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CHED Commissioner asks ABS-CBN to make ‘Bagani’ “Historically accurate and culturally correct”; ABS-CBN responds

  • Commissioner Ronald Adamat sent a formal letter to ABS-CBN President Carlo Katigbak regarding the use of the word, Bagani.
  • He also added that the said young viewers may perceive Bagani as someone with magical powers.
  • Bagani‘s business unit head tensed that the show will not set in the pre-colonial period.
  • CHED Commissioner Ronald Adamat sent a formal letter to ABS-CBN President Carlo Katigbak regarding the use of the wordBagani.
  • In Bagani’s pilot episode, they showed a disclaimer which clarified their story.

After the casting controversy, another issue started to arise regarding ABS-CBN’s new fantasy series, Bagani. The said epicserye also started to air on March 5, Monday. Although many fans waited so long for another LizQuen project, other netizens couldn’t help but pinpoint its flaws.

The Last Tribes of Mindanao, the Manobo, used to title of Bagani to call tribal heroes. The said heroes defended the tribe against outside threats. Tribes also used it to call warriors who had killed more than one enemy or threat.


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However, The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) requested the network for “immediate clarification and explanation” on their use of the word, Bagani. Commissioner Ronald Adamat sent a formal letter to ABS-CBN President Carlo Katigbak. In the said letter, he also wrote about his complaints about the new series.

Ronald used to be a representative of the Indigenous People (IP) Sector. He continued to reveal that he sent the same letter to other organizations such as Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP). Ronald also took to Facebook to explain the reason behind the letter.

“This is the letter i sent to ABS-CBN, copy furnished OP, MTRCB and NCIP re its teleserye titled BAGANI. I demanded for clarification on the historical and cultural bases of the same as it appears violative of the real meaning of BAGANI based on Indigenous Peoples perspective. It is noteworthy to state that BAGANI is an IP term and should not be used in a teleserye that is devoid of its true meaning and substance. We can not allow culturally insensitive movies and television series…”

In the said letter, Ronald expressed his dismay at the creators coming up with concepts. He added that the said concept destroys the real essence of the terminology behind Bagani.

“It is not enough for writers and producers of movies and teleseryes to come up with concepts, titles, and characters that would sell and create blockbusters yet carry with them half-truths and lies that destroy and negate the real essence of an IP terminology, as in the case of Bagani, and instead bring injustice to the 14 million Filipino IPs.”

Ronald wondered how did the word Bagani ended up on the network’s storyboards and also added his demand on the network’s clarification.

“What is the historical and cultural bases of such if not of the IP’s meaning of it? Being an Indigenous Person, I reiterate my demand for an urgent clarification and explanation as to how and why the IP word ‘Bagani,’ endemic only to the Indigenous Peoples, ended up on the storyboards of ABS-CBN.”

Ronald sustained that young viewers may detach the real meaning from the actual word. He also added that the said young viewers may perceive Bagani as someone with magical powers.

“On the other hand, as Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the undersigned foresees a negative impact among Filipino viewers especially the young students, and is deeply bothered about the portrayal of Bagani in a teleserye as being a ‘bayani with magical powers’ that is totally detached from what the term actually means to the Indigenous Peoples communities.”

Ronald, then, persisted that he can’t tolerate the public showing if the producers don’t add the educational background behind the word Bagani. He insisted that they should make it “historically accurate and culturally correct” to represent the real Bagani.

“Further, as CHED Commissioner, I cannot tolerate the public showing of the said teleserye as long as ABS-CBN would not revise the format and concept in order to render ‘Bagani’ to become as educational as it can be, and make the same as historically-accurate and culturally-correct presentation of what the real ‘Bagani’ is from an IP perspective.”

In an exclusive interview with PEP.ph, Bagani‘s business unit head Lourdes de Guzman-Tanwangco emphasizes that the show will not be set in the pre-colonial period. In the said interview she also pointed out that they created a world and that viewers need to watch Bagani in order to understand the story behind the casting.

“Hindi kami historical, we’re a fantaserye. We created a world. And it’s all fiction. Inspired by some Filipino mythologies pero we created a world. Just like Star Wars, we created a world. Nakita mo naman by the costumes, di ba?”

Bagani also stars Enrique Gil, Liza Soberano, Matteo Guidicelli, Makisig Morales and Sofia Andres. They all play a significant role as representatives of every region in the world of Sansinukob. Lakas (Enrique) came from the desert region while Ganda (Liza) represents the farm region. Lakam (Matteo) is from trade region while Dumakulem (Makisig) represents the forest region and Mayari (Sofia) represents the sea region. They all started the story as five individuals who became heroes of their world.

“Each one of them has a particular skill that makes them a cut above the rest. Apart from their skills, they also possess good hearts that are willing to sacrifice even themselves for their families and for their people. That is why Apo, the benevolent and wise deity of Sansinukob, bestowed on them powerful weapons— ‘espada ni Minokawa,’ ‘pana ni Makiling,’ ‘palakol ni Bernardo Karpio,’ ‘arnis ni Liwliwa,’ and ‘kalasag ng Kataw’— they need to become Baganis and battle the evil forces of the Sarimaw.”

ABS-CBN responds

During the pilot episode of Bagani on March 5, Monday, they showed a disclaimer before the said series started.

The disclaimer read: “Ang kuwentong inyong mapapanood ay kathang-isip lamang at kumuha ng inspirasyon mula sa iba’t ibang alamat at mitolohiyang Pilipino. Ito’y hindi tumutukoy o kumakatawaan sa kahit anong Indigenous People sa Pilipinas.”

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Written by Angela Baltan

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