (beaches!) and the post-colonial culture gives us something to talk about for the most part of the evening. hehe. also, i so heart the foood and music.

Sreisaat: It's almost like my hometown in the Philippines - so similar, yet so different :) The people are nice and friendly, the rich culture and history, the lifestyle is relatively laidback, food is great, and most of all -- Vietnam, Laos and Thailand are all a bus ride away!

The Becky: I dunno--it's safe and the people are honest. Left something in public? You'll find it there when you come back for it, sometimes it will even find you!

If your Igorot/Igorota doll(s) could talk, what do you think would it say?

Gingmaganda: miss iggy: fix my headband! mr. iggy: fix my hair!

Sreisaat: Parang awa mo na, paliguan mo na ako! (Maalikabok kasi dito e.) [Please have mercy, bathe me! (It's dusty here.)]

The Becky: It'll probably belt out Dave Matthews' 'Where are you going?'.

What travel tip would you like to share with us?

research, research, research! it helps to know offbeat destinations and the like. also, take a steady supply of tummy medicine. haha. i usually bring my own water for the first day. and i have a standard list of things to bring so packing is not as troublesome. go to the market of that specific place- it will tell you loads about the area. keep a journal, and take loads of photos with you in them hahaha.

Sreisaat: Know where you are going and what to see and do there, allow extra time for delays, obtain necessary docs (visa, entrance permits, etc.), know what type of clothes to wear/dress appropriately, always bring with you a rain gear (you'll never know), most important of all, always be aware of what's going on around you!

The Becky: Keep an open mind. Read and research, but make room for surprises. They tell better stories afterwards.

Thank you, ladies!


Anonymous said...

I'm still getting to know the writers behind this blog (I did not realize there were three). Finally, you went out and introduced yourselves.

I find your adventures very amusing. I see you've all been up here in Baguio.

This is one of the favorite blogs that I like to see when I do blog hopping duties and I love learning more about the places you've been.

Thanks for sharing. By the way, it has been quite cold these past few days.

Dennis Villegas said...

wow dami palang writers nitong blog? galing..very talented po kayo to make such a wonderful site...nice meeting your here and knowing some infos about you.

meron din po ba mister igorot na doll?

♥♥ Willa ♥♥ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
♥♥ Willa ♥♥ said...

nice to know a li'l bit of info from these travelling sister, my dad was born in Baguio, and may dugong Igorot, but we're not sure like how strong his Igorot blood in him since he was raised in Manila, and he never taught us even to talk the native dialect.I've been to Baguio once myself but it was a jurassic time ago. I wish I can join the group bec I love travelling too, but I don't have iggy doll to pose for me. :)

Anonymous said...

finally, got to know something about you ladies. thanks for choosing miss igorota as a symbol. in this present day and time, a lot of filipinos still view us, igorots, as backward and ugly. you obviously think differently because you take the time to have an igorot symbol and write about interesting things. more power to your kind!

cheers from:

fortuitous faery said...

gem: thanks for being a regular visitor! :)

dennis: thanks! yup, two ladies here blog with a mr. igorot doll, or as we like to call him--"mr. iggy." :P

fickleminded: thanks for being a frequent visitor/EC-dropper, and for sharing your igorot roots! it's sad when parents don't expose children to where they're from as in your case. if you say you've only been to baguio a "jurassic time" ago, then hopefully you can come back for a visit--this time with your own kid(s). you'll find out how much baguio has changed, and at the same time, your kid(s) will discover their roots.

sagada-igorot: thanks for your positive words. there's so much to be proud of about the philippines as a whole, it just so happens that we belong to an archipelago of different ethnic groups. but ultimately, we should realize that deep inside, we're all alike.

Anonymous said...

wow i really enjoyed reading this Q & A post (and part 1 as well). the concept of this blog is really unique and entertaining to us readers. sharing some tidbits about the people behind this blog makes it more fun. keep it up!

swann said...

you all rock girls!
i'm lookin' forward to have my own iggy doll. ^-^

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