Bagani is a warrior, not a historical figure
The Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil-starrer Bagani had a trending premiere on Monday amassing more than half-a-million tweets on Twitter and registering 35.5 percent nationwide rating (or 20 points higher than its rival) based on Kantar Media.
Coinciding with the series’ debut on primetime, ABS-CBN released a statement following the criticism the program received from netizens saying that the members of cast that also include Matteo Guidicelli, Sofia Andres and Makisig Morales are not Filipino enough to play the roles.
According to the press statement, the concept of the new series is to feature warriors, protectors, and heroes who espouse Filipino values and beliefs.
It further explained that the production team did intensive research to determine a distinctly Filipino term that embodies a champion who fights for the common good of his tribe or family—somebody who is brave, honorable, self-sacrificing, and good-hearted. In the end, the team recognized that the term and concept of a “Bagani” best solidifies the traits that the program wants to highlight.
“With all due respect, the use of “Bagani” is not in any way intended to malign or to disrespect beliefs of the Indigenous Peoples’ communities, but instead hopes to propagate the values, morals, and ethics that are inherent in a ‘Bagani’—a Filipino warrior, protector, and hero,” the statement said.
It further stated that the series does not purport itself to be a historical account of Philippine history or culture.
“The program has always maintained that it has created an alternative fictional universe with elements of Filipino mythology and folklore that simply serves as an avenue to creatively deliver and highlight Filipino values, beliefs, and heroism,” the statement ended.