Bonggi in Malaysia

Joshua Project has identified the Bonggi only in Malaysia





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Bonggi people are mainly found on Banggi and Balambangan Islands at the northernmost point of Sabah, Malaysia. Non-Bonggi and other outsiders normally refer to them as "Banggi" or "Dusun Banggi". They are a peace-loving, non-violent group. Historically and contemporarily, they tend to avoid conflicts. The Bonggi speak the Bonggi language, which is distantly related to the Molbog language in the Philippines.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The majority of the Bonggi work as subsistence farmers and subsistence fishermen. They are only small-scale producers depending on simple technology. They plant cassava, maize, banana, papaya, sugarcane, tobacco, tuba (derris elliptica), and sweet potatoes. Coconut farming is their main source of cash income. They use hook and line, small nets, poison, and spears for fishing.

Bonggi communities consist of scattered homesteads with no unifying social centers. Many Bonggi chew betel nut, which has become a part of their identity; sharing betel ingredients gives them a chance to interact.

A pakng lima 'headman' is appointed by the government mainly to settle disputes and legal issues and to help communicate to the government on behalf of the village people any of their needs such as health services or building a dock. Intermarriages are allowed but not favored; on the other hand, marriages to a first cousin are permitted.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The majority of the Bonggi are influenced by animistic beliefs and various superstitions. They resist other religious beliefs, which they see as foreign to their own customary laws. There are many customs pertaining to dominating the spirit world. For example: if a Bonggi can obtain strands of someone's hair, or a tooth, or used tobacco or dirt from a footprint, and bring it to 'an evil rock spirit' (kuakng batu), then the evil spirit will have the power to make that person sick. The Bonggi believe that babies and small children should wear amulets to protect them against evil spirits.

The Bonggi follow certain beliefs in treating illnesses. One example of a common taboo is not to eat any food that is red in color once a person is inflicted by an illness that causes red rashes. Therefore, food such as crabs, papaya, red chili, and watermelon are forbidden for the person with such an illness.

What Are Their Needs?

Modern farming and fishing methods and technology could be introduced to the Bonggi people. Developing an infrastructure such as good land and sea transportation could provide them opportunities to sell farm produce in neighboring places. Pray for believers who have knowledge in these areas to help the people.

There is also a need for education as their illiteracy rate is still quite high. Pray for teachers to help in educating and providing good teaching materials to the Bonggi children and youth.

Profile Source:   Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Bonggi
People Name in Country Bonggi
Population in Malaysia 1,500
World Population 1,500
Countries 1
Progress Scale 2.2
Least-Reached No
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Banggi Dusun, Kadazan
Affinity Bloc Malay Peoples
People Cluster Borneo-Kalimantan
People Name General Bonggi
Ethnic Code MSY44z
People ID 10935
Country Malaysia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 37  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Kudat District, Banggi Island. 15 villages.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Bonggi (1,500)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Bonggi 1,500
For Primary Language: Bonggi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1992)
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.50 %)
18.00 %
Ethnic Religions
82.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
10.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
10.0 %
50.0 %
Roman Catholic
30.0 %
Photo Source: Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source: Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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