Sea Gypsy Life

Badjao houses on stilts Tawi Tawi, Philippines © Jojie Alcantara, 2012

Badjao houses on stilts Tawi Tawi, Philippines © Jojie Alcantara, 2012

An island province in the southwestern tip of the Philippines, Tawi-Tawi is home to the Badjaos, indigenous ethnic groups referred to as “sea gypsies” who inhabit the shores and waters of the Sulu archipelago.  Similar to the Samas and Tausugs in building coastal dwellings, the Badjao stilt house stands alone on an expanse of water without bridges to other houses or catwalks to the shore, and is reached only by boat. These houses are constructed from biodegradable materials such as lumber, bamboo and sawali (bamboo matting). Continue reading