Pagtulak Bala' as Observed in Tabawan
The following video was taken in Laum Tabawan upon the observance of Pagtulak Balaꞌ, a Sama ritual that seeks to cleanse a community of evil spirits during the Islamic month of Sappal.
Evil spirits are said to be especially active during the month of Sappal. The tulak bala’ is a call to any evil spirits that have come to the village. They are asked to accompany the boat which is loaded with offerings of food and in this case effigies. Then the boat is brought out to the open sea and left there. If the boat floats back into community it means the spirits have returned and the offerings were not sufficient. The boat must be loaded again with more offerings.
If you come across such a boat while fishing, you are welcome to take from the food on it as long as you ask permission from the spirits.
Not pictured in this video is the ritual bathing that takes place prior to the tulak balaꞌ where the whole community is washed by the imams and cleansed of moral and spiritual taint.
Sama Tabawan are very proud of their religious practices and traditions. You can see in this video the Langgal Tabawan. The langgal is a Sama version of a mosque. The langgal tabawan is possibly the most famed of Sama traditional mosques and may very well be the langgal which is pictured on the former ₱1000 bill of the Republic of the Philippines.