‘Bahag-ketball’: NBA releases short film about Indigenous Filipino group’s love for basketball

‘Bahag-ketball’: NBA releases short film about Indigenous Filipino group’s love for basketball

The Igorots notably play “bahag-ketball” by donning loincloths while playing basketball barefoot

September 8, 2023
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has released a short film about the prominence of basketball in the Philippines, from the vibrant city of Manila to the mountainous region of northern Luzon.
The Igorots: The seven-minute film, “The Mountain Ballers of the Philippines,” highlights the Igorots of the Cordillera Mountain Range, an indigenous group residing in Tadian.
According to the film, Tadian is home to some of the oldest rice terraces in the nation, dating back to well before the Spanish colonization of the Philippines in the 1500s. The municipality is predominantly home to hardworking farmers who turn to basketball as a means to unwind. 
“It’s a long and tiring day, but on my way home, if I see some of my village mates playing basketball, I will always take the time to play with them,” says local farmer Rocky Biswelan in the film.
Bahag-ketball: The people of Tadian hold an annual festival known as Ayyoweng Di Lambak Ed Tadian, where locals celebrate their heritage through traditional clothing and dances as a way to preserve their culture. There is also a contemporary addition known as “bahag-ketball,” where they don bahags (loincloths) while playing basketball barefoot. 
“It’s a way to remember the old style of playing basketball of the old communities,” Tadian Vice Mayor George Bisen, Jr. explained. “It shows that Igorots then and now, really enjoy the sport of basketball. As Igorots, we’re used to physicality, especially when the score is tight. We should also remember our ancestors through sports.” 
According to Tadian Mayor Hon. Constito Masweng, sports are important to the development of their municipality, especially for children, as they keep them “away from any bad extra-curricular activities.”
About the film: The short film, which was written and directed by Carlo Ledesma, is part of the “NBA Films for Fans” project, which celebrates the NBA and basketball from the cultural perspectives of different countries.

      Michelle De Pacina

      Michelle De Pacina
      is a New York-based Reporter for NextShark




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