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

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Beauty of Sagada, Mt. Province in Pictures

Sagada, Mt. Province is as beautiful as the rest of its neighboring provinces, Bontoc, Kalinga, Benguet and Apayao. It's part of the Ifugao province. It's famous for its tourists spots such as, the burial sites and underground river. Its sunset and sunrise views are also phenomenal. Here are photos captured by Cioux Casala and company, who went there for a short but fruitful vacation. Thanks for lending me the pictures, Cioux. Watch the breathtaking pictures below:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lubuagan and Its Poignant Memories

Lubuagan holds numerous poignant memories for me because it’s where I spent my early teen years.

St. Teresita’s School (STS) was where I pursued my secondary education…the place just remains indelible in my memory because of so many "firsts".

STS is run by nuns. Yes! And I stayed in the dormitory for girls where strict compliance of rules is implemented.

We had breakfast at 6 to 7 am, lunch at 11 to 12:30, and dinner at 6 to 7 p.m. Any late comers won’t be served any meal. We have also to consume everything that was served, whether we liked it or not.

We prayed several times a day; before and after going to sleep, before and after eating meals and any occasion the nuns deem it appropriate to pray.

Mass was held every day and we were “encouraged to attend”.

The Holidays of Obligation were compulsory mass attendance for us…or else.

Well, I appreciate all that I have learned from that Catholic institution because it has become a part of me now.

Here’s a picture of the school, courtesy of Demetrio Buenavista. Thanks for the pic.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tips for Capturing Wildlife on Film

Expert photographers would oftentimes say that there is no perfect formula in vividly capturing wildlife on film. This is because there are various aspects that one has to consider to get that perfect shot.  This does not mean though that photographers should abandon this tremendous challenge. The following are tips in capturing vibrant and colorful wildlife images.

Image credit:

*You don’t have to use an expensive camera – It is how you use it creatively that counts. No matter how expensive your camera is, if you do not know how to use it effectively, then it is useless. Before snapping those wildlife photos, or shooting a video, familiarize yourself first with the proper functions of your camera.

*Ascertain you have different lenses when you need them – Zooming in is not always needed, especially if you want to capture the surrounding spectacular landscape. The view of the habitat of
a wildlife animal could add to the character of your photograph or film. Know when to zoom in, and when not to.

*Use different angles for your shots – A different angle can provide a new perspective for your audience. You can take shots lying down, sitting, skywards, or standing up. You can shoot the image vertically or horizontally. Your creativity will come to the picture. Think out of the box, to capture extraordinary images from ordinary scenes.

*Provide the animal some space – You can get near to shoot images, but not too near to
endanger yourself or scare the animal. Your photos should depict naturally the animal in its peaceful and natural environment. Generally, the safe distance is 15 to 20 feet.

*Use your shutter speed to vary shots – Your shutter speed can make your pictures or films unique. You can decrease or increase the speed. You can lengthen the time of exposure or shorten it to capture different photos of the same animal. Some photographers come up with amazing pictures using these methods.

*Take a handy tripod with you – Even if your hands are steady, there are shots that need a tripod. It is also better if your camera is stable on a tripod because pictures could be more vivid and clear. There are light, handy tripods that you can easily carry around with you.

*Use the camera’s continuous shooting mode – This would allow you conveniently to capture sudden moments when the wildlife around you goes extremely mobile. You have to be ready to capture those momentous unguarded moments of animal life that may never occur again.

*Capture the eyes of the animal - Make the eyes of the animal the focal point of most of your shots. These would turn an ordinary shot into a riveting one.

These are simple tips that could help anyone who want to capture the beauty and wonder of wildlife. The crucial thing to remember is that safety comes first, because animals have that natural instinct to defend themselves to survive.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Kalinga Male Costume, the G-String

Just like so many Igorot costumes, the Kalinga male costume is basically only a G-string.

A G-string is a long strip of woven cloth that a male wears around his waist to cover his manhood.

Tying the woven cloth at the waist will ensure that it won’t fall down. There are no upper shirts or clothing for natives.

For women, ethnic beads are used instead.

Nowadays, however, the Kalinga costumes are now modernized with upper thin fabrics as blouses and undershirts for men.

The Kalinga male costume keeps on evolving as more and more folks are exposed to fashion in the cities and towns.

But the Kalinga ethnic costume will always retain its vivacity in color and style.