Batak People of the Phillipines

Jared Brinkman and Colton Wilcox

Batak People in the Past

Past Geography of the Batak People

  • Lived near Indian Ocean
  • Batak People fished using plant based poison
  • Usually lived in forest areas or near water
  • Made houses out of wood sticks and sometimes bamboo
  • Kaingin- "slash and burn" farming method
  • Fertile soil led to lots of farming and trading

History of Batak People

  • Formed around 500 AD
  • Were forced out of their area of Luzon by farmers around the 20th Century
  • The farmers moved them into the mountains away from fertile soil
  • Belief system was/still is Animism

Past Culture of Batak People

  • Animism is their belief system ( believe spirits reside in nature)
  • Their language was Pakpak-Dair
  • Dialects- Angkola and Mandailing
  • Resources- Fish, rice, wood, duck, chicken, cow, goats, and pigs

Past Economics of the Batak People

  • Traded- hobo rice paddies, farm animals, peppers, and wood
  • Currency- Never had a specific currency

Past Government of the Batak People

  • Used to have a leader until they were taken over by in 1956
  • Laws- cannibalism used to be legal in tribes

Present Day Batak People

Present Geography of Batak People

  • Live near mountains
  • Changed fishing tactic to line and hook
  • Less fertile land led to trade of different items
  • Still live in forest areas
  • Architecture has gotten better due to the government help

Present Culture of Batak People

  • Malim is their religion (derived from Islam)
  • Still believe in Animism
  • Language- Alas Kluet
  • Dialects- Tuba
  • Traditions- Marriage, Kinship
  • Marriage- You can only get married to other Batak People
  • Kinship- Similar to a holiday, it celebrates their four main principles
  • Resources- Fish, salt, pepper, and animals

Present Economics of Batak People

  • Still have no currency
  • Trade- Fish, cooking oil, salt, pepper, and wood carvings
  • Roads have been built to extend trade routes

Present Government of Batak People

  • Have been led by the Philippine government since 1956
  • Government took them over after building a road and finding them
  • In 1997 the government passed a law to protect indigenous groups
  • Laws- Same as Philippine government

Future of the Batak People

Basic Info
  • One of about 70 indigenous peoples of the Philippines
  • Only 500 Batak people are left in the Phillipines compared to thousands in other countries
  • Prediction- Batak People will go extinct in the next 50 years


  • Geography- Eventually the short supply of food due to the non-fertile soil near the mountains will cause them to move to a new area.
  • Explanation- They have already moved multiple times and their food supply has decreased ever since the government relocated them to the mountains.
  • Culture- Their culture won't change majorly, but there might be changes in language and resources.
  • Explanation- Their traditions, beliefs, and religion have lasted hundreds of years and will most likely continue to reign. Their language and resources have changed throughout history and will probably continue to do so; especially, if they continue to move.
  • Economics- The trade will get them more money despite the lack of resources because of the roads being built.
  • Explanation- More roads are being built every year because the government keeps adding them. The roads will give the Batak people more outlets to trade to and increase their profits. Economic gain will occur despite of the lack of resources because of the new trade networks.
  • Government- The laws for the Batak people will change according to the Philippine government and despite the governments attempt to keep the people alive, the decreasing population will gradually cause the tribe to disappear.
  • Explanation- Since the government is in control of the Batak people, the laws will change according to them. The population is decreasing rapidly (only 500 left) and the government can take little action to stop this.
Dancing during mourning... with gondang, traditional music of Batak People