June 17, 2024

The city council has joined the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples- Cordillera in calling out what they consider inappropriate use of the G-string or bahag in the show staged by the Metropolitan Theater.
The show, “Alay nina Alice at Agnes”, was part of the 50th anniversary celebration of “The Order of National Artists.” It featured dance performances of national artists Alice Reyes and Agnes Locsin.
The first part of the show entitled, “Igorot” showed female performers wearing bahag instead of tapis, to the outrage of indigenous peoples in the Cordillera.
Bahag is a loincloth used by men while tapis is a fabric wrapped around the lower half of a woman’s body.
“Igorot” was choreographed by Locsin and performed by the Bayanihan Dance Co.
According to the resolution authored by Councilor Fred Bagbagen and approved by the city council, the “provocative” performance has not only failed to truly express its correct theme and promote appreciation and information on unique culture of its subject but has also ridiculed and made fun of the traditional attire and culture of the Cordillera IPs.
“The discriminatory profiling of the traditional attire and highland culture of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera has become repetitious by imprudent and inconsiderate people who never bother to conduct a thorough research on the history of the bahag and do not consult indigenous communities on how the traditional attire is fittingly used,” Bagbagen stated in his resolution.
In his Oct. 17 interview with the Mountain Province Broadcasting Corporation, NCIP-Cordillera Director Atanacio Addog emphasized the bahag should not be worn by women.
He said a more “drastic” action is necessary to address the “recurrent” misrepresentation of the Cordilleran people and their culture.
He said the IP communities in Ifugao had already been informed about the improper use of their traditional garment and the NCIP-Cordillera would consider punitive actions they would suggest against such an act. 
Addog bemoaned the constant misrepresentation of the Cordillerans and their culture by organizers and producers.
Earlier, organizers of an international male pageant drew flak for the alleged misuse of the bahag after contestants from 40 countries wore the indigenous garment in the swimsuit competition of the contest.
In his statement regarding the issue, Addog stressed the G-string “should be accorded the highest respect by wearing them properly and for the purpose they were made” like any other traditional garment.
He added it is the indigenous community that would decide whether an artifact, dance, or craft like weaving and indigenous garments may be altered or modified to suit modern lifestyles. – Jordan G. Habbiling