This is one of the many regional stereotypes in the Philippines which I could personally identify with being an Ilocano myself. The funny thing is, I didn’t know that the rest of the country is stereotyping us as “kuripot” until I got in to college.
I don’t know the story or history behind this, but I could only assume that most of our ancestors are just being thrifty. Kuripot means stingy in English, but I find being thrifty more appropriate.
See? Ilocanos are not the richest ethnic group in the Philippines, and most of our forefathers probably started as farmers and fishermen. They had to make ends meet, and was not exposed to anything extravagant which could have tempted them to spend a lot or even gave them the idea to splurge.
My grandfather was a farmer, fisherman, and a hunter. He hunted to literally put food on the table, not some hobby or just for fun thing. He grew up during World War II, and never set foot to school. He was illiterate; I remember him turning the pages of a classic Filipino comics and was interpreting the drawings as he couldn’t read the texts. When I started high school in the mid-90’s, he was surprised when he learned that I was getting a weekly allowance of a hundred pesos. He thought that was way too big. His knowledge of the value of (Philippine) currency was 20 years too late.
Clearly my grandfather didn’t know money. If he was alive today and I bring him to Jollibee, he would get overwhelmed at the price of the cheapest value meal. He would probably never want me to pay 50 pesos for a meal when the supply of rice and native chicken back in his farm is overflowing.
Why am I saying this? It’s my personal theory of where this stereotype came from. Our ancestors were not very rich and educated. They are practical, they’d rather fish, or plant and harvest their camote than buy them at the market.
I honestly feel offended when someone calls me kuripot. If I was, I would have already saved a lot of money. I wouldn’t have had credit card troubles. And I wouldn’t be blogging about finances today.
But yes, I’ve learned my lesson and I thought it’s time for me to live up to this stereotype! I should be kuripot from now on. I already started not taking Uber or Grab when going to work. After seven years of relying on food deliveries, I already stopped using fast-food delivery apps. I am now learning how to cook, and limiting my fast-food intake to only once a day. I am buying my own coffee maker so I won’t be making that daily trip to some coffee shop anymore. Today and moving forward, being kuripot is life!
So, are Ilocanos’ really kuripot? Hell yeah, we should be!