Sea Gypsies, Social Standing and the Rat Race

DSCF6912I took this photo during our most recent trip to Basilan.

If you’re not too familiar with these floating cottages, they’re traditional Bajau houses— abodes on stilts, made almost entirely out of driftwood. These houses forthrightly reflect the lifestyle of the nomadic people who live in them: simple, close-knit and pretty much wedded to the ever-changing whims of the ocean. Bajau communities of old were even more noteworthy; families lived in small boats called lepa-lepa. Traveling in a flotilla, they traded with strangers from lands faraway and bartered their bounty of fish for fruits, trepang for cloth, pearls for sacks of rice. Continue reading “Sea Gypsies, Social Standing and the Rat Race”