Lepa Boat

The lepa boat is a houseboat of the Sama D’Laut better known as the Badjau. They are the sea faring or “sea gypsies people” located in Sitangkai, Tawi-tawi and Bongao. They use their houseboat to travel from one place to another and fish along the way for their subsistence. They are a mobile people reaching as far as Sulawesi, Indonesia, Sabah and even Vietnam. The houseboat is one of the most beautiful of traditional boats possessing an ancient type of architecture that has a uniquely designed sail. It is made of hardwood most probably the yakal tree with carvings (okil) directly on the boat, projecting hulls and prow. This was collected in Sitangkai, Tawi-tawi from the Japan Foundation grant. The boat is 10.7 meters long; 1.8 m width and 1.6 meters in height, and was built along the shores of Sitangki among the Sama D’Laut boat builders.

The houseboat is decked and provided with a living quarter covered by a plaited nipa roof that is detachable. The family’s food and water storage areas are located near the stern where meals are prepared. Inside the lepa boat are household items like cooking pots, coconut shell ladles, water jug and other fishing tools and implements. This is presently exhibited in Fort Pilar, Zamboanga NM Branch.


This page was last modified Monday, February 10, 2014
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