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Joe Chua Agdeppa Photography 2010 Year Ender's Portraiture
feat the Indigenous Tribe of Palawan -- The Bataks

 

 

The Batak, which means "mountain people" in Cuyonon is a group of indigenous Filipino people that resides in the northeast portion of Palawan. They live in the rugged interiors of northeastern Palawan. Living close to nature, they are a peaceful and shy people. But the Toba Bataks however are much more aggressive than the "younger" Karo Batak.

The Batak are the smallest of the three major Palawan groups. They also appear to be the most endangered, their population having progressively decreased over the years. In the early 1900s, they numbered around 600 (Miller 1905:183).

By 1970 the number of Batak mother-tongue speakers had dwindled to 393 (Llamzon 1978:112). Batak or Binatak is the language spoken by this group. Unlike the two other groups, the Palawan and Tagbanua, the Batak have not adopted the ancient syllabify and script of Indic derivation, despite the fact that their ancestral territory adjoins the Tagbanua cultural area.

 
Because of their physical characteristics, the Batak have been classified as a Philippine Aeta group, or as having Aeta affinities (Eder 1977:12). An early account described the Batak as resembling somewhat the Aeta in other parts of the Philippines, but having more physical resemblances with the Semang and Sakai of the Malay peninsula, with their long and kinky hair, hirsute faces and bodies, small stature but well-formed bodies (Miller 1905:183).
 
The exact origins of the Batak have not been determined. Based on their Aeta characteristics, it can be assumed that they comprise the remnants of a formerly more numerous group of Aeta who settled in Palawan in an early period (Miller 1905:186). What is known is that for a long period, they were a nomadic group roaming vast areas in the north, settling in a place long enough to find food, then moving on to other places to continue hunting and gathering. They were described in early accounts as a very timid and peaceable people, who avoided contact with foreigners.

The traditional costume of the Batak is simple, consisting mainly of bark cloth which they prepare from a species of mulberry tree. For the lower-body covering of the men, long strips of bark are cut, the outer portion removed, and the fibrous part pounded until it becomes a soft fluffy material.
 
It was 10 years ago when I first had the chance to put Palawan in the internet. And from then, I tried my best to keep it online 24/7. It was one of my school projects -- www.discover.palawan.8k.com
 
Like other Aeta groups in the Philippines, the Batak are an animist group. They believe in good and bad spirits who dwell in trees, rocks, and mountains. some of these spirits are Batungbayanin, spirit of the mountains; Paglimusan, spirit of the small stones; Balungbunganin, spirit of the almaciga trees; and Sulingbunganin, spirit of the big rocks. In Batak cosmogony, there are gods who are to be feared, because of the retribution they can inflict upon mortals; there are also gods to be thanked for many favours they give to people. In old Batak lore, there was a god named Maguimba, who in remotest times lived among the people, having been summoned by a powerful babaylan, and he supplied all the necessities of Batak life, as well as all the cures for illness. He even had the power to bring the dead back to life.
 


A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T


This charity will never happen without the help of my bro Herson Nebaya and his wife Debbie Nadayao-Nebaya, to PUCAW organizers [Diane Collo, Sweetie Mata and Lei Canon] and to all the participants especially our sponsors [A&A Plaza Hotel, Tonie's Mart Mall, Ysabelle Mansion, JFJ Optical Clinic, Palawan Times, Noly Pediapco, Jayson Mayugba, Gerald Banzuela, Rhoda Felizarte,
Jacquelyn Silva-Beltran, Cindy Enriquez, Eugene Quiamco, Mona Dador, Jerilee Antic-Java], to Bgy. Captain and his committee for the overwhelming support.
To Mark Romasanta and Junjun (aka Badz) for holding my lights. To my family, love and friends for always being my inspiration.

To God be the glory!

 

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