The Bajau, (also written as Badjao, Badjaw or Badjau) are an indigenous ethnic group of the southern Philippines.

Due to escalated conflicts in their native Sulu Archipelago of the southern Philippines, many of the Bajau have migrated to neighboring Malaysia over the course of 50 years. Currently they are the second largest ethnic group in the state of Sabah, making up 13.4%[1] of the total population. Groups of Bajau have also migrated to Sulawesi and Kalimantanin Indonesia, although figures of their exact population are unknown. They were sometimes referred to as the Sea Gypsies, although the term has been used to encompass a number of non-related ethnic groups with similar traditional lifestyles, such as the Moken of the Burmese-Thai Mergui Archipelago and the Orang Laut of southeastern Sumatra and the Riau Islands of Indonesia. The modern outward spread of the Bajau from older inhabited areas seems to have been associated with the development of sea trade in trepang.

Like the term Kadazan-dusun, Bajau is a collective term, used to describe several closely related indigenous groups. These Bajau groups also blend culturally with the Sama groups into what is most properly called the Sama-Bajau people. Historically the term "Sama" was used to describe the more land-oriented and settled Sama-Bajau groups, while "Bajau" was used to describe the more sea-oriented, boat-dwelling, nomadic groups. Even these distinctions are fading as the majority of Bajaus have long since abandoned boat living, most for Sama-style piling houses in the coastal shallows. Today, the greatest feature distinguishing the "Bajau" from the "Sama" is their poverty. The Sama-Bajau peoples speak some ten languages of the Sama-Bajau subgroup of the Western Malayo-Polynesian language family.[2]

The origin of the word Bajau is not clear cut. It is generally accepted that these groups of people can be termed Bajau, though they never call themselves Bajau. Instead, they call themselves with the names of their tribes, usually the place they live or place of origin. They accept the term Bajau because they realize that they share some vocabulary and general genetic characteristic such as in having darker skin, although the Simunuls appear to be an exception in having fairer skin. British administrators in Sabah, labeled the Samah as Bajau and put Bajau in their birth certificates as their race. During their time in Malaysia, some have started labeling themselves as their ancestors called themselves, such as Simunul. For political reasons and to ensure easy access to the Malaysian special privileges granted to Malays, many have started calling themselves Malay. This is especially true for recent Filipino migrants. For most of their history, the Bajau have been a nomadic, seafaring people, living off the sea by trading and subsistence fishing.[3] The boat dwelling Bajau see themselves as non-aggressive people. They kept close to the shore by erecting houses on stilts, and traveled using lepa-lepa, handmade boats which many lived in.[3] Although historically originating from the southern

However. but the bride was later kidnapped by the Sultan of Brunei. they frequently enter Sabah and find jobs as manual laborers. That's why native Kadazan-Dusun call Sama people as "tuhun(people of) Sama" or "tulun(people of) Sama" in their dialects. craftsmen. Currently." the true wanderers of the Sulu seas. Sama people fled to the west coast of North Borneo where they felt safe to live under the protection of the Brunei Sultanate. Badjao Badjao are the "sea gypsies. but loyal workers. off the Sabah coast. The Badjao are a superficially Islam tribe numbering some 20. Another version narrates that they were escorting the Sultan's bride. They are born on the water. With the island as a base. the form of recognition before western civilization found Borneo. boat builders and farmers that fled from cruelty of ethnic cleansing in chaotic Johor during aggression of the Bugis taking over the throne of Johor. live upon their tiny crafts for a lifetime turning tawny and blode in the sun and salt .and set foot on the land only to die. who settled along the east coast of Borneo after being driven there by storms. there are traces that Sama people came from Riau Archipelago especially Lingga Island more than 300 years ago. starting from trade with the Empire of Brunei. .000. Many of them are illegal immigrants on the Malaysian island. (note connection to bride being sent from Johor to Sulu and then being kidnapped by the Prince of Brunei) With the fall of the legitimate Sultan of Johor due to being overthrown by Bugis immigrants. there exists a huge settlement of Filipino Bajau in Pulau Gaya. It is believed by some that the migration process of Samah to North West Borneo took place more than 100 years earlier. The fact that the Bajau-Sama languages belong to the Philippine branch of Malayo-Polynesian languages would substantiate the anthropological origins of the Bajau groups to be from the Philippines. and put the origin legends down to the historic Malay-centric influence of Bajau culture. It was believed that Sama people are not from the royalty of the Sultanate. after the fall of the Malay Malacca empire. Sabahan Sama legend narrates that they had originated from members of the royal guard of the Sultan of Johor.Philippine coasts.

They had recently migrated to Sabah from a place called Tandobas in the Philippines) .Demographics and religion The various Bajau sub-groups vary culturally. Semporna and Lahad Datu Towns. some Bajau understand the Bajau Ubian language. Even though they are called Bajau. Sama (commonly known as Bajau Kota Belud.. For example. and the only Bajau group that mostly has fair skin. Malaysia) 2. not Bajau. 6. Tando' Bas (This sub-group was rarely found in Sabah before 1970s. hence although living among Malay peoples for a substantial part of their history. It must have been the British administrators that define them as Bajau. and religiously. and the Bajau Ubian and Simunul in Sabah are able to understand and speak the Tausug language called the Suluk language in Sabah. There are a small minority of Christians.) Bajau Banadan (This sub-group. Samah/Sama Sulawesi Selatan[4] Simunul (They can be found at Kampung Bokara. and not just in Kota Belud. not Bajau and their neighbours. They reside on many islands of the Philippines and its seas. Religion can vary from a strict adherence to Sunni Islam. [edit]Sub-groups Commonly. as well as sizable minorities living around the towns of Kudat and Semporna in Sabah. 4.) 7. certain sub-groups are able to understand the languages of other sub-groups. because most of them live in or near area of Kota Belud. and have origins in the Philippines. the Dusuns also call them Sama. Sabah. to animistic beliefs in spirits and ancestor worship. each sub-groups has their own unique language. cultures and tradition. Lists of Bajau sub-groups: 1. Sandakan. many sub-groups of Bajau are named after the place or island they live-in for many years. forms offolk Islam. However. linguistically. Samal (A group native to the Philippines. live mostly in Kudat. 3. Ubian (The largest group of Bajau. where they are still mostly found and are the majority there.) 5. Simunuls in Sabah originate from Tawi-tawi. are also able to converse in the Philippine Tausug and Samal languages. This is actually a misnomer as they can be found all over the west coast of the state. They call themselves Sama.

The Bajau people are also well known for weaving and needlework skills. Philippines) 12. In Semporna. tend to be included with the Joget dances at wedding ceremonies at night. also simply called Daling-daling. Tawi-tawi. They had recently migrated to Sabah) For more lists. Sabah. Tabawan (This sub-group was rarely found in Sabah before 1970s. Pangalay. Pala'u (This sub-group originally lived on boats all the time but recently in Sabah. where the majority still live. 13. In fact it has become the dance of choice for wedding ceremonies for native communities in Semporna and has spread to Sandakan. and practice more of a syncrtic folk hybrid. Tolen (This sub-group was found only at Bum-bum island. Sabah. No trace of them anywhere else even in the Philippines) 10. are much less adherent to orthodox Islam. in Semporna. [edit]Religion Claims to religious piety and learning are an important source of individual prestige among the coastal Bajau.this is their main claim to fame in Malaysia. Malaysia.) 11. CULTURE Bajaus are expert horsemen . They had recently migrated to Sabah from a place called Ungus Matata in the Philippine.'Daling-Daling like the performance dance from Вajaus dance like Іgal-igal. this dance. terms for their languages is Вahasa Вajau. Some have recently migrated to Sabah) Sikubung (This sub-group was rarely found in Sabah before 1970s.8. They also invented their own dance called Igal-igal in Вajau languages. some have settled on land. This sub-group was rarely found in Sabah before 1970s. . The Ubian 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. based on the Daling-daling moves and costumes. known in Islamic terminology as Jinn.) 9. the Bajau groups perform the likely Tausug's dance. Ungus Matata (This sub-group was rarely found in Sabah before 1970s. due to their nomadic marine lifestyle. Bahasa Sama-Bajau or Bahasa Sama. They have recently migrated to Sabah from a place called Tabawan. By the year 2000. revering local sea spirits. where horse riding has never been widespread anywhere else. among the Sama Bajau communities. This is helped by the production of Music Videos of the Daling-daling songs and dances. Banguingui (Native to the Philippines.

Karungdung at Talipaw. Among the boat-dwellers in particular. fishing in these areas has led to concern about overfishing[7] and destruction of Bajau vessels. and the vessels are believe to have a spirit (Sumangaq). Gumagawa rin sila ng mga vinta at mga gamit sa pangingisda tulad ng lambat at bitag. Samal ang kanilang wika. May haka-hakang sila at ang mga Samal ay isang pangkat na nagmula sa Johore sa dakong timog ng pinensulang Malaya.In Sarawak there are a number of Iban named Bajau (Beransah Bajau. Nakatira sila sa mga bangkang-bahay. Bajau. Tanjung. Hillary Bajau) Mythology Many Bajaus of the east coast retain their seaborne lifestyle. An example of this is the offering of thanks to the Omboh Dilaut.[3] Ang pangkat na Badjao ay naninirahan sa Sulu. whenever a particularly large catch is brought in. Tapul. Bangas. Pangingisda ang pangunahin nilang hanapbuhay.[6] The Bajau often intentionally rupture their eardrums at an early age in order to facilitate diving and hunting at sea. In times of epidemics. Bus-bus. Maimbung. Pata.[6] The construction and launch of these craft are ritualized. Isang pamilya na may myembrong 2-13 miyembro ang maaaring tumira sa bangkang-bahay.[6] Under a 1974 Memorandum of Understanding. . Kahawig ng mga Samal ang kanilang kultura. Tinatawag din silang Luaan. "Indonesian traditional fishermen" are allowed to fish within the Exclusive Economic Zone ofAustralia. the mediums are also called upon to remove illness causing spirits from the community. Magaling din silang sumisid ng perlas. Lugus. Lutaos. which includes traditional fishing grounds of Bajau fishers. Ang mga kababaihan ay naghahabi ng mga banig na may iba't-ibang uri ng makukulay na disenyo. Parang. 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. sa mga bayan ng Maubu. community spirit mediums are consulted at least once a year for a public séance and nightly trance dancing. The east coast Sabah Bajau are also famous for the annual Semporna Regatta. They do this by setting a "spirit boat" adrift in the open sea beyond the village or anchorage. However. the God of the Sea. Many older Bajau are therefore hard of hearing. Orang Laut.[5] Maritime technology and fishing Bajau fishers make use of wooden sailing vessels known as perahu lambo for voyages to the Timor and Arafura seas. together with remnants of traditional pre-Islamic beliefs. Samal Pal'u at Pala'u.

It may carry the same designs as those on the boat. naniniwala pa rin sila sa umboh o kaluluwa ng kanilang mga ninuno. aritis (earing). the wedding beautician must be adept at applying the special makeup on the bride and groom. Woman’s accessories are jewelry and colored combs. The most common is that made from sulau(letter cone) or kima (tidachna gigas). the lyrics are improvised and sung to a traditional tune. The leleng is sung for any occasion. The melody of a known tenes may be used for a different set of lyrics. and incised with lavish floral designs. Black dots are outlined horizontally above the eyebrows and/or beneath the eyes with the pointed end of a coconut midrib. Performing Arts The Badjao have five types of song: leleng. waistband. The Badjao dance traditions have much in common with the other ethnic groups of Sulu. Another beautician attends the groom and his face is made up the same way. but especially by a young man for his sweetheart. Gayunpaman. tracing with thin gild. The costume for the igal is the allabimbang and the sawwal. The lugu’s lyrics are verses from the Koran. The basic traditional dance movement is the igal or pangalay performed by the female. A male marker is distinguished by a column topped with a fez. pouch.Dahil malapit sa Tausug. The binoa is similarly chanted as the leleng. Badjao painting and carving are integral to the people’s life cycle. or a stylized human face. or circumcisions. the beautician shape’s the bride’s eyebrows into a triangle and carves tiny bangs on her forehead. The hair is preferably pulled back in a bun. incision of interlocking curves. The female marker is marked by a flat triangle. and lugu. Some tenes are love and courting songs. and galungsung (anklet). The tenes-tenes is a ballad whose tune changes with the lyrics. haircuts. panulkin. or pillow. It can serve as putung (headcover). by anyone of any age. Among the Badjao it is large enough to fit any person and is worn by both men and women as a skirt or gown tucked at the chest level. Lampblack is used to outline a rectangle on her forehead and this is emphasized by yellow ginger juice. a stylized umbrella. blanket. A simpay (band) forms the front opening and extends to the back from a small collar. The dance is accompanied by any drum or a gabbang. and songs that are addressed to sharks. hukut-liug (necklace). from 7 PM to 1 AM. The patadjung/tadjong has many uses. or brass wires. karamihan sa kanila ay Muslim. It is also sung for special occasions like weddings. singsing (ring). relief hammered from the reverse side. Other pieces of jewelry are the gantung-liug (pendant). The panulkin is sung only by the imam and has traditional tune and lyrics. sometimes with scalloped edges. tenes. especially the Samal. With a razor blade tied with thread to a split bamboo twig. although it may also be allowed to hung loose. hood. sash. . The gallang (bracelet) is the most popular ornament. binoa. it has a traditional and melancholy tune. A woman sings the lugu at a wedding as the imam or panglima walks with the groom to the bride’s side. It is sung during the vigil of the dead. It may be sung for any occasion and by anyone. Visual Crafts and Arts The traditional attire of the Badjao consists of either everyday wear or elaborately embroidered costumes for special occasions. arabesque. Except for the last two. silver. A sundok (grave marker) may also be especially fashioned from a separated piece of wood. cradle. It is a way of keeping awake and of making the community aware that somebody has died. It is carved into an animal form. In wedding ceremonies. such as a spirit into the afterlife. and filigree. Metal craft designs can be classified into three kinds: the repousse. The women’s sablay is a loosed sleeved blouse reaching down to the hips. shoulder bag. hammock.

and novelistic tales. The southern Badjao is located on the islands of Tawi-Tawi. stayed onn the sea. The fishers managed to untie their boats. trickster tales. fearing to go on to Sulu or return to Johore. One night a typhoon came and they had to moor by a sandbar. Or it may be that their spoken form of literature is indistinguishable from that of the Samal. "what kind of fish. which is a dialect of Samal language. As they were about to rest for the night. which had begun to swim round and round in a frantic attempt to unloosen the boats tied to its nose. The Badjaos are popularly known as the "Sea Gypsies" of the Sulu and Celebes seas.Literary Arts Badjao literature. Escorted by a fleet of war boats. They realized theyhad tied their boats to the nose of a giant manta ray. Badjao riddles collected in the Semporna district of Sbah have a set opening: daing-daing ai. shells and so forth. Indonesia. Their livelihood is totally dependent on the resources of the sea . Some turned to piracy and established pirate dens along North Borneo coasts. but by then. The Badjaos speak of the language Sinama. to whom is attributed such forms of oral literature as animal tales. mooring only at uninhabited islands. but was betrothed instead to the Sulu sultan. seaweeds." Sather observed groups of young men playing these guessing games at night. they had been flung in various directions. Badjaos maybe divided into two groups: the southern Badjao and the northern Badjao. Other people dive after it to rescue it. The Badjaos are an oppressed tribe. materials for boat construction. A sea ritual makes the Badjaos childbirth practice somewhat peculiar. They are generally boat dwellers whose religion is ancestor worship mixed with Islamic influences. and fishing equipment. Jolo. A Badjao tale says that the ancestors of the Samal ha Laud came from a fishing clan in Johore. except for their kata-kata (narrative forms) and riddles. either for food or to sell/barter for other necessities such as clothing. intercepted them and took the princess away.The Badjaos call themselves as Sama Laus(Sea Sama). matobes. .The term "Badjao" is a Malay-Borneo word which connotes "man of the seas" or Orang Laut in Bahasa Melayu. she was sailing towards Sulu when a Brunei fleet. Basilan and Zamboanga. numskull tales. magical tales. They are referred to a palao or lumaan (God forsaken) by the Tausugs. She preferred the Brunei sultan. The princess’ retinue. each side even betting some money on its answers. Another origin story involves the Princess Ayesha of Johore and the Sultans of Brunei and Sulu. The newly born infant is thrown into the sea. their boats suddenly started bucking up and down. Sibutu and Semporna(Sabah) while the northern Badjao is located inSiasi. led by their Sultan.fishes. seems to have been created primarily to be sung. This ritual is simply an initiation into the reality of the Badjao life which is based on kinship with the sea. A group of boats sailed in search of richer fishing grounds.

who spends periods alternately between their houseboats and village homes. The Badjaos have no permanent dwellings and live on their boats throughout the year. Fronting their house is an open platform to serve as boat landing stage.Badjaos can be divided into three types based on their form of residence: the sedentary. Marriage among the Badjaos is usually arranged by the parents of the bride and the groom. the Badjaos have built houses usually 20 to 30 feet long with a width of 15 feet thereby forming a perfect rectangle. with commercial pursuits and permanent homes. and the sea gypsies. who live in houseboats as itinerant fisher folk in search of rich fishing grounds. It is characterized by the dowry giving by the groom. the semisedentary. . In some places.

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