MANILA—A member of the Philippine national arnis squad fought for his right to wear the traditional bahag while competing in the Southeast Asian Games, a team official said Monday.
ChriSamuel Delfin, a "proud Igorot", won the gold medal in the men's arnis anyo category last week after he performed his combat skills to the tune of ethnic instruments and dressed in his native garb.
"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," Senator Miguel Zubiri told ANC's "Headstart."
Zubiri is the president of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation, the sport's national governing body.
"(Delfin) didn't want because he said as an Igorot, it is an insult to wear a brief or something under [the bahag]," Zubiri added.
International technical officials initially denied Delfin's request, saying that the Games could not risk a wardrobe malfunction during a live broadcast.
"Our coach said, 'It is better to disqualify him than to deny him of his heritage,'" Zubiri said.
"I had to talk to the coach and said, 'No, no, no, huwag [i-disqualify] kasi magaling itong batang ito'."
Delfin eventually obliged to wear a string undergarment under his bahag.
"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.
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