“…a one of a kind experience where you can engage in the culture of the Igorots by wearing their beautiful trademark clothes.”
Being a part of a tribe means having distinct beliefs, practices, rituals and even clothing. Most of these ethnic groups are rich in culture and traditions. However, some people view them as inferior because of living differently from civilization.
There are tribes in Mountain Province of The Cordillera ranges called Igorot, whose culture is one of the most distinct in the Philippines. They have their own unique costume that makes them distinctive from other tribes in the Philippines. And what we don’t know is that their costume reflects their personalities, way of life, culture, religious practices and rituals.
At the Mines View Park in Baguio City, one of the most visited destinations in the city of pines, you can become an Igorot in an instant. If you brave the crowds and go to the viewing deck on the edge of a very steep hill, you will see the site of old copper and gold mines. There is a spot within the park premises that will let you experience the feeling of wearing Igorot clothing. At the back of the viewing deck, there you will find three women making a living out of renting Igorot costumes—vests, skirts, headresses, beads, spears and wooden shields—to tourists. For only 20 pesos you get to rent colorful costumes and wear it within the park for as long as you want.
Traditionally, there are no upper clothes for men. Tattoos are common in the upper body. And the amount of tattoos indicates the male’s authority in the village. Some Igorot costumes also include a head gear adorned with feathers, and some arm bands.
On the other hand, the female Igorot costume consists of a large rectangular woven clothing 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. They also have native beads or “bongol” in the Kalinga dialect that usually adorns the woman’s upper body. And 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”.
Twenty pesos is nothing compared to the experience you get to try in front of the huge crowd of tourists. It is a one of a kind experience where you can engage in the culture of the Igorots by wearing their beautiful trademark clothes. Wearing those Igorot costumes in public could be a fulfillment because you get to experience how an Igorot feels while wearing those clothes and it is the feeling of pride for a good reason.
Wearing Igorot costumes for even only 30 minutes can make you feel the respect, love, and value for their culture. You get to realize how they have made life in Baguio so colorful and enriching. And you realize that the cultural identity that their clothes bring does not make them inferior; instead it makes them very special and unique.