The Batak Tribe of Palawan, Philippines

Sitio Manggapin Batak Chieftain Berto Madamay collects leaves called “bago” as viand for lunch.

Sitio Manggapin Batak Chieftain Berto Madamay collects leaves called “bago” as viand for lunch.


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.

Batak Settlements

See 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.

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Batak Craft: Traditional Skills and Livelihood Development for the Batak Tribe of Palawan, Philippines

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