Proud Igorot bags SEA Games gold medal in arnis wearing traditional ‘bahag’

  • ChriSamuel Delfin wore a traditional “bahag” while competing in the 30th SEA Games
  • He eventually won a gold medal in the men’s arnis anyo category
  • The international officials refused to let him wear nothing underneath the “bahag” for fear of a wardrobe malfunction

One proud Igorot wore the traditional “bahag” while he competed in the arnis competition of the 30th SEA Games.

Image by Popoy Fajardo via Facebook

ChriSamuel Delfin was proud to show off his roots as he wore the traditional “bahag” in the men’s arnis anyo category. To the music from the ethnic instruments, Delfin showed his impressive combat skills. All his hard work paid off as Delfin bagged the gold medal.

Senator Miguel Zubiri, president of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation, the sport’s national governing body, admitted Delfin initially encountered issues with his decision to wear “bahag” while competing.

“He is a proud Igorot and he is proud of his lineage. We had some problems because he wanted to wear his bahag without any brief,” Zubiri said on ANC’s “Headstart.” He explained that Delfin didn’t want to wear anything under the “bahag” because it would be an insult to their tradition.

International technical officials had initially denied Delfin’s request to wear a “bahag” for fear that they might risk a wardrobe malfunction while the game is being broadcasted live.

Image by Popoy Fajardo via Facebook

“Our coach said, ‘It is better to disqualify him than to deny him of his heritage,'” Zubiri said. He talked to Delfin’s coach not to disqualify him because he is such a good arnis player.

Eventually, Delfin agreed to wear a small garment underneath so he wouldn’t miss the games. “We bought a thong and we showed it to the judges and they said, OK. He won the gold. It was a great performance,” Zubiri said.

The Philippine arnis team racked in 14 gold medals in the 30th SEA Games.