Are you a researcher, nonprofit fieldworker, or traveler, whose work often includes traveling to rural areas and hiking to far-flung, marginalized communities? If this is one of your first times […]
Batak Craft is an effort to rehabilitate the Batak Tribe’s physical and cultural health by addressing the root causes of their depopulation through enterprise facilitation: specifically, by creating a sustainable basket-weaving business for the Batak.
Batak Craft addresses the main problem of the Batak: poverty. Being a hunter-gatherer tribe, the Batak are ill-equipped to operate in today’s market economy. Without access to education, they have a hard time working with lowlanders and finding appropriate jobs, and therefore earning a steady income. With the forest-resources on a steady decline, the Batak are losing more and more of their natural food source, health, and cultural identity.
Our solution is to work within the tribe’s cultural foundation: Batak Craft will develop the tribe’s skill and process efficiency in traditional basket-weaving, document the tribe and its culture alongside, and sell their products to the international market. Batak Craft will achieve four goals: enable the Batak to earn a sustainable living, document the cultural practices before it vanishes, disseminate the information to a global audience, and inspire the Batak to nourish their culture. With this project, the Batak can earn enough for their basic needs like food and medical treatment, since majority of them are malnourished and sick. Then when the basics are covered, they can begin to think about self-actualization.
The Batak Tribe of Palawan, Philippines
The people of the Batak are believed to be one of the first inhabitants in the Philippines, of the negrito kind or are similar to negritos. The name, “Batak” is said to be a Cuyunon term for “mountain people”. The Batak used to be semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, collecting foods from the forest and rivers such as honey, tubers, fruits, leaves, animals, birds, fish, crustaceans, molluscs, rattans, nuts and seeds. The Batak used to live in the lowland areas. But as lowland Filipino villages were established by pioneer settlers from Cuyo, Luzon and the Visayas back in the nineteenth century, contact with these settlers and their society has brought a wide range of modernizing changes that have displaced local dependence and self-sufficiency with external dependence upon, and integration with, wider socio-economic spheres (Dalton, 1971)*.
* Reference: James F. Eder. Portrait of a Dying Society: Contemporary Demographic Conditions Among the Batak of Palawan. Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society 5 (1977) 12-20.
The Batak Tribal groups across the 6 settlements we visited in Puerto Princesa and Roxas, Palawan, Philippines. Click on an image to learn more about that particular tribal settlement.
We’re working on the field! Stay tuned for updates.
Fascinating. Was just studying the Batak’s natural healthcare system, and I’m in awe of how deeply spiritually-integrated they are with the environment. They have “humans we don’t see”, wood spirits, […]
“Kagabi, hindi ako nakatulog nang maganda. Nagbangon ako agad, [naga-sungod-sungod]. Nagalabas yung [nana] kagabi! Ah, bangon ako kaagad. Hindi ako makatiis. Lagi naga-kirot.” Translation: Last night, I didn’t sleep well. […]
At its heart, Batak Craft is made up of people who have a passion for the tribes and the environment, driven by a mission to preserve the local traditional heritage and help facilitate the Batak Tribe’s transition into this new economy.
Let’s work together.
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