Taking advantage of his graduate training in inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary studies, his career spans a diverse field of marine policy research. These have included marine territorial and jurisdictional issues, international maritime boundary negotiations, high seas fisheries, seafaring, shipping, marine environmental protection, coastal resource management, maritime security, and archipelagic studies. His doctoral research examined the relationship between ocean energy development and its effects on adjacent coastal communities from the viewpoint of ecological social justice, combining research techniques and methodologies from the social and applied sciences.
Professor Batongbacal was a member of the technical team that prepared and defended the Philippines' claim to a continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the Benham Rise Region, made in a Submission filed with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) pursuant to the provisions of Article 76 of the Law of the Sea Convention. The CLCS recognized Philippine jurisdiction over the Benham Rise Region in April 2012.