This exclusive footage of the lambay ritual was filmed in March 2001. In contemporary Batak society, shamanism is the prerogative of male specialists known as babalian. Shamans contact spirits during trance, predict future events and are said to possess the gift of clairvoyance. They administer therapeutic remedies and supervise collective subsistence practices, as well as ceremonies to re-establish the cosmological balance. Presently, there are the only two shamans left.
The lambay is an annual event involving shamans and the whole community in the propitiation of honey and rice. Starting from the late 1990s this ceremony has been exploited by both local government and travel agencies as a tourist attraction. In March 1998, Batak families were asked by the authorities to join the Puerto Princesa City festival, and to perform their traditional dances for local and foreign visitors. On more than one occasion, because of the pressing requests from the City government, Batak have bee forced to neglect their own ceremonial activities to attend the City festival.
Because of increasing interferences from outsiders and decreasing social cohesion within the Batak communities, the lambay ceremony faces the risk of being completely abandoned.
For more anthropological information and analysis of the Lambay ritual, the following article: "From Impregnation to Attunment: A Sensory View of how Magic Works". Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI) (N.S.) –15, 755-77, 2009 - can be downloaded online from this site: kent.ac.uk/sac/staff-profiles/profiles/social-anthropology/research-staff/novellino_dario.html