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Style of Living of Badjao

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The Badjao are popularly known as “Sea Gypsies” of the Sulu and Celebes Sea. The name “Badjao” is a Malay-Bornean word which connotes “man of the seas” or Orang-Laut in Bahasa Malayo. Their Sama and Tausug neighbors call them by pejorative names such as Samal Palau (outcast Samal). The badjao call themselves as Samal Laus (Sea Sama). Many badjaos live most of their lives in houseboats, which occasionally cluster in moorings near certain strands and beaches, so as to do business in nearby market places of the land-dwelling Sama and Tausug. In the markets they barter their sea products for such farm produce as fruits and cassava. On the shore they also fetch drinking water, gather firewood and gather materials needed in the construction and repair of their houseboats. The Badjao or sea gypsies inhabit the shores and waters of Sulu archipelago. These groups of Badjaos may be classified according to lifestyle. The badjao inhabiting Siasi Island is semi-sedentary, building stilt-houses over the water and engaging in fishing. The group of the Sitangkai builds permanent homes on the shore whiles the group live in the houseboat called sakayan.

The stilt-houses merely serve as a temporary refuge during the time that their boathouses undergo repairs. The other boats are called lipa, vinta, pelang and kumpit. The Badjaos are found in many coastal settlements dotting the Sulu archipelago, particularly in Jolo, Tawi-Tawi and Sitangkai. Others are scattered in Davao, Surigao, Zamboanga, Basilan, Bohol, Cebu and Manila in search of livelihood. They are estimated to be 191,817 (OSCC, 1987). Their physical features are distinctively attributable to their environment and their mode of life. They have sturdy built dark brown skin and bronze hair. Their manner of walking is affected to a large extent by their crouching on boat stern while sailing or fishing. The Badjaos are oppressed tribe.

They are referred to as palao or lumaan (God forsaken) by the Tausugs. Badjaos developed an inferiority attitude towards the Tausugs and the Samals who always look down on them. Originally, they used to live on the land but the constant pressure on their safety by the other Muslim tribes forced them to seek the sea. They eventually found that the sea afforded them greater avenues of escape in the event of attack. The sea environment shaped Badjao attitude. They learned to exploit the sea to their fullest advantage. Their prowess is in fishing, raising seaweeds and oyster. Pearl gathering is another occupation, and products of the sea they gather to sell at market. CULTURE

The Regatta Lepa festival in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia. Lepa means “boat” in the dialect of east coast Bajau. In this festival, Bajau people decorate their boats with colorful flags. Many Bajaus of the east coast retain their seaborne lifestyle, together with remnants of traditional pre-Islamic beliefs. Traditional Bajau communities may have a dukun (i.e. a shaman) and may adhere to taboos concerning the treatment of the sea and other cultural aspects. Among the boat-dwellers in particular, community spirit mediums are consulted at least once a year for a public séance and nightly trance dancing. In times of epidemics, the mediums are also called upon to remove illness causing spirits from the community. They do this by setting a “spirit boat” adrift in the open sea beyond the village or anchorage. It has been suggested by some researchers that Bajau people’s visits to Arnhem Land gave rise to the accounts of the mysterious Baijini people in the myths of Australia’s Yolngu Aboriginals.

Bajau fishermen make use of wooden sailing vessels known as perahu lambo for voyages to the Timor and Arafura seas. The construction and launch of these craft are ritualized, and the vessels are believed to have a spirit (Sumanga’). Under a 1974 Memorandum of Understanding, “Indonesian traditional fishermen” are allowed to fish within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Australia, which includes traditional fishing grounds of Bajau fishers. However, fishing in these areas has led to concern about over fishing and destruction of Bajau vessels. Bajaus are also noted for their exceptional abilities in free-diving, with physical adaptations that enable them to see better and dive longer underwater. Some Bajau intentionally rupture their eardrums at an early age in order to facilitate diving and hunting at sea. Many older Bajau are therefore hard of hearing. The West Coast Bajau is expert horsemen – this is their main claim to fame in Malaysia, where horse riding has never been widespread anywhere else. Bajau people are also well known for weaving and needlework skills. Bajau have a unique type of dance called the Pangigal. It is common in wedding ceremonies for native communities throughout Malaysia and the Philippines. This dance is most famously danced to the music Daling-daling. RELIGIONS

According to our study there are 95.26% badjau people that their religion is Islam, because according to the history of badjau they found in Sulu archipelago. We have also 0.52% of badjau’s Christian (Christianity), 0.08% of folk religion (Other religion), and 4.14% of badjau’s that have no religion or unknown. Claims to religious piety and learning are an important source of individual prestige among the coastal Bajau, and the title of salip/sarip (descendants of the Prophet Muhammad) are shown special honor in the local community. Some of the Bajau lack mosques and must rely on the shore-based communities such as those of the more Islamized Аrabic or Malay peoples. The Ubian Bajau, due to their nomadic marine lifestyle, are much less adherent to orthodox Islam, and practice more of a syncretic folk hybrid, revering local sea spirits, known in Islamic terminology as Jinn. BELIEFS

* Thanks – giving offering to the Omboh Dilaut, the God of the Sea, whenever a particularly large catch is brought in. * . Spirit mediums are consulted at least once a year for a public séance and nightly trance dancing. * In times of epidemics, the mediums are also called upon to remove illness causing spirits from the community. They do this by setting a “spirit boat” adrift in the open sea beyond the village or anchorage. * A Badjao wedding is a three day affair with dancing, food and festivities. The whole town is invited. Today, the ceremony has been mixed with modern formal rite. * On the final day of festivities, most of the people of the community gathered in front of the church, watching dancers and waiting for the fun to begin. * The bride wore a white, frilly gown. Around her neck hung not one but two large gold necklaces with another in her hair which laid low on her forehead. * The bride hair was tucked up under a white tulle veil that trailed behind her. * On her hands she wore lacy gloves.

Each finger donned at least one large gold ring and her wrists drooped with gold bracelets. * A woman sings the “lugu” before the ceremony starts as the “imam”, the lugu’s lyrics are verses from the Koran; it has a traditional and melancholy tune. * Today, some of the Badjao tribes are civilized. The groom was in also his finest. But for him, that meant shiny new sneakers, dark blue a traditional jeans and white linen shirt. His hair was spiked with gobs of gel. And up until the vows, he wore brand-new black sun glasses. They sat on a bench with their hands neatly folded on golden pillows. * They exchanged rings and vowed to love each other; they performed together a traditional badjao dance, the PANGALAY. * The traditional attire of a Badjao is the “patadjong.” It has many uses; they are made large enough to fit any person and are worn by both men and women as a skirt or gown tucked at the chest level. * It can serve as head cover, waistband, sash, blanket, hammock, shoulderbag, cradle, pouch, or pillow. CONCLUSIONS

The Badjao’s are people that came somewhere in Mindanao they are not totally alms to other people but because of their smell and look they compare to the people who live in the street and they known as badjao. Many people want to know how they live or survive in life. In our study we discovered that the style of living is far from them. They sale their merchandise on the port, they fish every day, and also they are hunter. There houses are made up of woods and other collecting junk. We don’t need to judge other people to their physical attributes to know their attitude. The Badjao are comfortable the way their live. They don’t assume to be rich they are the people who know how to satisfy. Foods are their only problems they want to solve because they are depend to the nature of forest.

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