Filipino Personalities with Igorot Heritage
1. Paulo Avelino
Paulo Avelino is half-Igorot; his mom, Jennylyn Lingbanan is from Mountain Province. He grew up in Baguio City. He went to school in Baguio from elementary until the first-year of college.
He won a Best Actor Award from Gawad Urian for Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa. He is well-known for his roles in the ABS-CBN shows Kahit Konting Pagtingin, Honesto, Sana Bukas pa ang Kahapon and Bridges of Love.
2. Bernadette Sembrano
Bernadette belongs to the Dominguez clan. On one Instagram post (shown below), she embraced her Igorot ancestry and claimed that she has Bontoc roots.
She is a reporter and TV host in ABS-CBN. She is currently a reporter in TV Patrol and a host in Salamat Dok. She has received various awards throughout her career as a journalist.
3. Eric De Guia (Kidlat Tahimik)
Kidlat Tahimik was born and raised in Baguio City. His mom, Virginia Oteyza de Guia, was among the pioneers of Baguio City. His mom holds the record for being the first elected lady councilor, vice mayor, and appointed mayor of the city.
Kidlat is known as the "Father of Philippine Independent Cinema". He has garnered several local and international awards for his works as an artist and film director. Some of his notable works include Perfumed Nightmare and Turumba.
4. Ingrid Payaket
Ingrid was also born and raised in Baguio City. She is a full-blooded Igorot with Abra, Benguet, and Mountain Province roots.
Her rise to fame began when she won as the third finalist of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 1. From there, she has been singing for different community and private events.
She was a former host of Naimbag ng Morning Kapamilya. She is now part of the A Cappella group Pinopela who won the International A Cappella Championships last year in Singapore.
5. Zorayda Ruth Andam
Zorayda also comes from Baguio City. She is an alumnus of Baguio City National High School.
She is the Binibining Pilipinas Universe titleholder in 2001. She won the 1st Runner-up Award for Best National Costume during the 2001 Miss Universe Pageant.
She has worked as a television host and anchor for the IBC channel. Her beautiful face is just the tip of the iceberg; she also has a brilliant mind. She was awarded a Dean's Medal for Academic Excellence when she graduated from law school. She passed the bar in 2005 and is currently practicing law in Manila.
6. Raffy Tima
Rufino Dompao Tima, Jr. (born January 7, 1975), popularly known as Raffy Tima, is a Filipino journalist, producer, and presenter for GMA Network and its affiliate, GMA News TV. He traces his roots from Kalinga province.
Tima was one of GMA's main reporters during the 2000 to 2004 series of kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf Group, an Islamic extremist group in southern Mindanao, and the all-out war waged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the Islamic separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front in central Mindanao. Tima has also covered the war in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2004.
A recipient of numerous commendations including most outstanding news producer in 2004 for his coverage of that year's general elections, Tima is currently a senior producer for GMA News, an anchor on GMA News TV's noontime program Balitanghali with Pia Arcangel (now Connie Sison), and presenter on the public affairs show, 100% Pinoy.
He is likewise one of the first presenters of Reporter's Notebook as well as on i-Witness, which won the Peabody Award.
Tima is married to fellow GMA News Reporter Mariz Umali on December 8, 2012. On January 1, 2012, to celebrate New Year's Day, Tima proposes to Umali at the party after two years as a couple.
7. Clint Bondad
Clint Bondad is a German-Filipino actor and model. Her mother traces her roots from Tadian and Mainit, Bontoc, Mountain Province.
Clint was born on March 26, 1994, in Germany. Although he spent most of his primary and secondary education abroad, he returned to the Philippines in 2011 and attended the Trinity University of Asia in Quezon City.
Bondad began modeling during his college years and was featured as Cosmopolitan's "Hunk of the Month" for the August 2013 issue.
In 2014, he was selected in the film Trophy Wife, his first project, directed by Andoy Ranay. Later, he appeared in many television shows on ABS-CBN and in 2019 moved to GMA Network.
Bondad also started dating Catriona Gray in 2013. According to the actor, they first met inside a small elevator in Baguio in 2012 while they were both attending their respective photoshoots held in the same location.
"I said hi to her. She forgot about me later on, but it was fine. Then, I met her again later on at a casting. That was 2012, and we just dated... I thought she was cute and I loved her accent. She doesn't have it anymore... nobody knows, but she used to talk very Aussie," Bondad recalls in an interview in 2019.
But things did not go well for the two, they broke up before Gray was crowned Miss Universe 2018.
In 2019, Bondad was linked to Jakkaphong "Anne" Jakrajutatip or JKN, a Thai transgender billionaire and CEO of JKN Global Media Public Company Limited.
The late Marky Cielo also brought fame to the Cordillerans when he won the reality competition StarStruck. Some of his acting roles were Fantastikids, Asian Treasures, and Zaido. His early passing has caused mourning for the entire region.
Hollywood actor, comedian, writer, and director Rob Schneider is also rumored to have Igorot blood as well, unfortunately, we cannot confirm this. His mother, Pilar Monroe Schneider, was a World War II survivor from the Philippines and moved to the United States in the 1950s as an American citizen. She died on January 21, 2021, rest in peace.
Is Robin Padilla Igorot? Now if you are wondering why we did not include Robinhood Ferdinand Cariño Padilla (Robin Padilla) on our list is because, honestly, we are not sure.
Some say that her mother, Lolita Eva Cariño, is not related to the Cariño clan that formerly owned lands in Baguio. And upon further research, it also appears that Robin's mother traces her roots from Alcala, Pangasinan and Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija.
Anyways, if Robin Padilla is proud to say he's an Igorot, which he does, then so be it. Who am I to judge?
Apart from the names mentioned above, there are also other Igorots to be proud of. They are victorious in their respective fields. Some of them are in the limelight, while most are moving the needle unnoticed.
Do you know other famous personalities? Let me know in the comments!
About the author: This article (revised) was shared exclusively by our friend Donnabeth Tolano-Aniban with the Igorotage team. Donnabeth is a licensed Filipino nurse and a former teacher. She now works as an academic writer and also writes on Medium. Her work has been featured in Her View From Home and When In Manila. You can get her book "50 Ideas For A Great Life" on Shopee.