Patuk | @natmuseumwsm


In celebration of the Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month, the National Museum of the Philippines features the Sama Dilaut’s boat-building tools.

The traditional boat-building tools of the Sama Dilaut mainly use patuk, a general name applied to various ax, hatchet, and adz-like tools. The blade of this tool may be attached to a long handle and used as an ax (kapa), attached to a shorter handle to become a hatchet, twisted in the same handle to become an adz (sakal), or stuck into the end of a handle to become a chisel (elong).

For striking the patuk, they have two kinds of mallet, the round mallet (kakal) and flat mallet (palu). Meanwhile, the two-head wooden hammer (tukul) hits the wooden dowels (pasok) to join planks from edge to edge. To fasten the planks, they use a carved wooden clamp (langko). They also use a small two-piece hammer (kakal pa’at) to strike the metal chisel (sangkap) and c-chisel (pa’at), a tanged blade used to lash the shaft and drill holes.

The Sama Dilaut also devise some natural resources in covering the boat’s uneven parts and holes. For caulking, they insert “gꞌllom”, a tissue-like inner bark of ngehat (Pemphis acidula), fill it with coconut coir (bulitik), and cover it with lime powder (bangkit).

Bangkit is the base for cement used to repair cracks in wooden canoes, but because of the limited source of lime, they mix it with turmeric root juice to produce a red calcareous lime as an alternative. Using a knife (bari’), they remove the uneven parts and smoothen the boat’s surface using kigkig, a dried stingray skin as sandpaper.

They also use a measuring device called sangat, a wooden line made of two pieces of medium-sized and four pieces of small-sized round wooden pegs, one piece of a half-round wooden peg, one piece of a small wooden lever tied with a nylon string, and one piece of nail.

Above images are the actual images of the Sama Dilaut’s boatbuilding tools, which form part of the NMP’s upcoming exhibition “Intersecting Currents: Sama Dilaut and the Sulu Seas” in Zamboanga City.

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