“May the holes in your net be no larger than the fish in it!” Today, the National Museum of the philippines in Western-Southern Mindanao features the Sama Dilaut fishing nets.
Fishing is considered the primary subsistence of the Sama Dilaut. Their traditional fishing nets are made of finely woven cotton and abaca fibers, with seashells as sinkers and pieces of softwood as floaters.
“Salibut togeng” is a throw net designed for shallow waters with a fine mesh, small holes, sinkers, and floaters to catch a smaller number and size of fish.
“Salibut tatik” has larger holes with bigger sinkers and floaters. It is designed for deep waters and large-sized fish.
There are also different types of fishing nets locally known as laya (throw net), linggi and pokot (long-throw net), and sinsoro and siyul (fine-meshed dragnet). Nowadays, the group uses synthetic materials like nylon for the nets and rubber or styrofoam as floaters.
The Sama Dilaut are now utilizing commercially available materials in their fishing gear but still practice “pag-omboh,” wherein they offer lighted cigarettes on the graves of their relatives. They believe that the spirit of the dead or ‘omboh’ can communicate with the Supreme God. Through “pag-omboh,” they seek help from their ancestors for a bountiful catch or harvest, healing the sick, and good health.
The Sama Dilaut fishing gears are included in the Intersecting Currents: The Sama and the Sulu Seas’ exhibition of the National Museum at the FortPilar in Zamboanga City, to be launched soon!