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Sunday, September 10, 2023

WATCH: NBA releases short film featuring Igorot own "Bahag-ketball" game

Photo Courtesy || NBA

Cordillera - The National Basketball Association (NBA) has unveiled a captivating short film shedding light on the profound influence of basketball in the Philippines, spanning from the bustling city of Manila to the rugged terrain of northern Luzon.

Entitled "The Mountain Ballers of the Philippines," this seven-minute cinematic masterpiece showcases the Igorots, an indigenous community nestled within the Cordillera Mountain Range, particularly in the town of Tadian.

The film delves into Tadian's rich historical tapestry, emphasizing its status as the custodian of some of the nation's oldest rice terraces, with roots tracing back centuries before Spanish colonization gripped the archipelago in the 1500s. Within this municipality, a diligent farming populace has forged a unique bond with basketball, using it as a cherished means of relaxation after strenuous toil.

Local farmer Rocky Biswelan, featured in the film, articulates this sentiment, stating, "It's a long and exhausting day, but when I spot fellow villagers playing basketball on my way home, I always find time to join them."

Ayyoweng Di Lambak Ed Tadian, an annual festival, plays a pivotal role in preserving the cultural heritage of Tadian. Amidst vibrant displays of traditional attire and dances, the festival introduces a modern twist known as "bahag-ketball." During this spectacle, participants don loincloths (bahags) and engage in barefoot basketball matches, reviving the sporting spirit of ancient communities.

Tadian Vice Mayor George Bisen, Jr. elucidated, "Bahag-ketball serves as a homage to the historic basketball style of our ancestors, illustrating that Igorots, both past and present, have an enduring passion for the sport. As Igorots, we revel in physicality, especially when the game is fiercely contested. It is a tribute to our forebears through the medium of sports."

Mayor Hon. Constito Masweng of Tadian emphasized the vital role of sports in the municipality's development, particularly for the youth, as it keeps them "engaged in positive extracurricular activities."

This poignant short film, a creation of writer and director Carlo Ledesma, constitutes a part of the "NBA Films for Fans" initiative, a project celebrating the global resonance of the NBA and basketball, exploring diverse cultural perspectives from around the world.



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