Jennifer Carin͂o was a bright young woman who, during her short life, did more than her share in strengthening the unity of the Cordillera ethnic communities notably through cultural work. In the process, she helped build the people’s resistance to the Marcos dictatorship and its oppressive policies.
Carin͂o belonged to a large, well-known Ibaloi clan; her grandfather was the first Igorot mayor of Baguio City. (On the other hand, her mother was also part of a large, well-known clan originating in Cebu.) She was the first of eight children, all of whom later became activists.
It was in high school that the young Carin͂o first publicly stood up for Igorot pride, reacting strongly to a statement by then foreign secretary Carlos P. Romulo that “Igorots are not Filipinos.” In an article published in the student organ, she criticized the discrimination against the Cordillera highland tribes and recalling their proud history of resistance to foreign domination.
But she was not simply one angry, politicized teenager. She enjoyed singing, parties, playing the guitar, reading widely, going out with her friends. Singing songs of protest, she became involved in Baguio student activism. Mass actions always meant popular cultural expressions, and soon Carin͂o had dropped out of school to work on this aspect full-time for the movement.
Shortly before martial law was declared, she married fellow activist Gilbert Pimentel from the Mountain Province. Together, at a conference in Bontoc, they had helped organize what would later be known as Kilusang Kabataan ng Kordilyera.
Giving birth in November 1972 and caring for her baby girl, Carin͂o experienced the hardships endured by many other parents unable to provide a safe and stable environment for their families. Moreover, her husband was in prison and she could not visit him for fear of being arrested herself. In 1974 she finally decided to leave the child with her family, and work with the resistance organization in the Cordillera mountains.
The area between Ifugao and Benguet provinces was one of the most depressed areas in the region. There was a lot to do, as members of the Kalanguya tribe who lived there had very few material resources and visiting their settlements meant very long, arduous treks along mountain trails.
Carin͂o wrote songs for the Kalanguya, conducted literacy lessons, applied acupuncture therapy to the sick. She learned their language, and enjoyed eating such upland delicacies as wild ferns and the beetle grub found among fallen pine logs.
Sadly, Jennifer Carin͂o died on July 13, 1976, when she was hit by a bullet misfired from a comrade’s gun.
BORN : March 4, 1950 in Baguio City
DIED : July 13, 1976 in Hungduan, Ifugao
PARENTS : Jose Cortez Carin͂o and Josefina Kintanar
SPOUSE/CHILD : Gilbert Pimentel / 1
EDUCATION : Elementary: Baguio Central School
Secondary: St. Theresa’s College, Baguio City
College: University of the Philippines College Baguio