Open Letter to Pinoy Big Brother

December 15, 2009

Mga katutubo mula sa Kordilyera, sa kanilang pagsayaw sa kumbensiyon ng Katribu Party-list. (KR Guda)

Mga katutubo mula sa Kordilyera, sa kanilang pagsayaw sa kumbensiyon ng Katribu Party-list. (KR Guda)

Dear Big Brother,

I am Beverly Longid, a Bontok and Kankana-ey from Mountain Province and President of the KATRIBU Partylist, an indigenous peoples sectoral party.

Katribu Partylist calls your attention regarding the improper and inappropriate use of the bahag or wanés (g-string) during the December 14, 2009 episode of the Pinoy Big Brother. During the said episode, a PBB housemate was made to wear an Igorot g-string and wrongly wrapped it around his waist in furtherance of a task.

Bahag is traditionally worn by Igorot men of Cordillera and other indigenous peoples such as the Aetas, Dumagats, Mangyans and others. There is a proper and appropriate way of wearing the garment.

While we understand that the intent of its use is to promote certain moral values, we believe it diminished the cultural symbolism and importance of the indigenous garb. Any inappropriate use of our culture not only offends our sensitivities but also demeans the integrity of our customs and traditions which we passionately defend together with our rights to ancestral land and self-determination.

As indigenous peoples, we strive to protect and develop the diversity and richness of our cultural heritage which forms part of our nation’s
identity. The mainstream media and artists can show solidarity with us by appropriately reflecting in news or entertainment the past, present and future manifestations of our cultures which include our attires, designs, ceremonies, visual and performing arts, literature among others.

Pinoy Big Brother is widely followed and viewed by the public including indigenous communities across the country. In the spirit of promoting cultural sensitivity to your viewers, Katribu Partylist enjoins the producers of the show to correct the improper use of the bahag. We can extend assistance in demonstrating the proper way of wearing it and in educating the public regarding its appropriate use, not to mention the importance of upholding the integrity of indigenous culture.

We are hoping for your immediate action to address our concern. May this enhance not only the entertainment but also the educational value of your popular reality show.

For the indigenous peoples,

Beverly L. Longid
KATRIBU Partylist President