Issue of September 29, 2019
Mt. Province
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Artist helps preserve CAR culture thru illustrated book
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

ILLUSTRATED CULTURE -- Ibaloy-Kankana-ey illustrator Tor Sagud (seated) published his book illustration “Igorotak,” which depicts the ways of the Cordillerans in colorful illustrations to serve as an educational material and as his way of preserving the and rich Cordillera culture. Sagud, who is also a teacher, aims to reach the younger generation through his work for them to appreciate further the Igorot heritage as well as dispel misconceptions about the Cordillerans. -- Hanna Lacsamana

Pictures, as they say, paint a thousand words.

Igorotak: An Illustrated Guide, a book dedicated to those who are proud of their origins, however, does not only take boredom out of reading a thousand words by using vibrant and colorful illustrations. Igorotak, or “I am an Igorot,” is a shot at getting information right as much as possible to preserve a culture, a rich one at that, in the time of erroneous details and depictions of Cordillerans in some reference books.

Baguio comic artist, animator, teacher, and writer Tor Sagud, who has Ibaloy and Kankana-ey roots, launched what he describes a simple book that contains fundamental knowledge of the Igorots in the Cordillera on Sept. 20 at Bookends Bookshop, which readers of all ages could appreciate through narratives accompanied by comic style drawings.

He started developing the book in 2016 as a guide in teaching those interested in painting, drawing, and understanding Cordillerans but could not do it or explain them properly.

Via Igorotak, Sagud wanted to bridge the gap and address miscommunication as accurately or as close to the truth as possible.

Since its launch, the book has aroused interest and has been gaining support from a mix set of audience, including young readers, artists, instructors, government officials, and book lovers and collectors, who love it for being a textbook and a magazine-type book. 

Maricar Docyogen, Bookends proprietor, said a foreigner, who bought some copies of the book and distributed it in Ifugao, is thankful for Igorotak as it addresses the inaccuracies in some textbooks particularly on Cordillera and its peoples’ history.

It is reader-friendly and can be appreciated even by non-natives.

Twenty-nine-year-old Sagud came up initially with 500 copies of Igorotak’s first edition, now selling fast at Bookends, home of the renowned Pasakalye Artists’ Group. And like other authors, he dreams of selling more, say hitting a million of sold books.

But unlike other authors, Sagud’s dream, really, is to have the book integrated with the Department of Education – and raise enough funds to put up a foundation that will focus on culture preservation that would in turn create additional jobs for Baguio and Cordillera artists.

Along the way, he also dreams of spurring culture preservation activities that also tend to save the environment through regular reforestation programs in the Cordillera.

Through the book, Sagud, who comes from a family of farmers, also sets an eye for ways to make things better and more sustainable for agriculture and to break the norm of having low regard for farmers and fishermen. Though ambitious, he considers the project doable, modern, and sustainable. This early, he is running his concepts through with friends and experts in the field.

Get an autographed copy of Igorotak: An Illustrated Guide, along with a selfie and chat with Sagud himself, at Bookends at P500 each copy.

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