Jama Mapun in Philippines

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The term Bajau is applied to a variety of predominantly maritime peoples. Their scattered settlements are found across Southeast Asia from the Philippines, through eastern and northern Borneo; and from Sulawesi and the Little Sunda Islands of Indonesia, to the Mergui Archipelago off southern Myanmar. Today, only a small number of the Bajau are boat dwellers, and their numbers have declined rapidly during the last century.

The origin of the Bajau is not certain. Some say they came from Sumatra; others say they came from the South Pacific Islands. They are closely related to the various Sama peoples of the Philippines and Malaysia. Historically, they have lacked overall political cohesion, and primary loyalties are generally towards the smaller sub-groups.

All the Bajau peoples speak a variety of Sama-Bajau. The Bajau Kagayan of the Philippines speak Mapun Sama, which is quite similar to Central Sama. Many also speak Tausug.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the Bajau Kagayan live in well-established villages with houses that are built on stilts. The villagers fish, mostly in all male crews, on a daily or overnight basis, returning to the village to eat and to sleep. Such settlements generally consist of densely clustered houses built in close association with the forests, where village members find seasonal employment cutting thatch or wood. Houses usually consist of a single room, raised on stilts one to two meters above the ground or high-water mark. Most have open porches or platforms on the front, which serve as common work areas. Kitchens are usually built on the back sides of the houses.

Each household has an acknowledged head, who is usually a man. He is the house owner and still actively engaged in making a living. Household spokesmen and other core members of the village cluster are often related. The most obvious ties are those of married sisters.

For many of the Bajau, fishing is the primary source of livelihood. Trade also occupies a central place in the Bajau economy, and historically, the Bajau were highly valued for their specialized seafaring skills.

Except for nomadic groups of boat dwellers, fishing is carried out by all male crews, with women and children involved in inshore gathering. Male occupations include blacksmiths, boat builders, and inter-island merchants. Women often market pottery or work as weavers. Both men and women participate in the farm work.

Among the Bajau Kagayan, marriage is either arranged by the parents or initiated by elopement or abduction. Divorce often occurs during the first two or three years of marriage, and remarriage is relatively easy for both partners. After that, divorce tends to be infrequent. Following marriage, a couple is expected to set up a separate household within two or three years. New houses are generally built close to the family of the bride.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, slave raiding was characteristic of most areas of Bajau settlement, and local populations absorbed large numbers of slaves. Many of these slaves eventually gained their freedom, with some of them rising to positions of prominence and wealth.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Bajau Kagayan are Sunni Muslims of the Shafiite branch. Claims to religious piety and learning are an important source of individual prestige, and salip (descendants of Mohammed) are shown special honor. Variations of Islamic practices are associated with the relative status of different groups.

Every parish is served by a set of mosque officials. These include an imam, who leads members in prayer; a bilal, who performs the call to prayer; and a hatib, who gives the Friday mosque reading.

What Are Their Needs?

Few Christian resources exist to reach the Bajau Kagayan. Only prayerful intercession can break the chains that have kept the Bajau Kagayan bound.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to work among the Bajau Kagayan of the Philippines.
Ask the Lord to soften their hearts so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
Ask God to raise prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
Pray for the effective use of the Jesus film among the Bajau Kagayan.
Ask the Lord to establish strong local churches among the Bajau Kagayan.

Scripture Prayers for the Jama Mapun, Bajau Kagayan in Philippines.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

People Name General Sama, Mapun
People Name in Country Jama Mapun, Bajau Kagayan
Natural Name Jama Mapun
Alternate Names Bajau; Jama Mapun; Kagayan; Mapun; Sama
Population this Country 54,000
Population all Countries 72,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 10584
ROP3 Code 100800
ROP25 Code 303316
ROP25 Name Jama Mapun, Bajau Kagayan
Country Philippines
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Muslim Mindinao autonomous region, Tawi-Tawi, Cagayan de Sulu (Mapun) island.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Philippines
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Muslim Mindinao autonomous region, Tawi-Tawi, Cagayan de Sulu (Mapun) island..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Map of Jama Mapun, Bajau Kagayan in Philippines
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.43 %)
0.43 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.57 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Mapun (54,000 speakers)
Language Code sjm   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Mapun (54,000 speakers)
Language Code sjm   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Mapun

Primary Language:  Mapun

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1978-1998)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2021)
Bible-Complete No
FCBH NT (www.bible.is) Online
YouVersion NT (www.bible.com) Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Mapun Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Android Bible app: Mapun YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Mapun YouVersion Bibles
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  Peoples of the World Foundation  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

Joshua Project logo    Joshua Project    Copyright © 2024