An Igorot nanny’s real nanny tales

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An Igorot nanny’s real nanny tales

Post by yang-ew on Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:31 pm

courtesy of Igorot Global Organization

By Marlou S. Tiro, The Philippine Reporter
Posted at 05/19/2010 11:49 AM | Updated as of 05/19/2010 11:49 AM

An Igorot nanny’s real nanny tales


CANADA - The Cordillera region has always been the pride of the Philippines. Blessed with a rich and fascinating cultural history, it has been a home for many skilled artisans and a source of mystical tales. Its breathtaking sceneries have become the subjects of masterpieces among literary artists. Photographs of it have graced numerous travel magazines.
Now, another source of regional pride has emerged in the person of Analyn Aryo, a native of Agawa, Mountain Province and grew up in Mankayan, Benguet, who has started to explore the realm of the publishing industry with her creative approach on the life of an immigrant worker.
Aryo compared her life’s journey as a caregiver to a ‘Pinit”, a wild berry that grows in the mountains. Akin to a Pinit, the overseas workers such as those working as nannies and domestic helpers work hard in order to earn money and it entails a lot of sacrifices.
“The pinit are like a sight and taste of heaven on a tired traveler’s soul…working as a DH (domestic helper) or a nanny is like reaching for the sweetest pinit berry on the thickest thicket. You don’t get out of it unscathed,” says Aryo.
During the recent Fil-Can expo held in Hamilton, Ontario, Aryo along with Terry Olayta of The Caregiver’s Resource Centre officially launched her book, “Nanny Tales”. The book is a kaleidoscope of amazing experiences, memories, friendships and gratitude among overseas workers.
Sarabeth Berman described her book as a voice of a woman whose existence is unknown from society. “Aryo’s ability to find beauty and thanks within the many complexities of life is inspirational”, Berman wrote.
Born the 6th child in a brood of 7, Aryo was raised in Benguet and belongs to the Kankana-eys and the Ibalois tribe. She obtained a BS Agriculture degree at the Benguet State University, La Trinidad, Benguet.
Life was initially kind to the Aryo family until her father was laid off from his mining job. Her father was a miner in Lepanto Mining Corp. In the early 80’s the family experienced a major setback. The family decided to turn to planting cash crops like tomatoes and sweet potatoes for survival.
“I would go with my father on a hike for 2 to 3 hours to reach the farm on the mountain sides,” she recalled.
Her mother supplemented the family’s income by selling vegetable on a small stall in front of a relative’s house. Life became more difficult for the Aryo family so they decided to move to Trinidad and pursue farming as a means of livelihood.
Childhood days for Aryo means working and dreaming. “After school, my sisters and I would rush home to help my father in planting, weeding or even spraying pesticides. The land that we tilled was far away from the main town. We were the only house on top of a bundock (mountain). Thus, I’ve got no playmates. So, to while away my boredom, I read books. I would borrow from the school’s reading room and read it until the night.”
Imaginative and resourceful, Aryo , like the rest of the people in the mountains embraces her values and principles based on involvement with agriculture, status and ancestor veneration as well as their relationship with natural and supernatural forces. As an Igorot, she was taught to become independent, hardworking and to take pride of her heritage. Aryo admitted that her lifestyle is a juxtaposition of traditional and modern society.
“I belong to a generation where we have varied but limited exposures to the older ways of our forefathers. My tribe’s culture has adapted the general culture of the Filipino people”.
Citing wedding occasions of the Applai tribe, her people also go to the church for blessings and sanctification of the marriage vows. Following the church service, they play the “gangsa” or gongs along with the “balangbang” dance or other traditional dances.
In the Benguet culture, when a crop infestation or natural calamity strikes the community, the government and people interventions are not effective.
Their tribe will conduct a “canao” to appease or to ask for favor from the Gods. “Our culture as an Igorot has evolved and along the way, we have maintained some of our traditions and lost some,” she added.
Does she feel different from the rest of the Filipinos? ‘Yes and a No’. “Yes. I felt different from the rest of the Filipinos by being an Igorot”, she said. “Our mores, traditions, and arts are different from those of the rest of the country. Likewise, when I was still studying and had to attend some national student conventions, there were still reactions among the crowd when we introduced ourselves as Igorots.
Once, in a national student conference in Baguio City, I was asked pointblank by a fellow participant if I could take him where the Igorots were. He wanted to see them in their g-strings and all. I told him I am an Igorot, and he was shocked. He thought Igorots still lived the way they did in the olden times. I think that there are still pre-conceived ideas from some of our countrymen of what an Igorot is even in these times. Some still believe that ‘ang Igorot ay may buntot (Igorots have tails)’ and often described in some TV programs along these lines: ‘pangit tatay niya kasi Igorot (His father is ugly because he’s Igorot)’ These prejudices still exist even until today. In the other cases, when you mention that you’re an Igorot, what come to mind are people with a distinct culture, smaller than most Filipinos, with fair complexion, and fond of country music. We have distinct practices and beliefs.
“No, because we are under the same government. We enjoy the rights and privileges of being a Filipino. We are educated the same way and we are exposed to the same mass media.”
Aryo believes that even if she hails from an indigenous tribe, her uniqueness and strong character make her believe that she is simply just like any other career-oriented modern woman.
“I see myself as an independent and successful woman with a career in either social research or communications. I also see myself as a successful fiction and non-fiction author. LM Montgomery (“Anne of Green Gables”) is one of her favorite authors along with JRR Tolkien (“Lord of the Rings”) and CS Lewis of the Narnia series.
“These books have captured my imagination and I would want to write a book like those - a book that appeals to all ages throughout generations”.
Aryo’s dreams go further beyond her personal career goals. Her passion to uplift the image of her tribe inspires her to pursue higher education. She dreams of the region to be self-reliant and self-sufficient.
“I want my people to be proud of our heritage and be prime movers of economic development.” It may be an uphill battle but she is ready to face the challenges. In fact, her nanny job has prepared her for the tough fight.
She describes her nanny job as “physically exhausting and at times emotionally taxing”. Adding, “Your day is a routine of preparing a child’s breakfast, lunchbox, a drop-off to school, cooking, and doing other household chores. Then, the day is done and you’re already exhausted, so you flop in your bed until a new day with the same routine starts again. It is a job that you actually normally do inside your own house if you are a mother but you have to do it in someone else’s home and be paid doing it. It’s emotionally taxing sometimes when you need to discipline a wayward child. Sometimes, you get caught in the middle too, of some family issues. Still, there are small joys from this job: you get to love a child and be loved in return. You become someone who has the power to influence a young person and that alone, is a huge honor and responsibility.”
The Live-In-Caregiver Program has also touched Aryo’s sentiments. “I have read the Employment Standards and basically, if the rules on the book were written, there shouldn’t be problems of abuses against the caregiver. I would like to propose though that we should not be tied down to our employers. We should be allowed to study while still in the program without restrictions and permits; and that we should have a health insurance aside from the OHIP. Regarding the live-in situation, while it seems to be ideal it is easier to be abused. If the nanny lives outside the house of her employer, abuses such as unpaid overtime can be avoided. “
So what inspired Aryo to write “Nanny Tales”?
“I wanted to contribute to the worded records of the millions of Filipino nannies, domestic helpers, around the world. I wanted to write our stories so that if this ‘cycle of servitude’ will somehow stop one day, we’ll have records to prove of the sacrifices of these women. I wanted to write our stories, too, in the hope that this will somehow let other people get to know us better and appreciate what we’re going through or what we have gone through. This book, too, is like a diary for all caregivers. We read it and come face to face with our journey. Further, I wrote this book to prove that our being a nanny or a DH does not make us lesser but rather, we should learn to appreciate our contributions to our country and the society we have served”.
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Re: An Igorot nanny’s real nanny tales

Post by SVS Headliners on Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:28 pm

Those who wish to avail a copy of this very inspiring book of Analyn Aryo, please email Tricia at <bgn_c@yahoo.ca



Copies are being sold at different bookstores in Canada and USA.
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