Is “Bagani” really distorting culture and history of the country?

ABS-CBN’s latest fantaserye Bagani continuous to attract controversy as it premiered last night, March 5, 2018.

After being criticized for its casting, Kapamilya’s latest offering made to the headlines again this time for its title.

Several indigenous groups from Mindanao called out ABS-CBN for the reckless use of the word “Bagani”.

According to them, Bagani shouldn’t be used lightly because it is a reserved term used by the indigenous people for their warriors and defenders.

The National Commission on Indigenous People also released a statement echoing the same sentiments saying Bagani is real and not fictional which the teleserye wanted to portray.

It also said that through the portrayal of Bagani as mythical or mythological it diminishes and distorts.

“By portraying Bagani as merely fictional, and without reference to its historical and cultural significance, the TV drama fantasy show distorts, misleads and confuses rather than educate the Filipino TV viewers on the indigenous concept and term “Bagani”. said NCIP.

But ABS-CBN defends its use of the word saying it does not imply nor ascribe to any indigenous people.

In their statement released March 5, 2018, ABS-CBN reiterated that Bagani is fictional in character that features warriors, protectors and heroes espousing Filipino values and beliefs.

The network added that the term was used because after intensive research it came out that Bagani would best exemplify and solidify the traits that the teleserye wanted to highlight.

It then explained that the network had no intention of maligning or disrespecting beliefs of the IPs but instead propagate values and morals inherent to a “Bagani” which is a Filipino hero and warrior.

“The program has always maintained that it has created an alternative fictional universe with elements of Filipino mythology and folklore that simply serve as an avenue to creatively deliver and highlight Filipino values, beliefs and heroism”, the network said.

That same creative license is not new in Holywood.

Medusa a known Greek mythological character was used by Marvel in their Medusa character. Same with X-Men’s Cyclops which got the name and inspiration to another Greek mythological character of the same name.

Another a more clear analogy can be applied to the movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which portrayed the former US president as a vampire hunter.

Abraham Lincoln, a real person was depicted fictionally as a vampire hunter. But that didn’t create a buzz in the US for destroying their history and culture about their former president. Instead, they allowed the writers and producers’ creative license to effectively entertain people using a real historical figure in a fictional character.

Movie-goers and in the case of Bagani televiewers are smart enough to know the difference between fiction and real accounts.

A creative license should also be accorded to the fantaserye because it can even be beneficial and offer a great opportunity for educators and the IPs to educate the public now that the word is becoming popular.

Distinction between the fantaserye character and the real Bagani is not hard to teach especially to the kids.

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