The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Cordillera (NCIP-CAR) urged the Man of the World pageant to prove their claim that the “bahag” worn by contestants during the June 11 event was exactly how the Igorot ancestors wore it even when going underwater.
The statement came after participants of the said pageant wore the bahag loincloths improperly.
Netizens from the region did not react kindly to what they saw in the competition, calling the decision to wear the wanes incorrectly a “bastardization” of their culture.
Oooh baby you are in fire.
Yet, such shame for the org calling this segment "bahag competition" where in the first place, the way the garment was worn is improper. pic.twitter.com/zFVT6mcGiX
— S H A N ⚡️ (@shanpaulie) June 11, 2022
The Igorot community was left enraged.
Many also felt disrespected despite the good intentions of the competition.
Organizers argued that the contestants wore the cloth the same as how their ancestors tied their swimwear. They also said that NCIP was notified and that a cultural consultant was present.
However, the NCIP-CAR denied that they accepted the way the bahag was worn during the swimwear showcase.
“We call upon these proofs, as many of us have grown in a society where we did not witness our ancestors tie their G-string the way it was during the competition. We have grown in a society where our traditional attires are worn by us on special occasions, festivals, and the like. We have grown with our elders teaching us the proper way to wear these attires, and thus what we know today,” said NCIP-CAR in a press release.
If undeniable proof is presented, the NCIP-CAR said it could confirm that Cordilleran culture has understandably evolved. The agency clarified that it supports the organizers’ intentions but cannot stay mum on misrepresenting the Cordilleran culture.
“While we join many of our IP brothers in the Cordilleras in expressing our dismay on the way our G-strings were worn during the competition, before any punitive actions, let us accord the organizers and their cultural consultant/expert an opportunity to fully explain their piece,” the NCIP-CAR added.
The agency emphasized that the wanes should be given the highest respect as with other traditional garments. It said that the indigenous people decide if the wearing of the bahag can be modified.
“We, therefore, stand with the Indigenous Peoples to whom these “Bahags” are attributed should they call for punitive actions,” it furthered.