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Baguio Tourist Policemen Spotted In Bahag, Turns Out It’s A Tribute To Igorot Fashion

Baguio tourist policemen spotted wearing bahag

We don’t often see traditional clothing worn in our modern cities – where most people only bust out their traditional outfits during formal occasions or cultural events.

So it’s a welcome sight when we encounter the Baguio tourist policemen shown on the Facebook page Alpha Bravo Apparel wearing the bahag attire of our indigenous tribes in an everyday setting. 

Netizens identified the garments as traditional bahag

Baguio police in bahag
Image adapted from: Alpha Bravo Apparel

In the page’s post on 10th December, two Baguio police stationed at Baguio’s Session Road were photographed wearing their usual blue uniform tops, also known as General Office Attire (GOA) shirts.

Baguio police in bahag
Image adapted from: Alpha Bravo Apparel

But instead of wearing their matching GOA pants underneath their shirts, the two policemen are wearing what looked like loincloths instead.

Baguio police bahag - Kalinga tribe
Image credit: Collectors Desk

It turns out that the loincloths they are wearing in the photo are the bahag, a type of loincloth with colorful threads that is traditionally made up of tree bark or banana leaves. 

Bahag are worn by the male Igorots or the indigenous tribes, such as the Ifugaos, Bontoks, Kankanaeys, and Ibaloi, living in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Baguio police bahag - An igorot in bahag
Image credit: Hot Men Philippines

The bahag is a long rectangular piece of clothing wrapped around the hips, with longer pieces draping down the front and back of the lower body. 

Some netizens, however, are not keen on the policemen wearing bahag

Clothing such as the bahag symbolizes the traditions of our beloved indigenous tribes, so it’s no wonder that the page’s post has quickly become viral and is now being shared across different Facebook groups. 

Baguio police bahag - Filipiniana FB group comments
Image credit: Filipiniana

Many are saluting the police for showcasing our culture through everyday uniforms, but others, however, are not keen on the two policemen wearing bahag, with some calling it unconventional and impractical. 

“Somehow, [the] attire looks queer, incongruous, ridiculous,” commented netizen Isabelita Poe in the Facebook group Filipiniana.

Netizen Rosenette Torres worried that the mixed uniform might not protect the policemen when they are dealing with dangerous situations. 

Others believe there’s nothing wrong with the mixed police uniform

Baguio police bahag - Netizen comment
Image credit: El Rjay Soleng Badong

Despite hearing these reservations, others maintained there should be nothing wrong with the two policemen’s attires as they promote, normalize, and remind us of the lives of the Igorots.

“With this thing, being proud sa profession (of your profession) together with the traditional/cultural attire is one way of showing and promoting it [the traditional attire],” said El Rjay Soleng Badong

Baguio police bahag - Netizen comment
Image credit: Denise Viola

Netizen Denise Viola was glad to see the bahag normalized, adding in the comments that even children’s textbooks are already emphasizing the significance of our tribes’ clothing.

However, she admitted that a part of her still thinks that the policemen’s legs should still be covered with protective equipment.

Baguio police bahag - Netizen comment
Image credit: Ji Yan

For Ji Yan, since the Igorots were wearing bahag when they were defending their tribes from foreign intruders, this clothing should therefore be seen as a traditional garment which is a source of pride and dignity. 

Cordillera police have won an award for being the ‘most disciplined cops’

Baguio police bahag Former PNP Chief Gamboa with the Cordillera Regional Police Office
Image credit: Philippine Information Agency

Commenters have added that the Cordillera police force, which actually mostly comprises Igorots, are said to be among the most disciplined police in the country.

Former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Archie Gamboa even recognized them during his visit to the region’s headquarters in February 2020, stating in his speech that the Cordillera Regional Police Office (PRO-Cor) is the “The Home of the Most Disciplined Cops.”

Baguio police bahag - Cordillera police
Image credit: Police Regional Office Cordillera 

He acknowledged the Cordillerans’ indigenous culture as the possible reason behind the Cordillera police’s good performance. “Even in the Special Action Force and in any other unit, standing out talaga ‘yung galing sa Cordillera (those from the Cordillera are really standing out), probably because of your culture, because of the values you develop here. Congratulations! May your tribe continue to thrive.”

Baguio police wearing traditional clothing

Traditional indigenous attire isn’t always an everyday sight in most cities, especially policemen wearing bahag

Whether it’s practical or not is up for discussion, but if wearing this rectangular piece of clothing is a way for these policemen to showcase their own culture while they work, then we should celebrate their clothing that’s meant to express how proud their people are of where they come from. 

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Cover image adapted from: Alpha Bravo Apparel, Hot Men Philippines