Jun 03, 2023

The Lost City and How the Igorots Lost Their Lands

I RECENTLY released a book entitled "Juicio Final." It is a history book with paintings that would give visual life to the stories. The cover of the book shows an imposing Igorotta which was borrowed from the frontispiece of a book written by the French traveler, René Jouglet, in the 1930s romantically entitled "The Lost City," making people conjure images of Shangrila. He was so fascinated with gold and treasure hunts that he once embarked on a quest for Limahong's gold cache and wrote about it. With sheer romanticism coated by greed, he described the Philippines as a scattering of misty islands of picturesque volcanoes and mountains that "contain mankind's main source of sustenance — gold." He fueled the misguided search for El Dorado.

It may be difficult to believe, but American interests in Baguio and in the Mountain Province began years before Admiral George Dewey's fleet sailed into Manila Bay to destroy the Spanish Navy and seal the fate of that Iberian empire. The American zoologist, Dean Conant Worcester, was in the Philippines as early as 1892. He met Domingo Sanchez, an employee in the Bureau of Forestry of the Spanish colonial government, who told him about a region in northern Philippines with pine trees and oaks, and a perpetually temperate climate, just like the United States.

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