The Batak at the Sitio Nanabo, Barangay Caramay settlement display the most successful integration of traditional and modern practices, applied in day-to-day living.
To get there, drop by the Caramay Barangay Hall before and after the trip to log your names and contact details in their Visitor Log Book–for safety. Bring plenty of fish and canned goods to sustain you, and be sure to eat a healthy breakfast prior. The hike is a long and tiring one, and not for the faint of joints.
- Rivers to cross: Depends on the route
- Hours of Travel from Highway: 3.5 – 4.5 Hours
- Reachable: By Motorcycle; By foot
- Population: Unknown
Batak Self-Sufficiency at Sitio Nanabo
all the 6 Batak settlements the Batak Craft team visited last November 2014, the Sitio Nanabo group seems to have the most forest resources available for food and livelihood. The Batak at Sitio Nanabo living 4 – 8 hours away from “civilization” (the farthest group of all), you would think that they are also the most traditional of all the Batak groups across Puerto Princesa and Roxas. You’d be surprised.
When Jojo, Rudra and I went there the second time (more on the first time later), we were greeted by very busy people. We didn’t know what was up, but the chieftain and the pastor were quite busy fixing something. Only later did we realize that it was the day of Pacman’s fight, and they were working on the TV so they can watch the match. If you’re not familiar with Pacman–he’s only the country’s pride and glory in the basketball sports arena. Philippines has had a consistent no-crime rate on the days of Pacman’s fights.
Pastor Jo Demafelis, the tribe’s pastor, greeted us finally. He instructed us to settle down at the pre-school classroom to rest, and so Jojo and Rudra can finish cooking our fish in time for dinner. A little later, I heard the TV roar under the roof. Above it stood a small satellite that was the bridge between us and the rest of the world. People have gathered at Pastor Jo’s living room, where his family TV has become the village TV. Men, women, children were there, all curiously watching the game.
I wondered to myself, what was powering the TV? It turns out, the Batak at the Caramay settlement had solar panels. Cool. When the power ran out, they turned on the generator to watch the rest of the match. Way cool.
Tired from trekking past countless river crossings, and suffering a mild fever, I took some time to rest in the pre-school classroom. It was here that I saw how they were teaching their young basic Binatak words. This was beautiful. In other Batak settlements, the school taught their children Tagalog and English as basic subjects at pre-school. But here in Caramay, they were teaching the Binatak language first and foremost, before introducing Tagalog and English into the vocabulary.