Thursday, August 27, 2015

Philippine Ethnic Igorot Costumes; The Kalinga Native Costume

Male native costume 

The “bag” (bahag) is the common costumes for male Igorots or Kalingas. It is a long woven material about 10 to 15 inches wide and 3 to 5 feet long.

Its main purpose is to cover the man’s private parts. It’s firmly secured at the waist to prevent the clothing from falling off and to ensure that it covers the male organs safely and properly.

Traditionally, there are no upper clothes for men. Tattoos are common in the upper body. The amount of tattoos indicates the male’s authority in the village.

It can also denote how many enemies he has slain with his spear or bolo. Some Igorot or Kalinga costumes include a head gear adorned with feathers, and some arm bands.

Image credit: Charles Romano Wandag (From the village of Taloctoc)

Rene (from Taloctoc Valley)

A male elder

Kiddoe a Kalinga tot

Ethnic costume during a Kalinga dance (taddok)

Ethnic Kalinga costume during a wedding dance (taddok)

A male costume in Taddok

Male Kalinga/Igorot costume during native dance (taddok)

Male Igorot playing an ethnic musical instrument

Panabenga Festival street dance

Ben in his ethnic Kalinga costume


Female native costume 

On the other hand, the female Igorot or Kalinga costume consists of a large rectangular woven clothing about 3 to 5 feet wide, and 3 to 4 feet long.

It’s simply worn like a skirt and secured around the waist. In the olden times, there were also no upper clothing for women, but as the modern era has come to influenced the new generation, earth colored blouses are now worn.

There are still some villages where married women go topless with the older generations. The new generation though has decided to wear upper clothing for decency purposes. However, going topless during the olden days was not considered indecent.

Men didn’t eye women with impure thoughts, and there were no cases of rape. It was like Adam and Eve existing in the Garden of Eden before Eve got tempted by the devil.

During those times, being nude is pure and innocent and not an indecent exposure. The native beads or “bongol” in the Kalinga dialect usually adorns the woman’s upper body.

The weight and amount of beads in the “bongol” indicate the status of the woman.

Richer and nobler women have heavier and multi-layered “bongols”. Here are some Igorot/Kalinga costumes:

Bongol (beads) and ginamat or tapis (woven clothe)


Ethnic Female costume, Image courtesy of Nats Dalanao

Female ethnic costume, courtesy of Nats Dalano

commercialized bongols

Native female Igorot costume

Female Igorot costume

Modernized Igorot/Kalinga costume

Female and male Philippines ethnic costumes

Modernized Igorot/Kalinga costume

Benguet costume

Female and male Philippines Ethnic costumes

Igorot Dance costumes

Female Igorot costume

Female Kalinga costume during a PNP officer's wedding

Erika in her native costume

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