Punan Bungan, Hovongan in Indonesia

Joshua Project has identified the Punan Bungan only in Indonesia





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Hobongan people are a semi-nomadic group of people living in north central Borneo. In the past they were known as the headhunters of Borneo. The coastal people considered them to be animals and said that they had tails. However, in the past two generations much has changed for the Hobongan people as they have come into contact with the outside world. They now use boats and outboard motors to make frequent trips to the nearest towns. They wear modern clothing and build cement houses and carry cell phones. They have also been exposed to the Gospel and today there is a church among the Hobongan people.

Where Are they Located?

The Hobongan are living at the headwaters of the Kapuas River in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. They form five villages located on five different rivers.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Although the Hobongan practice swidden agriculture, their primary economic activity is searching for jungle products that can be sold in the markets downriver. The most significant of these is gold mining. Because of this they are constantly traveling and live away from the village for significant lengths of time. Family is the primary unit of their culture, and they work and travel as families. They prize children highly and give a high measure of respect to older people. Many of the older people are still illiterate, but most of the young people have had some formal schooling and can read. The staple of their diet is rice and meat from the animals that they hunt in the jungle.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Hobongan were animists, believing that the world was controlled by evil spirits. And in turn, with certain rituals and incantations, they could have a measure of control over these evil spirits. In short their lives were ruled by fear of these evil spirits. With increased contact with the outside initially the Hobongan accepted the Roman Catholic religion, at least in name. But this did not change their animistic worldview. It has only been since they have heard and accepted the Gospel that some have truly renounced animism.

Prayer Points

* Pray for the growth of the Hobongan church so that they can be fully independent, teaching their own congregations and children.
* Pray too that they would be challenged to reach out to other people groups who still do not have access to the Gospel.


Searcy, Rachel. Personal experience as Bible translator among the Hobongan.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

People Name General Punan Bungan
People Name in Country Punan Bungan, Hovongan
Population in Indonesia 1,500
World Population 1,500
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Hovongan
Affinity Bloc Malay Peoples
People Cluster Borneo-Kalimantan
People Name General Punan Bungan
Ethnic Code MSY44e
People ID 14477
Country Indonesia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 47  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country West Kalimantan Province near Sarawak and East Kalimantan Province borders; Kapuas Hulu Regency, far northeast corner.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010

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Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Hovongan (1,500)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Hovongan 1,500
For Primary Language: Hovongan

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

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.00 %)
5.00 %
Ethnic Religions
95.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
10.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
80.0 %
Roman Catholic
10.0 %
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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