BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) strongly condemned the Metropolitan Theater for having one of its numbers portraying some women dancers wearing G-string, popularly known as the traditional ‘bahag’, which to the indigenous peoples (IPs), is traditional attire for men.
During an online presentation that was part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of ‘Order ng mga Pambansang Alagad ng Sining’ for the Order of National Artists, the theater group allegedly featured choreographies of national artist for dance Alice Reyes and Agnes Locsin for the Alice Reyes Dance Philippines.
One of the dances performed was entitled ‘Igorot’ where the dancers reportedly portrayed the IPs of the Cordillera supposedly dancing their traditional dances.
However, the dance number earned the ire of the Cordillera IPs who are collectively identified as Igorots as they claimed that their culture was bastardized when they saw the women dancers wearing G-strings, a taboo to the Igorots.
Under the culture and traditions of the Igorots, the G-string is worn by the men while the women wear the ‘tapis’, a wraparound skirt.
Most of the Igorots who watched the presentation pointed out that the wearing of G-string by the women is an outright disrespect to Igorots.
According to them, non-IPs who want to showcase IP-inspired dances and other culture-related activities should first conduct the needed research and consult with the IPs on how such activities are properly done.
For his part, NCIP-CAR regional director lawyer Atanacio Addog disclosed that the agency will be formally writing the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Metropolitan Theater and dance choreographer Locsin to demand an explanation on why they allowed the women to wear G-string.
He stressed that what the NCCA and Locsin did was an alleged misrepresentation of the IPs of the Cordillera, especially the women.
Director Addog emphasized that heavy penalties should be imposed against individuals, personalities and groups or organizations who showcase and present the wrong portrayal of the culture of the IPs and that the said practice must be stopped.
IP rights advocates and the NCIP believe that respect for culture and heritage should be sustained amidst modernization because they represent the history, legacy, values and identity of a society.
They also recommended for the institutionalization of Cordillera culture protocols and imposing stiffer penalties against violators to have a good start in providing boundaries in using cultural aspects in local, national and international activities.
The Cordillera IPs demanded the Metropolitan Theater and the choreographer in charge to make an apology for insulting the Igorots.