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Dominant ethnic groups by province.

The Philippines is inhabited by more than 175 ethnolinguistic nations, the majority of whose languages are Austronesian in origin. Many of these nations converted to Christianity, particularly the lowland-coastal nations, and adopted foreign elements of culture. Ethnolinguistic nations include the Ivatan, Pangasinan, Kapampangan, Tagalog, Bicolano, Visayans (Masbateño, Hiligaynon, Cebuano, Waray, Butuanon, Romblomanon, Kamayo, Cuyonon, and Surigaonon), Zamboangueño, Subanon, and more.

In western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, there are ethnolinguistic nations who practice Islam. The Spanish called them Moros after the Moors, despite no resemblance or cultural ties to them apart from their religion. In the Agusan Marsh and the highlands of Mindanao, there are native ethnic groups collectively known as the Lumad. Most maintain their animistic beliefs and traditions, though some of them have converted to Christianity as well.

The Negrito were among the earliest humans to settle the Philippines. The first known were the people of the Tabon man remains. The Negrito population was estimated in 2004 at around 31,000.[1] Their tribal groups include the Ati, and the Aeta. Their ways of life remain mostly free from Western and Islamic influences. Scholars study them to try to understand pre-Hispanic culture.

Other ethnolinguistic nations form a minority in the Philippine population. These include those of Japanese, Chinese (particularly the Hokkien or Fujianese), Indians[2] (particularly the Punjabi, Tamil and Keralites), and those of Spanish descent.


There are several opposing theories regarding the origins of ancient Filipinos, starting with the "Waves of Migration" hypothesis of H. Otley Beyer in 1948, which claimed that Filipinos were "Indonesians" and "Malays" who migrated to the islands. This is completely rejected by modern anthropologists and is not supported by any evidence, but the hypothesis is still widely taught in Filipino elementary and public schools resulting in the widespread misconception by Filipinos that they are "Malays".[3][4]

In 1967, Filipino anthropologist Felipe Landa Jocano proposed the "Core Population" theory which posits that ancestors of the Filipinos evolved locally, rejecting Beyer's assertion that Filipinos are the same ethnic groups as the Malay people. His proposal roughly aligns with the more recent "Out of Sundaland" model proposed by a minority of academics, which includes Wilhelm Solheim's "Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network". It postulates that the peopling of the archipelago transpired via trade networks originating in the Sundaland area (modern Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and the Malay Peninsula) which was then inundated by rising sea levels at the end of the Last Glacial Period (around 11,700 years ago). They propose that there was then a range of material and genetic exchanges between populations in an arc from the coasts and islands of Papua New Guinea to Japan by around 48,000 to 5000 BC rather than by wide-scale migration.[5][6][7]

Chronological map of the Austronesian expansion[8]

The most widely accepted theory, however, is the "Out-of-Taiwan" model which follows the Austronesian expansion during the Neolithic in a series of maritime migrations originating from Taiwan that spread to the islands of the Indo-Pacific; ultimately reaching as far as New Zealand, Easter Island, and Madagascar.[8][9] Austronesians themselves originated from the Neolithic rice-cultivating pre-Austronesian civilizations of the Yangtze River delta in coastal southeastern China pre-dating the conquest of those regions by the Han Chinese. This includes civilizations like the Liangzhu culture, Hemudu culture, and the Majiabang culture.[10] It connects speakers of the Austronesian languages in a common linguistic and genetic lineage, including the Taiwanese indigenous peoples, Islander Southeast Asians, Chams, Islander Melanesians, Micronesians, Polynesians, and the Malagasy people. Aside from language and genetics, they also share common cultural markers like multihull and outrigger boats, tattooing, rice cultivation, wetland agriculture, teeth blackening, jade carving, betel nut chewing, ancestor worship, and the same domesticated plants and animals (including dogs, pigs, chickens, yams, bananas, sugarcane, and coconuts).[8][9][11]

Best-fit genomic mixture proportions of Austronesians in Island Southeast Asia and their inferred population movements[12][13]

The first Austronesians reached the Philippines at around 2200 BC, settling the Batanes Islands and northern Luzon. From there, they rapidly spread downwards to the rest of the islands of the Philippines and Southeast Asia, as well as voyaging further east to reach the Northern Mariana Islands by around 1500 BC.[8][14][15] They assimilated earlier Australo-Melanesian groups (the Negritos) which arrived during the Paleolithic, resulting in the modern Filipino ethnic groups which all display various ratios of genetic admixture between Austronesian and Negrito groups.[13]

The Philippine Statistics Department does not account for the racial background or ancestry of an individual. The official population of all types of mestizos (Asian, American, etc.) that reside inside and outside of the Philippines remains unknown. Although a study provided by Stanford University[16] found that European introgression into the Philippines was evident due to the period of colonization, it only genotyped 28 individuals from the Philippines. Results from such a small sample cannot be used with high confidence to characterize a population of 92 million persons.[a] Old Spanish censuses state that as much as 33.5% or one third of the population of the main island of Luzon had full or partial Hispanic or Latino (Mestizo, Mulatto and Native-American) descent.[18] According to another genetic study done by the University of California (San Francisco), they discovered that a “modest” amount of European genetic ancestry was found among some respondents who self-identified as Filipinos.[19] A 2015, Y-DNA compilation by the Genetic Company: "Applied Biosystems", using samples taken from all over the Philippines, resulted in a 13.33% frequency of the European/Spanish Y-DNA R1b which was likely taken from Latin-American soldiers who settled in the Philippines who had Spanish fathers and Amerindian mothers.[20] Also, according to a massive DNA study conducted by the National Geographic's, "The Genographic Project", based on genetic testings of 80,000 Filipino people by the National Geographic in 2008–2009, they found that the average Filipino's genes are around 53% Southeast Asia and Oceania, 36% East Asian, 5% Southern European, 3% South Asian and 2% Native American.[21]

The Chinese are mostly the descendants of immigrants from Fujian in China after 1898, numbering around 2 million, although there are an estimated 27 percent of Filipinos who have partial Chinese ancestry,[22][23][24] stemming from precolonial and colonial Chinese migrants.[25] Intermarriage between the groups is evident in the major cities and urban areas.[26]

The same Y-DNA compilation by the company, "Applied Biosystems", which used samples all across the Philippines showed an estimated 1% frequency of the South Asian (Indian) haplogroup H1a. Thus translating to about 1,011,864 Filipinos having full or partial Indian descent and a similar 1% frequency of the Haplogroup L1 which is of Nordic European origin.

The Philippines was a former American colony and during the American colonial era, there were over 800,000 Americans who were born in the Philippines.[27] As of 2015, there are now 220,000 to 600,000 American citizens currently living in the country.[28] There are also 250,000 Amerasians scattered across the cities of Angeles, Manila, Clark and Olongapo.[29]


Inside the firth chamber of Callao Cave, where the remains of the Callao Man were discovered.

Prehistoric Tabon Man, found in Palawan in 1962 was, until 2007, the oldest human remains discovered by anthropologists in the Philippines. Archaeological evidence indicates similarities with two early human fossils found in Indonesia and China, called the Java Man and Peking Man. In 2007, a single metatarsal from an earlier fossil was discovered in Callao Cave, Peñablanca, Cagayan. That earlier fossil was named as Callao Man.

The Negritos arrived about 30,000 years ago and occupied several scattered areas throughout the islands.[citation needed] Recent archaeological evidence described by Peter Bellwood claimed that the ancestors of Filipinos, Malaysians, and Indonesians first crossed the Taiwan Strait during the Prehistoric period. These early mariners are thought to be the Austronesian people. They used boats to cross the oceans, and settled into many regions of Southeast Asia, the Polynesian Islands, and Madagascar.

By the 14th century, the Malayo-Polynesian ethnolinguistic nations had dominated and displaced the Negrito population in most areas. Traders from southern China, Japan, India and Arabia, also contributed to the ethnic, and cultural development of the islands.[30]

In the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of Japanese people traders also migrated to the Philippines and assimilated into the local population.[31] pp. 52–3

By the 16th century, Spanish colonization brought new groups of people to the Philippines mainly Spaniards and Mexicans. Many settled in the Philippines, and intermarried with the indigenous population. This gave rise to the Filipino mestizo or individuals of mixed Austronesian and Hispanic descent.

Far more numerous were Chinese immigrant workers, known as sangley, as many Chinese historically had been traders. They intermarried with native Filipinos, and their children and descendants were called mestizo de sangley. By the 19th century, the more successful among them had risen to become wealthy major landowners. They could afford to have their children educated in elite institutions in the Philippines and Europe.

By the opening of the Suez Canal in the 1800s, the Spanish opened the Philippines for foreign trade. Europeans such as the British, Germans, and French settled in the islands to do business. By the end of the Spanish colonial period, the native ethnic groups of the Philippines began calling themselves Filipinos, a term that had begun as self-identification for persons of Spanish descent born in the Philippines.

Following its victory in the Spanish–American War, the United States created a colonial authority in the Philippines in 1898. Military troops and businessmen made their way to the country, bringing in new culture and language.

Native ethnolinguistic nationsEdit

Lowland ethnolinguistic nationsEdit


Sortable table
Ethnolinguistic Nation(s) Image Description(s) Notes
Bago The Bago (Bago Igorot) were identified first in the municipality of Pugo in the southeastern side of La Union. This is a highly acculturated group whose villages are along major transportation routes between the lowlands and the Abatan, Benguet markets in the highland. The major ritual practices and beliefs are somewhat related to the northern Kankanay, thus the idea that the people were migrants because of trade from western Mountain Province. The Kankanay regard them as such and not as a specific ethnic group. The language is a mixture of northern Kankanay with an infusion of lowland dialects. Most of the individuals are bilingual with Ilocano as the trade language. Their agricultural activities revolve around a mixture of highland root crops like sweet potatoes, yams, and taro, and lowland vegetables and fruits.[32]
Bicolano   The Bicolanos are a predominantly Roman Catholic ethnic group that originates from the Bicol Region in Southern Luzon. They are the fifth-largest ethnolinguistic group in the Philippines. There are several Bikol languages of which there is a total of about 3.5 million speakers. The most widespread Bikol language is Central Bikol comprising Naga, Legazpi, Daet and Partido dialects (Virac is sometimes considered as a separate language). They are known for their cuisine heavily using chili peppers and coconut milk.
Bolinao The Bolinao people live in Bolinao and Anda, Pangasinan. They speak the Bolinao language or Binubolinao, which is the second most widely spoken Sambalic language in Pangasinan (after Sambal). The language, which has more than 50,000 speakers, has been influenced by Pangasinense, Tagalog, Spanish, and English. The residents can also speak Tagalog, Pangasinense, Ilocano, and often, English as well.[33]
Caviteño Caviteños live primarily in Cavite City and coastal Ternate, Cavite. They speak the Caviteño dialect of Chavacano, which enjoyed its widest diffusion and greatest splendor in Spanish and American period of Filipino history, when newspapers and literary outputs flourished.  Residents of Paco, Ermita, Quiapo and Malate shared this common tongue with those of San Nicolas, Santa Cruz and Trozo.  During the Spanish regime, it was prevalent for Spaniards, both peninsulares and insulares, to use the creole in their negotiations with the townfolk.  Cavite Chabacano was spoken with relative ease because it was essentially a simplification of Castillan morphology patterned after Tagalog syntax.  Gradually and naturally, it acquired the sounds present in the Spanish phonological system, which had the authocthonous phonetics as core.  After World War II, creole Spanish speakers within the capital and surrounding regions went in decline or vanished entirely, leaving Caviteño and Ternateño as the remaining Tagalog-based Chavacano dialects in Luzon.[34]
Ga'dang The Ga'dang live in Paracelis, Mountain Province; Potia, Ifugao Province; and Tabuk, Kalinga Province. They speak the Ga'dang language, which is related to the nearby Gaddang language as part of the Cagayan-Baliwon Gaddang family.
Gaddang   The Gaddang number about 25,000. They are known to have inhabited the upper Cagayan Valley, particularly Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya since before the Spanish arrived. Their language is distantly related to Ibanag and Yogad; it is also spoken by ethnically-related highland Ga'dang in the provinces of Ifugao and Mountain Province.
Ibanag The Ibanags are a predominantly Christian lowland ethnic group numbering around half a million people and who primarily inhabit the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela in the Cagayan Valley of northern Luzon. They speak the Ibanag language, which is distantly related to Ilocano.
Ilocano   The Ilocano people are a predominantly Christian group who reside within the lowlands and coastal areas of northwestern Luzon.[35] Other Ilocanos are also found in Cordillera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley. Minor pockets of Ilocanos are also found in scattered parts of Central Luzon, such as Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Aurora, in Metro Manila and in some municipalities in Mindanao, mainly in Sultan Kudarat.[35][36] They speak Ilocano and they form the third largest ethnolinguistic group in the Philippines at about 8.1 million.[37] Their foremost folk literature is Biag ni Lam-ang (The Life of Lam-ang), an epic poem with similarities with the Ramayana.
Itawes/Itawis/Itawit The Itawes/Itawis/Itawit are among the earliest inhabitants of the Cagayan Valley in northern Luzon. Their name is derived from the Itawes prefix i- meaning "people of" and tawid or "across the river". Other than the Itawis language, they speak Ibanag and Ilocano. The contemporary Itawes are charming, friendly, and sociable. They are not very different from other lowland Christianized Filipino ethnic groups in terms of livelihood, housing, and traditions. Their traditional dresses are colorful with red being the dominant color. Farming is a leading source of livelihood. The average families are education-conscious.
Ivatan/Itbayat   The Ivatan (also spelled as Ibatan) are the predominant ethnolinguistic group in the Batanes islands of the Philippines. They have close cultural links with the Taiwanese aborigines.
Kapampangan   The Kapampangan people are the seventh-largest ethnic group in the Philippines. They predominate in the southwestern portion of Central Luzon (entire Pampanga, southern Tarlac, southwestern Nueva Ecija, southeastern Zambales, western Bulacan and northeastern Bataan). They are predominantly Christian (mainly Roman Catholic). They primarily use the Kapampangan language, which is spoken by more than 1.4 million individuals. In the Spanish colonial era, Pampanga was known to be a source of valiant soldiers. There was a Kapampangan contingent in the colonial army who helped defend Manila against the Chinese Pirate Limahon. They also helped in battles against the Dutch, the English and Muslim raiders.[38]:3 Kapampangans, along with the Tagalogs, played a major role in the Philippine Revolution.[39]
Kasiguranin The Kasiguranin live in Casiguran in Aurora Province. The Kasiguranin language descends from an early Tagalog dialect that had borrowed heavily from Northeastern Luzon Agta languages such as Paranan. It is 82% mutually intelligible with Paranan, a language in eastern Isabela, since Aurora and Isabela lie in close proximity. They rely mainly on fishing and farming, as do other groups in Casiguran.[40]
Malaweg The Malaweg are located in sections of Cagayan Valley and Kalinga-Apayao provinces and in the town of Rizal. Their main crops are lowland rice and corn. Tobacco was raised as a cash crop on a foothill west of Piat on the Matalag river near the southeast border of Kalinga-Apayao province, drawing Ibanags from the east. Culturally, they are similar to the neighbor groups: Ibanag and Itawis. Linguistically, they speak a dialect of Itawis.[41]
Pangasinan   The Pangasinense people are the eighth-largest ethnolinguistic group in the Philippines. They predominate in the northwestern portion of Central Luzon (entire Pangasinan, northern Tarlac, northwestern Nueva Ecija and northern Zambales), as well as southwestern parts of La Union and Benguet. They are predominantly Christian (mainly Roman Catholic). They primarily use the Pangasinan language, which is spoken by more than 1.2 million individuals.
Paranan/Palanan The Paranan or Palanan are a group that is largely concentrated on the Pacific side of the province of Isabela about Palanan Bay. The population areas are in Palanan (9,933) with a total population of some 10,925 (NSO 1980). This is probably the northeasternmost extension of the Tagalog language. There is, however, a considerable mixture with the culture of the Negrito from the Paranan Agta language.[42]
Sambal   The Sambals are the inhabitants of the province of Zambales, including the independent city of Olongapo. They are also found in the municipalities of Bolinao and Anda in northwestern Pangasinan. Sambals currently make up a large proportion of the population in the Zambales municipalities of north of Iba, the provincial capital. Their language, Sambal, is related to Kapampangan.
Tagalog   The Tagalogs are the most widespread ethnic group in the Philippines. They predominate the entirety of the Manila and mainland southern Luzon regions, with a plurality in Central Luzon (mainly in its southeastern portion, as well as parts of Zambales and Bataan provinces except Pampanga and Tarlac) and coastal parts of Mindoro.[43][43][43][44] The Tagalog language was chosen as an official language of the Philippines in 1935. Today, Filipino, a de facto version of Tagalog, is taught throughout the archipelago.[45] As of the 2019 census, there were about 22.5 million speakers of Tagalog in the Philippines, 23.8 million worldwide.[46]
Ternateño The Ternateño Chavacanos are found in the municipality of Ternate in Cavite. They speak a dialect of Chavacano with Tagalog as its substrate, just like Caviteño and the extinct Ermiteño. There are an estimated 3,000 speakers of the language at present.[47]
Yogad The Yogad are one of the smallest minority groups in the region of the Cagayan Valley. They once occupied Diffun, Quirino in Cagayan Valley. Today, they are concentrated in Echague, Camarag, Angadanan, Santiago, and Jones, Isabela. Yogads speak the Yogad language, which is one of the five recognized dialects of the Ga’dang, and are part of the Christianized Kalingas in western Isabela.[48]
Visayan Woman


The Visayans are a metaethnicity race native to the whole Visayas, to the southernmost islands of Luzon and the northern and eastern coastal parts of Mindanao. They are speakers of one or more Visayan languages, the most widely spoken being Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Waray-Waray.[49] Other groups speak smaller languages such as Aklanon, Boholano, Butuanon, Capiznon, Eskaya, Kinaray-a, Masbateño, Porohanon, Romblomanon, and Surigaonon. They comprise the largest ethnic group in the nation, numbering at around 33 million as of 2010.

Sortable table
Ethnolinguistic Nation(s) Image Description(s) Notes
Abaknon The Abaknon (Capul Samal, Capuleño) live on the island of Capul on the northern tip of Samar in the San Bernardino Straits, south of the province of Sorsogon. Although set across Central Philippines from the Sulu and Tawi-Tawi archipelagoes where the Sama groups live, the Abaknon speak the Inabaknon language, also known as Abaknon, Abaknon Sama, Capuleño, Kapul, or Capul Sinama, that is related to the Sama language, and not to the languages of the peoples around them like the Bikol and Waray languages. The largest concentrations of this population are in northern Samar (8,840), and in Capul (8,735) with a total population of some 9,870 (NSO 1980). The orientation of the people is marine with the basic industry focused on fishing, with set rice farming toward the interior. The communities are highly acculturated and practically indistinguishable from the surrounding communities of mainstream ethnic groups.[50]
Aklanon   Aklanon form the majority in the province of Aklan in Panay. They are also found in other Panay provinces such as Iloilo, Antique, and Capiz, as well as Romblon. Like the other Visayans, Aklanons have also found their way to Metro Manila, Mindanao, and even the United States. Aklanons number about 500,000. They are culturally close to the Karay-a and Hiligaynons. This similarity has been shown by customs, traditions, and language. Aklanons speak the Aklan languages, which includes Aklanon and Malaynon. Ati and Kinaray-a are also spoken to some extent. Meanwhile, Hiligaynon is used as a regional language. Aklanon and Hiligaynon are spoken by Aklanons in Metro Manila, while the official languages of the Philippines, Filipino and English are taught at school.
Bantoanon The Bantoanon or “people from Banton (Island)” actually reside mostly in Odiongan, Corcuera, Calatrava, and Concepcion in Romblon, an archipelagic province in the MIMAROPA region. They speak Asi, also known as Bantoanon, a Visayan language that is lexically similar to the language of Romblomanon. Asi is spoken along with the Romblomanon and Inonhan languages and is classified under the same level as Cebuano. One way to identify a Bantoanon is through his or her family name, which usually starts with the letter "f". Bantoanons value education, as most of them consider it a way to improve their  lives. Their usual means of livelihood are trade, business, fishing, and agriculture.
Boholano   The Boholano people, also called Bol-anon, refers to the people who live in the island province of Bohol. They speak the Boholano dialect of Cebuano Bisaya, which is a Visayan speech variety, although it is sometimes described as a separate language by some linguists and native speakers. The population of Bohol is 1,137,268 according to the 2000 census. Some also live in Southern Leyte and Mindanao (mainly in the northeastern portion). The majority of the population is Roman Catholic adherents or other Christian denominations. Others practices traditional indigenous religions.
Butuanon   The Butuanon are one of the smallest Visayan ethnic groups. As with the Surigaonons, the Butuanons are also previously considered as Cebuanos. They live in the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur. Some live in Misamis Oriental or in Surigao del Norte, all of which are in the northeastern corner of Mindanao. They number about 1,420,000 and speak the Butuanon language, but most Butuanon nowadays primarily speak the Cebuano language, because of the mass influx of Cebuano settlers to Mindanao, and Filipino, English as second languages. Most are Roman Catholics, while some are Protestants.
Caluyanon The Caluyanon people are found on the Caluya Islands of Antique Province in the Western Visayas Region. They speak the Caluyanon language, but many speakers use either Kiniray-a or Hiligaynon as their second language. According to a recent survey, around 30,000 people speak Caluyanon.[51]
Capiznon   The Capiznons or Capizeños refer to the people who are native to or have roots in Roxas City and the province of Capiz, located in the region of Western Visayas in the central section of the Philippines. located in the region of Western Visayas in the central section of the Philippines. It is located at the northeastern portion of Panay Island. They speak the Capiznon language, which is often confused with Hiligaynon due to dialectological comprehension similarities and as high as 91% mutual intelligibility, but it has its certain unique accent and vocabulary that integrates Aklanon and Waray lexicon.
Cebuano   The Cebuano people (Cebuano: Mga Sugbuanon) are the second most widespread ethnic group in the Philippines after the Tagalog people. They are originally native to the province of Cebu in the region of Central Visayas whose primary language is the Cebuano language and later spread out to other places in the Philippines, such as Siquijor, Bohol, Negros Oriental, southwestern Leyte, western Samar, Masbate, and large parts of Mindanao. The majority of Cebuanos are Roman Catholic.
Eskaya   The Eskaya, less commonly known as the Visayan-Eskaya, are the members of a cultural minority found in Bohol, Philippines, which is distinguished by its cultural heritage, particularly its literature, language, dress and religious observances. The unique Eskayan language and writing system in particular has been a source of fascination and controversy. Today, the Eskaya are officially classified as an Indigenous Cultural Community under The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8371).
Hiligaynon (Ilonggo)   The Hiligaynon people, often referred to as Ilonggo people (Hiligaynon: Mga Hiligaynon/Mga Ilonggo), refers to the ethnic race whose primary language is the Hiligaynon language, an Austronesian language native to Panay, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental. Other Hiligaynons lived in Romblon, Palawan, Masbate, SOCCSKSARGEN Over the years, inter-migrations and intra-migrations have contributed to the diaspora of the Hiligaynons to different parts of the Philippines. Now, the Hiligaynon form the majority in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Guimaras, Capiz, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and North Cotabato.
Inonhan The Inonhan people are found in southern Tablas Island of the Romblon archipelago in the MIMAROPA Region, particularly in the municipalities of Santa Fe, Looc, Alcantara, Santa Maria, and San Andres. There are around 85,000 Inonhans, and they speak the Onhan language, a Western Visayan language. It is one of the three distinct languages spoken by the natives of Romblon.
Karay-a/Kiniray-a/Hamtikanon   The Karay-a people speak the Karay-a language, also known as Kinaray-a. The name of this group was derived from the word iraya, which means "upstream". The Karay-a number about 363,000. Meanwhile, Hiligaynon, Tagalog, and English are used as second languages. Most are Christians. About half are Roman Catholics, and the remaining half are Protestants. Some people belonging to the Suludnon tribe, are animists. As of 2015, there are about 1,300,000 Karay-a speakers all over the country. About 45% from Antique, 38% from Iloilo and 7% in Mindanao specifically Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato.
Magahat The Magahat are also known as the Ati-Man and Bukidnon. There are concentrations of Magahat found in southwestern Negros, Santa Catalina, Bayawan, and Siaton in Negros Oriental; and in Negros Occidental. They speak the Magahat language (also called Southern Binukidnon), which is a mixture of Hiligaynon and Cebuano. The Magahat practice swidden agriculture, because their settlements are in mountainous areas. They are food gatherers and good hunters as well.
Masbateño   Masbateños live in Masbate province of the Philippines. Masbate is part of the Bicol Region. They number about more than 623,000. Masbateños may be considered Visayans by language but are Bicolanos by region. They speak the Masbateño language and almost all practice Roman Catholicism. The Masbateño language is closely related to Hiligaynon and Capiznon. However, in various municipalities of the island, various other languages are spoken. In the vicinity of the towns of Cataingan, Palanas and Dimasalang, most residents speak Waray-Waray. In Pio Corpuz the people speak Cebuano while in Placer and in the west coast along coast of Mandaon, Hiligaynon (Ilonggo) and Capiznon are spoken. Bicolano is also spoken by the residents.
Porohanon Porohanon are the people of Poro Island in the Camotes Islands, Cebu in the Philippines. They are part of the Visayan metaethnicity. They speak the Porohanon language, and Cebuano as their second language. Interestingly, though, the Porohanon language has few similarities with Cebuano. It is closer to Masbateño and the Hiligaynon languages.[52]
Romblomanon   The Romblomanon people are the indigenous inhabitants of Romblon province. However, due to population increase, which the island province's small area couldn't sustain, there are also significant numbers of Romblomanons in Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Masbate, Aklan, Palawan, Capiz, and possible parts of Luzon and Mindanao. They speak one of three languages, the Romblomanon language, Asi language, and the Onhan language. Most are Roman Catholics. Due to its distance from Capiz and Aklan, most Romblomanons can speak Hiligaynon.
Surigaonon   Surigaonons populate the eastern coastal plain of Mindanao, particularly the provinces of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands. They are also present in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and in Davao Oriental. They speak the Surigaonon language which closely resembles Cebuano, albeit with some local words and phrases. Because of the mass influx of Cebuano settlers to Mindanao, they also speak Cebuano as second language since Surigaonon is a Visayan language, other languages are Tagalog, and English as third languages. The vast majority of Surigaonons are Roman Catholics, very few are Muslims in contrast to its very closely related Tausug brothers which are predominantly Muslims.
Waray   The Waray people refers to the group of people whose primary language is the Waray language (also called Lineyte-Samarnon). They are native to the islands of Samar, Leyte and Biliran, which together comprise the Eastern Visayas Region of the Philippines. Waray people inhabit the whole island of Samar where they are called Samareños/Samarnons, the northern part of the island of Leyte where they are called Leyteños, and the island of Biliran. On Leyte island, the Waray people occupy the northern part of the island, separated from the Cebuano language-speaking Leyteños by a mountain range in the middle of the island. On the island of Biliran, Waray-Waray-speaking people live on the eastern part of the island facing the island of Samar; their Waray-Waray dialect is commonly referred to as Biliranon. On the island of Ticao, which belongs to the province of Masbate in the Bicol Region, Waray-Waray-speaking people live on most parts of the island; they are commonly referred to as Ticaonon. However, the Ticaonon have more affinity with the Masbateño-speaking people of Masbate, being their province-mates. The Bicolano language has more common vocabulary with the Waray-Waray language than with other Visayan languages (i.e. Cebuano or Ilonggo).


Lowland christianized groups of the island of Mindanao, Philippines.

Sortable table
Ethnolinguistic Nation(s) Image Description(s) Notes
Cotabateño Cotabateños live in Cotabato, Mindanao. They speak the Cotabateño dialect of Chavacano, just like Zamboangueño and Chavacano Davaoeño, which are recognized as the Mindanao-based Spanish creoles, with Cebuano as their substrate language. Cotabateño is a derivative of Zamboangueño due to the large shared vocabulary derived from Hiligaynon, a Central Visayan language. The ancestors of the present Zamboangueño-speaking population were in contact with the Hiligaynons at the time of the creole’s formation. Cotabateño has also borrowed words from the Maguindanao and Tiruray languages.[53]
Davaoeño Davaoeños live around the Davao region and speak the Davaoeño (Dabawenyo) language, which is the dialect of the Cebuano Language spoken in Davao City and the surrounding areas. It can also refer to the extinct dialect of Chavacano Davaoeño that used to be spoken around the Davao region.
Kamiguin/Kamigin/Kinamigin The Kamiguin/Kamigin people inhabit the oldest town of the island of CamiguinGuinsiliban—just off the northern coast of Mindanao. They spoke the Kamigin/Kinamigin language (Quinamiguin, Camiguinon) that is derived from Manobo with an admixture of Boholano. Sagay is the only other municipality where this is spoken. The total population is 531 (NSO 1990). Boholano predominates in the rest of the island. The culture of the Kamiguin has been subsumed within the context of Boholano or Visayan culture. The people were Christianized as early as 1596. The major agricultural products are abaca, cacao, coffee, banana, rice, corn, and coconut. The production of hemp is the major industry of the people since abaca thrives very well in the volcanic soil of the island. The plant was introduced in Bagacay, a northern town of Mindanao, but it is no longer planted there. Small-scale trade carried out with adjoining islands like Cebu, Bohol, and Mindanao.[54] Nowadays, the language is declining as most inhabitants have shifted to Cebuano.
Zamboangueño   The Zamboangueño people are an ethno-linguistic group of Hispanic and Malay descent speaking Chavacano a Spanish-based creole and they number almost a million people. The Zamboangueño people (Chavacano/Spanish: Pueblo Zamboangueño) are a creole ethnic group of the Philippines and Malaysia originating in Zamboanga City (formerly, República de Zamboanga). Spanish censuses record that as much as one third of the inhabitants of the city of Zamboanga possess varying degrees of Spanish and Hispanoamerican admixture.[55] In addition to this, select cities such as Manila, Vigan, Bauang, Naga, Iriga, Iloílo, Bacólod, Cebú and Zamboanga, which were home to military fortifications or commercial ports during the Spanish era, also hold sizable mestizo communities.[56] The Zamboangueño constitute an authentic and distinct ethnic identity because of their coherent cultural and historical heritage, most notably the Old Castilian-based creole language "Chavacano" language, that distinguishes them from neighbouring ethnic groups.

Moro (Muslim Peoples of Mindanao)Edit

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Ethnolinguistic Nation(s) Image Description(s) Notes
Bajau/Badjao/ Bajaw   The Bajau (Jama Mapun) are part of the Sama-Bajau peoples and are the dominant ethnic group of the islands of Tawi-Tawi in the Philippines. They are also found in other islands of the Sulu Archipelago, coastal areas of Mindanao, northern and eastern Borneo, Sulawesi, and throughout eastern Indonesian islands. Within the last fifty years, many of the Filipino Sama-Bajau have migrated to neighbouring Malaysia and the northern islands of the Philippines, due to the conflict in Mindanao. As of 2010, they were the second-largest ethnic group in the Malaysian state of Sabah.

Sama-Bajau have sometimes been called the "Sea Gypsies" or "Sea Nomads". They usually live a seaborne lifestyle, and use small wooden sailing vessels such as the perahu (layag in Meranau), djenging, balutu, lepa, pilang, and vinta (or lepa-lepa).

Banguingui   Banguingui, also known as Sama Banguingui or Samal Banguingui (alternative spellings include Bangingi’, Bangingi, Banguingui, Balanguingui, and Balangingi) is a distinct ethno-linguistic group dispersed throughout the Greater Sulu Archipelago and southern and western coastal regions of the Zamboanga Peninsula in Mindanao, Philippines. They are one of the ethnic groups usually collectively known as the Sama-Bajau peoples.
Iranun/Ilanun   The Iranun/Ilanun are a Moro ethnic group native to Mindanao, Philippines, and the west coast of Sabah. The modern Iranun are believed to be descendants of Maranao who left Lake Lanao and settled elsewhere. These migrations were usually of merchant clans of the Maranao which established trading routes near the coast. Some Iranun clans, however, are descendants of outcast clans that left Lake Lanao after one of their clan members committed a murder. For several centuries, the Iranuns in the Philippines formed part of the Sultanate of Maguindanao. In the past, the seat of the Maguindanao Sultanate was situated at Lamitan and Malabang. Both of which were the strongholds of the Iranun society. Iranuns fought the Western invaders under the flag of the Maguindanao Sultanate. They formed part of the Moro resistance against the US occupation of the Philippines from 1899 to 1913. The Iranun were excellent in maritime activity as they are traditionally sailors and pirates. They used to ply the route connecting the Sulu Sea, Moro Gulf to Celebes Sea, and raided the Spanish held territories along the way.
Kolibugan Subanon The Kolibugan resulted from the intermingling of the indigenous Subanon populations with the Muslim populations in the coastal areas of Zamboanga. The population is concentrated along the western side of the provinces of both northern (6,495) and southern Zamboanga (3,270), and a national count of over 11,000. The concentrations are in Siocon (2,040), Sirawai (1,960), and Sibuco (1,520) (NSO 1980). The total population count is estimated at 32,227 (NM 1994). The generalized culture is lowland central Philippines focused on wet rice cultivation, and some localized swidden cultivation. Adaptation to the marine environment is made, but mostly in terms of domestic fishing.[57]
Maguindanaon   The Maguindanao people are the historical people of the Sultanate of Maguindanao. The name "Maguindanao" is generally translated to mean "people of the flood plains". However, it comes from the root word danao (also danaw, ranaw, or lanaw), which can also mean "lake". Thus the name can also be translated as "people of the lake", identical to their closely-related neighbors, the Maranao and Iranun people. These three groups still speak the mutually-intelligible Danao languages. They live primarily in Maguindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, and Zamboanga Peninsula and speak Maguindanaon with second languages as Cebuano, Tagalog and Arabic and/or English. Because of the mass influx of Cebuano migrants to Mindanao, many of the Maguindanao people tend to be exposed to the Cebuano language from Visayas easily enough to be able to speak it. Arabic is spoken by a minority of the Moro people, being the liturgical language of Islam.
Maranao   The Maranao people (Maranao: ['mәranaw]; Filipino: Maranaw), also spelled Meranao, Maranaw, and Mëranaw, is the term used by the Philippine government to refer to the southern tribe who are the "people of the lake", a predominantly-Muslim Lanao province region of the Philippine island of Mindanao. They are known for their artwork, weaving, wood, plastic and metal crafts and epic literature, the Darengen. They live around Lake Lanao, the ancestral homeland of the Maranao people. They are related to modern the Maguindanao and Iranun people. They speak the Maranao and live in the provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. Because of the mass influx of Cebuano migrants to Mindanao, many Maranaos are also fluent in Cebuano. They also use Arabic as a liturgical language of Islam. Most Maranaos, however, do not know Arabic beyond its religious use. Some also know Chavacano, which is a Philippine Spanish Creole that gained popularity as a major language during the short-lived Republic of Zamboanga. Most Maranaos with part-Tausug or Yakan from Zamboanga and Basilan are conversant, specifically the Zamboanga dialect known as Zamboangueño.
Samal   Samal (also spelled "Siamal" or "Siyamal") is a Tausūg and Cebuano term, which is sometimes considered offensive. Their preferred endonym is simply "Sama", and they are more accurately a general subgroup of Sama Dea ("land Sama") native to the Philippines, which are part of the Sama-Bajau peoples. A large number are now residing around the coasts of northern Sabah, though many have also migrated north to the Visayas and southern Luzon. They are predominantly land-dwelling. They are the largest single group of Sama-Bajau. In Davao del Norte, the Island Garden City of Samal was possibly named after them.
Tausug   The Tausūg or Suluk people are an ethnic group of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. The Tausūg are part of the wider political identity of Muslims of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan. Most of the Tausugs have converted into the religion of Islam. The Muslim Tausugs originally had an independent state known as the Sulu Sultanate, which once exercised sovereignty over the present day provinces of Basilan, Palawan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, the eastern part of the Malaysian state of Sabah (formerly North Borneo) and North Kalimantan in Indonesia. "Tausug" means "the people of the current", from the word tau which means "man" or "people" and sūg (alternatively spelled sulug or suluk) which means "[sea] currents". This refers to their homelands in the Sulu Archipelago. The Tausūg in Sabah refer to themselves as Tausūg but refers to their ethnic group as "Suluk" as documented in official documents such as birth certificates in Sabah, which are written Malay.
Yakan   The Yakan people are among the major indigenous Filipino ethnolinguistic groups in the Sulu Archipelago. Also known as dream weaver having a significant number of followers of Islam, it is considered as one of the 13 Moro groups in the Philippines. The Yakans mainly reside in Basilan but are also in Zamboanga City. They speak a language known as Bissa Yakan, which has characteristics of both Sama-Bajau Sinama and Tausug. It is written in the Malayan Arabic script, with adaptations to sounds not present in Arabic. The Yakan have a traditional horse culture. They are renowned for their weaving traditions.
An Ifugao man from Banaue

Highland ethnolinguistic nationsEdit

There are more than 100 highland, lowland, and coastland tribal groups in the Philippines. These include:


The Igorots/Cordillerans live in the highlands of Luzon. They are primarily located in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Caraballo Mountains, and Sierra Madre.[58]

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Name(s) Image Description Notes
Balangao The Balangao tribe inhabits a barangay in Natonin, Mountain Province, Philippines. The tribe, focuses primarily on farming; which is performed either in rice terraces or from lands that were cleared by fire. At the present, many of the younger generation of the tribe have gained education and are exposed to modernization thus changing the once traditional society of the tribe. The Balangao/Farangao/Balangao Bontoc language is used by the Balangao tribe and is confined to the tribe and other nearby tribes who have their own languages related to the language. It is spoken in the central area of Mountain Province, and into Tanudan municipality of Kalinga Province.
Bontoc   The Bontoc live on the banks of the Chico River in the Central Mountain Province on the island of Luzon. They speak Bontoc and Ilocano. They formerly practiced head-hunting and had distinctive body tattoos. Present-day Bontocs are a peaceful agricultural people who have, by choice, retained most of their traditional culture despite frequent contacts with other groups. The Bontoc social structure used to be centered around village wards (ato) containing about 14 to 50 homes. Traditionally, young men and women lived in dormitories and ate meals with their families. This gradually changed with the advent of Christianity. In general, however, it can be said that all Bontocs are very aware of their own way of life and are not overly eager to change.
Ibaloi The Ibaloi (Ibaloi: ivadoy, /ivaˈdoj/) are an indigenous ethnic group found in Benguet Province of the northern Philippines. The native language is Ibaloi, also known as Inibaloi or Nabaloi. Ibaloi is derived from i-, a prefix signifying "pertaining to" and badoy or house, together then meaning "people who live in houses". The Ibaloi (also Ibaloy and Nabaloi) and Kalanguya (also Kallahan and Ikalahan) are one of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines who live mostly in the southern part of Benguet, located in the Cordillera of northern Luzon, and Nueva Vizcaya in the Cagayan Valley region. They were traditionally an agrarian society. Many of the Ibaloi and Kalanguya people continue with their agriculture and rice cultivation. The Ibaloi language is closely related to the Pangasinan language, primarily spoken in the province of Pangasinan, located southwest of Benguet.
Ifugao   The Ifugao (also known as Amganad, Ayangan, Kiangan, Gilipanes, Quiangan, Tuwali Ifugao, Mayoyao, Mayoyao, Mayaoyaw) are the people inhabiting Ifugao Province. The country of the Ifugao in the southeastern part of the Cordillera region is best known for its famous Banaue Rice Terraces, which in modern times have become one of the major tourist attractions of the Philippines. The Ifugaos also speak four distinct dialects and are known for their rich oral literary traditions of hudhud and the alim, which were chosen as one of the 11 Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It was then formally inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008.
Ilongot/Bugkalot   The Ilongot (or Ibilao) are a tribe who inhabit the southern Sierra Madre and Caraballo Mountains, on the east side of Luzon in the Philippines, primarily in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija and along the mountain border between the provinces of Quirino and Aurora. An alternative name of this tribe and its language is "Bugkalot". They are known as a tribe of headhunters.

Presently, there are about 87,000 Ilongots. The Ilongots tend to inhabit areas close to rivers, as they provide a food source and a means for transportation. Their native language is the Ilongot language, currently spoken by about 50,000 people. They also speak the Ilocano language.

Isinai/Isinay The Isinai/Isinay are a small ethnic group living in the Cagayan Valley, specifically in the municipalities of Bambang, Dupax del Sur, Aritao in Nueva Vizcaya, as well as around Quirino province. Their ethnic communities show a decline in population, with only around 12,600 members on record. They speak the Isinai language (also spelled Isinay), which is a Northern Luzon language primarily spoken in Nueva Vizcaya province in the northern Philippines. By linguistic classification, it is more divergent from other South-Central Cordilleran languages, such as Kalinga, Itneg or Ifugao and Kankanaey.[59]
Isnag(Isneg/Apayao)   The Isnag people (also Isneg or Apayao) are native to Apayao Province in the Cordillera Administrative Region. Their native language is Isneg (also called Isnag), although most Isnag also speak Ilokano.

Two major sub-groups among the Isnag are known: the Ymandaya, mostly concentrated in the municipality of Calanasan; and the Imallod, with populations distributed among the other towns of the province. Isnag populations can also be found in the eastern part of the adjacent provinces of Ilocos Norte and Cagayan.

Iwak/Iwaak The Iwak people (Oak, Iguat, Iwaak, etc.) is a small ethnic group, which has a population of approximately 3,000, dispersed in small fenced-in villages which are usually enclaves in communities of surrounding major ethnic groups like the Ibaloy and Ikalahan. The characteristic village enclosing fences are sometimes composed in part of the houses with the front entry facing inward. Pig sties are part of the residential architecture. The Iwak are found principally in the municipalities of Boyasyas and Kayapa, province of Nueva Vizcaya. The subgroups are: (1) Lallang ni I’Wak, (2) Ibomanggi, (3) Italiti, (4) Alagot, (5) Itangdalan, (6) Ialsas, (7) Iliaban, (8)Yumanggi, (9) Ayahas, and (10) Idangatan.[60] They speak the Iwaak language, which is a Pangasinic language which makes it closely related to Pangasinense.
Kalanguya/Ikalahan The Kalanguya (also called Ikalahan) live in the Cordillera Administrative Region, but can also be found in Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, and Pangasinan. They speak the Kalanguya language or "Kallahan", which was once the most spoken language in most parts of today's Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Mt. Province, and some parts of Nueva Ecija but is no longer due to ethnocentrism. The Kalanguya population in Nueva Vizcaya has also been identified in anthropological literature as "Ikal-lahan". Those who reside in Tinoc and Buguias call themselves Kalangoya. Those who reside in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino call themselves Ikalahans. In the past this ethnolinguistic group was known as Kalanggutan, Keley'I, Mandek'ey, Yatukka, or Kalangoya. The Kalanguya are considered a subgroup of the Ifugao people.
Kalinga   The Kalinga, also known as "iKalinga", inhabit the drainage basin of the middle Chico River in Kalinga Province. The Kalinga are sub-divided into Southern and Northern groups; the latter is considered the most heavily ornamented people of the northern Philippines.

The Kalinga practice both wet and dry rice farming. They also developed an institution of peace pacts called Bodong which has minimised traditional warfare and headhunting and serves as a mechanism for the initiation, maintenance, renewal and reinforcement of kinship and social ties. They also speak different Kalinga tribal languages, Ilocano, Tagalog and English.

Kankanaey/Kankanay   The Kankanaey domain includes Western Mountain Province, northern Benguet and southeastern Ilocos Sur. Like most Igorot ethnic groups, the Kankanaey built sloping terraces to maximize farm space in the rugged terrain of the Cordilleras. They speak the Kankanaey language. The only difference amongst the Kankanaey are the way they speak such as intonation and word usage. In intonation, there is distinction between those who speak Hard Kankanaey (Applai) and Soft Kankanaey. Speakers of Hard Kankanaey are from the towns of Sagada and Besao in the western Mountain Province as well as their environs. They speak Kankanaey with a hard intonation where they differ in some words from the soft-speaking Kankanaey. Soft-speaking Kankanaey come from Northern and other parts of Benguet, and from the municipalities of Sabangan, Tadian and Bauko in Mountain Province. They also differ in their ways of life and sometimes in culture.
Karao The Karao tribe lives in the municipality of Bokod, Benguet. The ancestors of the Karaos are the Panuy-puys (puypuys), who migrated from Palileng, Bontoc to Diyang in Nueva Viscaya, and finally settled in Karao in the latter part of the nineteenth century. They speak the Karao language (also spelled Karaw). It is spoken in the Karao, Ekip, and Bokod areas of western Benguet Province, and in the southwestern corner of Ifugao Province. The language is named after the barangay of Karaw in Bokod municipality, Benguet.[61]
Tinguian/Itneg   The Itneg (exonym Tinguian / Tingguian / Tinggian ) are an Austronesian ethnic group from the upland province of Abra in northwestern Luzon, in the Philippines. The native Itneg language is a South-Central Cordilleran dialect. They have an indigenous Itneg religion with it's own pantheon.
A 1926 photograph of Bagobo (Manobo) warriors in full war regalia


The Lumad of Mindanao includes several ethnolinguistic nations such as the Manobo, the Tasaday, the Mamanwa, the Mandaya, the B'laan, the T'boli, and the Kalagan. They primarily inhabit the eastern parts of Mindanao such as the Caraga, and Davao Regions.

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Name(s) Image Description Notes
B'laan   The Blaan people, alternatively spelled as "B'laan", are one of the indigenous peoples of Southern Mindanao in the Philippines. Their name could have derived from "bla" meaning "opponent" and the suffix "an" meaning "people". Other terms used to refer to this group are Blaan, Bira-an, Baraan, Vilanes, and Bilanes. Some Blaan natives were displaced when General Santos City was founded in 1939. Others settled in the city.

They speak the Blaan language which is said to be the source of the name for Koronadal City, from two Blaan words – kalon meaning cogon grass and nadal or datal meaning plain, which aptly described the place to the natives. On the other hand, Marbel, which is another name for the poblacion, is a Blaan term Malb-el which means "murky waters" referring to a river, now called Marbel River.

The tribe practices indigenous rituals while adapting to the way of life of modern Filipinos. Some also speak Cebuano, Filipino, and English.

Bukidnon/Binukid   The Bukidnon Lumad people are one of the seven tribes in the Bukidnon plateau of Mindanao. Bukidnon means 'that of the mountains or highlands' (i.e., 'people of the mountains or highlands'), despite the fact that most Bukidnon tribes settle in the lowlands. They speak the Bukid language, also called Binukid or Bukidnon. It is a de facto co-official language in Bukidnon province, where it is referred to as Higaonon. There are many dialects but there is mutual intelligibility. The dialect of Malaybalay, in the Pulangi area, is considered to be the prestige and standard variety.

The Bukidnon people believe in one god, Magbabaya (Ruler of All), though there are several minor gods and goddesses that they worship as well. Religious rites are presided by a baylan whose ordination is voluntary and may come from any sex. The Bukidnons have rich musical and oral traditions which are celebrated annually in Malaybalay city's Kaamulan Festival, with other tribes in Bukidnon (the Manobo tribes, the Higaonon, Matigsalug, Talaandig, Umayamnom, and the Tigwahanon).

The Bukidnon Lumad is distinct and should not be confused with a few indigenous peoples scattered in the Visayas area who are also alternatively called Bukidnon.

Giangan/Bagobo/Clata The Giangan people (also known as Bagobo, Clata, Atto, Eto, Guanga, Gulanga, Jangan) live on the eastern slopes of Mount Apo in Davao del Sur Province, as well as in Davao City. They occupy a very small territory stretching from Catalunan to Calinan within Davao City. They speak the Giangan languages of the South Mindanao or Bilic languages. The Lipadas River separated the traditional Tagabawa and Clata territories, while the Talomo River (Ikawayanlinan) was the boundary separating the Tagabawas, Clatas, and Obos. The Davao River separated the traditional Bagobo and Clata territories.
Higaonon The Higaonon is located on the provinces of Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin (used to be Kamiguing), Rogongon in Iligan City, and Lanao del Norte. The Higaonons have a rather traditional way of living. Farming is the most important economic activity.

The word Higaonon is derived from the word "Higad" in the Higaonon dialect which means coastal plains and "Gaon" meaning ascend to the mountains. Taken together, Higaonon, means the people of the coastal plains that ascended to the mountains. Higaonons were formerly coastal people of the provinces as mentioned who resisted the Spanish occupation. Driven to the hills and mountains these people continued to exist and fought for the preservation of the people, heritage and culture. They speak the Higaonon language, which is partially intelligible with Binukid.

Kalagan The Kalagans are the Islamized-indigeneous people in the Western Davao gulf area.  They became Muslim in the middle of the 19th century due to a combination of following factors namely, the political pressure and/or influence of the Tausug migrants of Davao, extensive exposure and/or contact with the communities of their Maguindanaon neighbors, inter-marriages of Kalagan and Maguindanaon and/or Tausug. They're predominantly found in Davao City, district of Sirawan, around Tagum, Davao del Norte, Mati in Davao Oriental, some places in Davao del Sur and two other Davao provinces.  The Kalagan language is similar to the Tagakaolo language but have increasingly incorporated some Tausug and Maguindanaon words.  They're renowned as agriculturalists, cultivating rice, corn, abaca, and coconut for cash crops, whereas their counterparts living along the coast, practice fishing. Some also know Cebuano, Filipino(Tagalog), English, and Arabic.[62]
Kamayo The Kamayo are concentrated in Bislig City, Lianga, Marihatag, and San Agustin in Surigao del Sur, Mindanao. A scattered population is also found in Cateel and Baganga, Davao Oriental. They speak the Kamayo language, which is also called as Kinamayo, Camayo, Kadi, Kinadi, or Mandaya. It is a language widely used by the Mandayas in the Davao Oriental areas. It is closely related to Tandaganon and Surigaonon. Dialect variations are caused by mixed dialect communications such as the Cebuano language in barangays Mangagoy & Pob. Bislig. The towns of Barobo, Hinatuan, and Lingig has a distinct version spoken.[63]
Mamanwa The Mamanwa is a Negrito tribe often grouped together with the Lumad. They come from Leyte, Agusan del Norte, and Surigao provinces in Mindanao; primarily in Kitcharao and Santiago, Agusan del Norte, though they are lesser in number and more scattered and nomadic than the Manobos and Mandaya tribes who also inhabit the region. Like all Negritos, the Mamanwas are phenotypically distinct from the lowlanders and the upland living Manobos, exhibiting curly hair and much darker skin tones. These peoples are traditionally hunter-gatherers and consume a wide variety of wild plants, herbs, insects, and animals from tropical rainforest. Currently, Mamanwa populations live in sedentary settlements ("barangays") that are close to agricultural peoples and market centers. As a result, a substantial proportion of their diet includes starch-dense domesticated foods. The Mamanwa have been exposed to many of the modernities mainstream agricultural populations possess and use such as cell phones, televisions, radio, processed foods, etc. Their contact with monotheist communities/populations has made a considerable impact on the Mamanwa's religious practices. The tribe produce excellent winnowing baskets, rattan hammocks, and other household containers. Mamanwa (also spelled Mamanoa) means 'first forest dwellers', from the words man (first) and banwa (forest). They speak the Mamanwa language (or Minamanwa). They are genetically related to the Denisovans.
Mandaya "Mandaya" derives from "man" meaning "first," and "daya" meaning "upstream" or "upper portion of a river," and therefore means "the first people upstream". It refers to a number of groups found along the mountain ranges of Davao Oriental, as well as to their customs, language, and beliefs. The Mandaya are also found in Compostela and New Bataan in Compostela Valley (formerly a part of Davao del Norte Province). They speak the Mandaya language, which may be intelligible with Mansaka.
Manguwangan/Agusan The Manguwangan/Manguangan/Mangguangan are found in the Cordillera Sugut mountains in Mindanao, scattering up to the great lakes of Buayan or Maguindanao and in the territory between what is occupied by the Manobo and the Mandaya in Davao and South Cotabato.[64] They speak Mangguangan language, which is an Agusan Manobo language.
Manobo/Banobo   The Manobo are an Austronesian, indigenous agriculturalist population who neighbor the Mamanwa group in Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur. They live in barangays like the Mamanwa; however, they are more numerous. The two groups interact frequently although the amount of interaction varies between settlements and intermarriage is common between them. The total Manobo population is not known, although they occupy core areas from Sarangani island into the Mindanao mainland in the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Davao provinces, Bukidnon, and North and South Cotabato. The groups occupy such a wide area of distribution that localized groups have assumed the character of distinctiveness as a separate ethnic grouping such as the Bagobo or the Higaonon, and the Atta. The Manobo are genetically related to the Denisovans, much like the Mamanwa. They speak the Manobo languages.
Mansaka   The term "Mansaka" derives from "man" with literal meaning "first" and "saka" meaning "to ascend," and means "the first people to ascend mountains/upstream." The term most likely describes the origin of these people who are found today in Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur. Specifically in the Batoto River, the Manat Valley, Caragan, Maragusan, the Hijo River Valley, and the seacoasts of Kingking, Maco, Kwambog, Hijo, Tagum, Libuganon, Tuganay, Ising, and Panabo. They speak the Mansaka language, which may be intelligible with Mandaya.
Matigsalug   The Matigsalug are the Bukidnon groups who are found in the Tigwa-Salug Valley in San Fernando in Bukidnon province, Philippines. "Matigsalug" is a term, which means "people along the Salug River (a tributary of the Davao River)". Although often classified under the Manobo ethnolinguistic group, the Matigsalug is a distinct sub-group of indigenous peoples from the Manobos. The Matigsalug of Bukidnon have an approximate population of 146,500. They speak the Matigsalug language, which is a Manobo language.
Sangil/Sangirese   The Sangil people (also called Sangir, Sangu, Marore, Sangirezen, or Talaoerezen) are originally from the Sangihe and Talaud Islands (now part of Indonesia) and parts of Davao Occidental (particularly in the Sarangani Islands), Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, and North Cotabato. Their populations (much like the Sama-Bajau) were separated when borders were drawn between the Philippines and Indonesia during the colonial era. The Sangil people are traditionally animistic, much like other Lumad peoples. During the colonial era, the Sangil (who usually call themselves "Sangir") in the Sangihe Islands mostly converted to Protestant Christianity due to proximity and contact with the Christian Minahasa people of Sulawesi. In the Philippines, most Sangil converted to Islam due to the influence of the neighboring Sultanate of Maguindanao. However, elements of animistic rituals still remain. The Indonesian and Filipino groups still maintain ties and both Manado Malay and Cebuano are spoken in both Indonesian Sangir and Filipino Sangil, in addition to the Sangirese language. The exact population of Sangil people in the Philippines is unknown, but is estimated to be around 10,000 people.
Subanon   Subanon or Subanu (also called Subanen or Subanun) is a Subanon word meaning "from the river." The term is derived from the root soba or suba (meaning "river") and the suffix -nun or -non which indicates locality or place of origin. Subanon are also known in the Anglicized form as "Subanen". The Subanon people are the largest lumad group (non-Muslim or -Christian indigenous cultural community) on the island of Mindanao.[65] This ethnic group were the aborigines of western Mindanao particularly in Zamboanga Peninsula areas which are divided into different provinces such as Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Basilan, Misamis Occidental and extended to the province of Misamis Oriental. The Subanon people speak the Subanon language. Some also speak Chavacano Zamboangueño and Cebuano.
Tagabawa Tagabawa or Bagobo-Tagabawa are an indigenous tribe in Mindanao.They speak the Tagabawa language, which is a Manobo language, and live in Cotabato, Davao del Sur, and in the surrounding areas of Mt. Apo by Davao City. They have a culture of high respect towards Philippine eagles, known in their language as banog.
Tagakaulo Tagakaulo is one of the Lumad tribes in Mindanao. Their traditional territories is in Davao Del Sur and the Sarangani Province particularly in the localities of Malalag, Lais, Talaguton Rivers, Sta. Maria, and Malita of Davao Occidental, and Malungon of the Sarangani Province. Tagakaulo means living in mountain. The Tagakaulo tribe originally came from the western shores of the gulf of Davao and south of Mt. Apo. a long time ago. They speak the Tagakaulo language, which is a part of the Kalagan languages.
Talaandig Talaandig are originally from the foothills of Mount Kitanglad in Bukidnon, specifically in the municipalities of Talakag and Lantapan. They speak the Talaandig language, which is a dialect of Bukid language.
Tasaday   The Tasaday (tɑˈsɑdɑj) are an indigenous Lumad people of Mindanao. They attracted widespread media attention in 1971, when a journalist of the Manila Associated Press bureau chief reported their discovery, amid apparent "Stone Age" technology and in complete isolation from the rest of Philippine society. They again attracted attention in the 1980s when some accused the Tasaday living in the jungle and speaking in their dialect as being part of an elaborate hoax, and doubt was raised about their isolation and even about being a separate ethnic group. Further research has tended to support their being a tribe that was isolated until 1971 and that lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers. The Tasaday language is distinct from that of neighbouring tribes, and linguists believe it probably split from the adjacent Manobo languages 200 years ago. Some also know Cebuano and Tagalog.
T'boli   The T'boli are one of the indigenous peoples of South Mindanao around Soccsksargen and Davao Region. They are variously known as Tboli, Teboli, Tau Bilil, Tau Bulul or Tagabilil. They term themselves Tboli. Their whereabouts and identity are to some extent confused in the literature; some publications present the Teboli and the Tagabilil as distinct peoples; some locate the Tbolis to the vicinity of the Buluan Lake in the Cotabato Basin or in Agusan del Norte. The Tbolis, then, reside on the mountain slopes on either side of the upper Alah Valley and the coastal area of Maitum, Maasim and Kiamba. In former times, the Tbolis also inhabited the upper Alah Valley floor. They speak the Tboli language, some also know Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and Tagalog.
Tigwahonon The Tigwahonon are a subgroup of Manobo originally from the Tigwa River basin near San Fernando, Bukidnon. They speak Tigwa, which is a dialect of Matigsalug.
Teduray/Tiruray The Teduray/Tiruray people live in the municipalities of Datu Blah T. Sinsuat, Upi, and South Upi in southwestern Maguindanao Province; and in Lebak municipality, northwestern Sultan Kudarat Province. They speak the Tiruray language, which is related to Bagobo, B'laan, andT'boli. Coastal Tirurays are mostly farmers, hunters, fishermen, and basket weavers; those living in the mountains engage in dry field agriculture, supplemented by hunting and the gathering of forest products. Tirurays are famous for their craftsmanship in weaving baskets with two-toned geometric designs. While many have adopted the cultures of neighboring Muslims and Christians people, a high percentage of their population still believe and practice their indigenous customs and rituals.[66]
Umayamnon   The Umayamnon are originally from the Umayam River watershed and the headwaters of the Pulangi River. They reside in Bukidnon and are a subgroup of the Manobo.
Mangyan Woman, c. 1912


Mangyan is the generic name for the eight indigenous groups found on the island of Mindoro, southwest of the island of Luzon in the Philippines, each with its own tribal name, language, and customs. They occupy nearly the whole of the interior of the island of Mindoro. The total population may be around 280,000, but official statistics are difficult to determine under the conditions of remote areas, reclusive tribal groups and some having little if any outside world contact.

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Name(s) Image Description Notes
Alangan The Alangan are mangyans that primarily live in the municipalities of Naujan and Victoria in Oriental Mindoro, and Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro. They speak the Alangan language and number about 2,150 people around north-central Mindoro. The Ayan Bekeg dialect spoken on the northeast slopes of Mount Halcon is understood by Alangan speakers throughout the area. They may also be found around Casague, Santa Cruz, Occidental Mindoro and Kulasisi (tributary of the Mompong River), near Barrio Arellano, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.
Bangon The Mangyan group known on the east of Mindoro as Bangon may be a subgroup of Tawbuid, as they speak the 'western' dialect of that language. They also have a kind of poetry which is called the Ambahan.
Buhid The Buhid are mangyans that primarily live in Malfalon, Calintaan, Occidental Mindoro; Bato Eli, Barrio Monte Claro, San José Pandurucan (on the southern bank of the Bugsanga (Bisanga) River) in Occidental Mindoro; Barrio Rambida, Socorro, Oriental Mindoro; and Barrio Batangan, Panaytayan, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro. They speak the Buhid language in the island of Mindoro, Philippines. It is divided into eastern and western dialects and uses its own unique Buhid script, which is encoded in the Unicode-Block Buhid (Buid) (1740–175F).
Hanunoo Hanunuo, or Hanunó'o, are mangyans that live in Barrio Tugtugin, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; Naluak, Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro (on the upper Caguray River); Bamban, Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro (also with Ratagnon and Bisayan residents); and Barrio Panaytayan, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro (about 5 km from the highway in the mountains southwest of Mansalay). They speak the Hanunó'o language and use their own unique Hanunuo script, which is encoded in the Unicode-Block Hanunoo (1720–173F).
Iraya   The Iraya are mangyans that live in municipalities in northern Mindoro, such as Paluan, Abra de Ilog, northern Mamburao, and Santa Cruz municipalities in Occidental Mindoro, and Puerto Galera and San Teodoro municipalities in Oriental Mindoro. They have also been found in Calamintao, on the northeastern boundary of Santa Cruz municipality (7 km up the Pagbahan River from the provincial highway). They speak the Iraya language which is part of the North Mangyan group of Malayo-Polynesian languages, though it shows considerable differences to Tadyawan and Alangan, the other languages in this group. There are 6,000 to 8,000 Iraya speakers, and that number is growing. The language status of Iraya is developing, meaning that this language is being put to use in a strong and healthy manner by its speakers, and it also has its own writing system (though not yet completely common nor maintainable).
Ratagnon Ratagnon (also transliterated Datagnon or Latagnon) are mangyans of the southernmost tip of Occidental Mindoro in the Mindoro Islands along the Sulu Sea. They live in the southernmost part of the municipality of Magsaysay in Occidental Mindoro. The Ratagnon language is similar to the Visayan Cuyunon language, spoken by the inhabitants of Cuyo Island in Northern Palawan. The Ratagnon women wear a wrap-around cotton cloth from the waistline to the knees and some of the males still wear the traditional g-string. The women's breast covering is made of woven nito (vine). They also wear accessories made of beads and copper wire. The males wear a jacket with simple embroidery during gala festivities and carry flint, tinder, and other paraphernalia for making fire. Both sexes wear coils of red-dyed rattan at the waistline. Like other Mangyan tribes, they also carry betel chew and its ingredients in bamboo containers. Today only around 2 to 5 people speak the Ratagnon language, which is nearly extinct, out of an ethnic population of 2,000 people, since speakers are shifting to Tagalog. They appear to also have intermarried with lowlanders.
Tadyawan Tadyawan are mangyans that primarily live in southern Lake Naujan in Oriental Mindoro. They can be found in Barrio Talapaan, Socorro, Oriental Mindoro; Happy Valley, Socorro, Oriental Mindoro; and Pahilaan, Calatagan, Pola, Oriental Mindoro. They speak the Tadyawan language, which has 4 dialects, namely Nauhan, East Aglubang, West Aglubang, and Pola. Nauhan and East Aglubang are close to each other. The West Aglubang is spoken farthest out and has strong Alangan influence.
Tawbuid   The Tau-buid (or Tawbuid) Mangyans live in central Mindoro. They speak the Tawbuid language, which is divided into eastern and western dialects. The Bangon Mangyans also speak the western dialect of Tawbuid.

In Oriental Mindoro, Eastern Tawbuid (also known as Bangon) is spoken by 1,130 people in the municipalities of Socorro, Pinamalayan, and Gloria.

In Occidental Mindoro, Western Tawbuid (also known as Batangan) is spoken by 6,810 people in the municipalities of Sablayan and Calintaan.

Negrito warriors (1899)


The Negrito are several ethnic groups of the Australoid race who inhabit isolated parts of Southeast Asia.[67] Their current populations include 12 Andamanese peoples of the Andaman Islands, six Semang peoples of Malaysia, the Mani of Thailand, and the Aeta/Agta and Ati, and 30 other peoples of the Philippines. Genetically, Negritos are the most distant human population from Africans at most loci studied thus far (except for MC1R, which codes for dark skin). The all live in remote areas throughout the islands in the Philippines.

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Name(s) Image Description Notes
Aeta/Agta/Alta/Arta/Atta   The Aeta (Ayta /ˈaɪtə/ EYE-tə; Kapampangan: áitâ), or Agta/Alta/Arta/Atta, are multiple different Negrito indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of the island of Luzon in the Philippines. As Negritos, they have skin ranges from dark to very dark brown, and possesse features such as a small stature and frame; hair of a curly to kinky texture and a higher frequency of naturally lighter colour (blondism) relative to the general population, small nose, and dark brown eyes. They are thought to be among the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, preceding the Austronesian migrations. The Aeta were included in the group of people named "Negrito" during the Spanish Era. Various Aeta groups in northern Luzon are named Pugut or Pugot, an Ilocano term that also means "goblin" or "forest spirit", and is the colloquial term for people with darker complexions. These names are mostly considered inappropriate or derogatory by fellow Aeta of northern Luzon. The Aeta speak Sambalic languages, which are part of the Central Luzon family.
Ati   The Ati are a Negrito ethnic group in the Visayas, the central portion of the Philippine archipelago. Their small numbers are principally concentrated in the islands of Boracay, Panay and Negros. They are genetically related to other Negrito ethnic groups in the Philippines such as the Aeta of Luzon, the Batak of Palawan, and the Mamanwa of Mindanao. The Ati speak a Visayan language known as Inati. As of 1980, the speakers of Inati number about 1,500. Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a are also commonly used.
Batak   The Batak are a group of indigenous Filipino people that resides in the northeast portion of Palawan. There are only about 450 Batak remaining according to a 1990 census. Also called Tinitianes, the Batak are considered by anthropologists to be closely related to the Aeta of Central Luzon. They tend to be small in stature, with dark skin and short curly or "kinky" hair, traits which originally garnered the "Negrito" groups their name. Batak have for centuries combined a hunter-gatherer lifestyle with seeding of useful food plants, kaingin, a slash and burn farming method, and trading. It is believed that they may have had trading relations with Chinese merchants as early as 500 AD. During the mid to late-20th century the Batak were easily pushed out of their preferred gathering grounds by the sea into the mountains by emigrant farmers, mostly from Luzon. Living in less fertile areas, they have attempted to supplement their income by harvesting and selling various nontimber forest products, such as rattan, tree resins, and honey. The Batak were once a nomadic people, but have since, at the behest of the government, settled in small villages. Their belief system is that of animism, which is belief in spirits that reside in nature. Rapid depopulation, restricted forest access, sedentary living, and incursion by immigrants has devastated the group culturally. Today, very few Batak marry other Batak but tend to marry from other neighboring groups. The pattern has been that the children of these marriages tend not to follow Batak cultural ways, and today "pure" Batak are rare. They are also not reproducing to sustain their population. As a result, Batak are being absorbed into a more diffuse group of upland indigenous peoples who are slowing losing their tribal identities, and with it their unique spirituality and culture; there is even some debate as to whether or not they still exist as a distinct ethnic entity. They speak the Batak language, which is a Negrito language spoken in Palawan. It is sometimes disambiguated from the Batak languages of Indonesia as Palawan Batak. They can be found in the communities of Babuyan, Maoyon, Tanabag, Langogan, Tagnipa, Caramay, and Buayan in Palawan. They also speak the surrounding languages including Southern Tagbanwa, Central Tagbanwa, Kuyonon, and Agutaynen.
Mamanwa The Mamanwa is a Negrito tribe often grouped together with the Lumad. They come from Leyte, Agusan del Norte, and Surigao provinces in Mindanao; primarily in Kitcharao and Santiago, Agusan del Norte, though they are lesser in number and more scattered and nomadic than the Manobos and Mandaya tribes who also inhabit the region. Like all Negritos, the Mamanwas are phenotypically distinct from the lowlanders and the upland living Manobos, exhibiting curly hair and much darker skin tones. These peoples are traditionally hunter-gatherers and consume a wide variety of wild plants, herbs, insects, and animals from tropical rainforest. Currently, Mamanwa populations live in sedentary settlements ("barangays") that are close to agricultural peoples and market centers. As a result, a substantial proportion of their diet includes starch-dense domesticated foods. The Mamanwa have been exposed to many of the modernities mainstream agricultural populations possess and use such as cell phones, televisions, radio, processed foods, etc. Their contact with monotheist communities/populations has made a considerable impact on the Mamanwa's religious practices. The tribe produce excellent winnowing baskets, rattan hammocks, and other household containers. Mamanwa (also spelled Mamanoa) means 'first forest dwellers', from the words man (first) and banwa (forest). They speak the Mamanwa language (or Minamanwa). They are genetically related to the Denisovans.


The peoples and tribes of Palawan are a diverse group of tribes primarily located in the island of Palawan and its outlying islands. These ethnolinguistic nations are widely distributed to the long strip of mainland island literally traversing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Palawan is home to many indigenous peoples whose origins date back thousands of centuries. Pre-historic discoveries reveal how abundant cultural life in Palawan survived before foreign occupiers and colonizers reached the Philippine archipelago. Today, Palawan is making its best to preserve and conserve the richness of its cultural groups. The provincial government strives to support the groups of indigenous peoples of Palawan.

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Name(s) Image Description Notes
Agutaynon (Palaweño) Agutaynon are lowland dwellers of Agutaya Island, Palawan that also call themselves as Palaweños, like the Cuyunons, much to the amusement and distress of the original tribal groups, such as the Palawan, who are called Palawano by outsiders. The Agutayanons practice a simpler island lifestyle, with fishing and farming as their main source of livelihood. They speak the Agutaynen language which is spoken by about 15,000 people on Agutaya Island and six of the smaller Cuyo Islands, namely Diit, Maracañao, Matarawis, Algeciras, Concepcion, and Quiniluban. After World War II, Agutaynen speakers were also moved to San Vicente, Roxas, Brooke’s Point, Balabac, Linapacan, and Puerto Princesa City on Palawan Island.
Batak   The Batak are a group of indigenous Filipino people that resides in the northeast portion of Palawan. There are only about 450 Batak remaining according to a 1990 census. Also called Tinitianes, the Batak are considered by anthropologists to be closely related to the Aeta of Central Luzon. They tend to be small in stature, with dark skin and short curly or "kinky" hair, traits which originally garnered the "Negrito" groups their name. Batak have for centuries combined a hunter-gatherer lifestyle with seeding of useful food plants, kaingin, a slash and burn farming method, and trading. It is believed that they may have had trading relations with Chinese merchants as early as 500 AD. During the mid to late-20th century the Batak were easily pushed out of their preferred gathering grounds by the sea into the mountains by emigrant farmers, mostly from Luzon. Living in less fertile areas, they have attempted to supplement their income by harvesting and selling various nontimber forest products, such as rattan, tree resins, and honey. The Batak were once a nomadic people, but have since, at the behest of the government, settled in small villages. Their belief system is that of animism, which is belief in spirits that reside in nature. Rapid depopulation, restricted forest access, sedentary living, and incursion by immigrants has devastated the group culturally. Today, very few Batak marry other Batak but tend to marry from other neighboring groups. The pattern has been that the children of these marriages tend not to follow Batak cultural ways, and today "pure" Batak are rare. They are also not reproducing to sustain their population. As a result, Batak are being absorbed into a more diffuse group of upland indigenous peoples who are slowing losing their tribal identities, and with it their unique spirituality and culture; there is even some debate as to whether or not they still exist as a distinct ethnic entity. They speak the Batak language, which is a Negrito language spoken in Palawan. It is sometimes disambiguated from the Batak languages of Indonesia as Palawan Batak. They can be found in the communities of Babuyan, Maoyon, Tanabag, Langogan, Tagnipa, Caramay, and Buayan in Palawan. They also speak the surrounding languages including Southern Tagbanwa, Central Tagbanwa, Kuyonon, and Agutaynen.
Cuyunon (Palaweño) Cuyunon are lowland dwellers hailing originally from the island town of Cuyo and other surrounding islands. They claim descent from the Kadatuan of Taytay and have historically spread to northern and central Palawan. They also call themselves as Palaweños, like the Agutaynon, much to the amusement and distress of the original tribal groups, such as the Palawan, who are called Palawano by outsiders. They are considered an elite class among the hierarchy of native Palaweños. Their conversion to Christianity has led to the merger of the animistic beliefs of the Cuyunon with the Christian elements to produce a folk Christianity which is the prevailing belief of the Cuyunon. They speak the Cuyonon language, which is a Visayan language, but have recently also adopted Tagalog and Hiligaynon due to an increase of Tagalog-speaking immigrants from Luzon.
Kagayanen The Kagayanen are from the municipality of Cagayancillo, Palawan province. There are about 36,000 Kagayanen in the Philippines. They speak the Kagayanen language, which belongs to the Manobo languages found mostly in Mindanao. They can also be found in coastal communities across Palawan, and around Balabac, Busuanga, Coron, and other areas around the Philippines, such as Iloilo Province; Silay, Negros Occidental; Manila; Quezon and Rizal areas.
Molbog   The Molbog (referred to in the literature as Molebugan or Molebuganon) are concentrated in southern Palawan, around Balabac, Bataraza, and are also found in other islands of the coast of Palawan as far north as Panakan. They are the only indigenous people in Palawan where the majority of its people are Muslims. The area constitutes the homeland of the Molbog people since the classical era prior to Spanish colonization. The Molbog are known to have a strong connection with the natural world, especially with the sacred pilandok (Philippine mouse-deer), which can only be found in the Balabac islands. The coconut is especially important in Molbog culture at it is their most prized agricultural crop. The word Malubog means "murky or turbid water". The Molbog are likely a migrant people from nearby Sabah, North Borneo. Based on their dialect and some socio-cultural practices, they seem to be related to the Orang Tidung or Tirum (Camucone in Spanish), an Islamized ethnolinguistic nation native to the lower east coast of Sabah and upper East Kalimantan. They speak the Molbog language, which is related to Bonggi, spoken in Sabah, Malaysia. However, some Sama words (of the Jama Mapun variant) and Tausug words are found in the Molbog dialect after a long period of exposure with those ethnics. This plus a few characteristics of their socio-cultural life style distinguish them from the Orang Tidung. Molbog livelihood includes subsistence farming, fishing and occasional barter trading with the Moros and neighbouring ethnolinguistic nations in Sabah. In the past, both the Molbog and the Palawanon Muslims were ruled by Sulu datus, thus forming the outer political periphery of the Sulu Sultanate. Intermarriage between Tausug and the Molbog hastened the Islamization of the Molbog. The offsprings of these intermarriages are known as kolibugan or "half-breed".
Palawano/Palaw'an The Palawan tribal people, also known as the Palawano (only by outsiders) or Palaw'an (or Palawan, depending on sub-dialect), are an indigenous ethnic group of the Palawan group of islands in the Philippines. They traditionally hunt using soars and bamboo blowguns. They speak the Palawano language, which is divided into four ethno-linguistic subgroupings: the Quezon Palawano which is also known as the Central Palawano; the Bugsuk Palawano or South Palawano; Brooke's Point Palawano; and Southwest Palawano. Palawanos are more popularly known as Palawans, which is pronounced faster than the name of the province. The Quezon Palawano subgroup are found in Southern Palawan, particularly on the western section of the municipality of Quezon including the eastern part of Abo-abo of the municipality of Sofronio Espanola, going southward down to the northern section of the municipality of Rizal. A large group of Palawans can also be found in Sitios Gugnan, Kambing, Tugpa, and Kalatabog of Barangay Panitian. The Taw't Bato of the municipality of Rizal at the foot of Mt. Matalingahan also belongs to this same Palawan tribal group although their language is 15 percent different from the Quezon Palawanos. The Palawano closely resemble the Tagbanwa, and in the past, they were doubtless the same people. Some Tausug residents in Palawan call the Palawano Traan, which means "people in scattered places". Like the Yakan of Basilan, the Palawano live in houses out of sight of each other, scattered among their plots of farm lands. Their main occupation is subsistence farming, cultivating mainly upland rice. Their religion is an old prehispanic belief that mixes traditional animism with elements of Hinduism and Islamic belief. Some have embraced Islam from their southern Molbog and Palawani neighbors. A small number of them are Protestant due to recent missionary campaigns.
Taaw't Bato The Taaw't Bato's name means "people of the rock". They speak the Taaw't Bato language, which is 80% intelligible with Palawano. They are not actually a separate language or ethnolinguistic nation, but rather a small community of traditional S.W. Palawanos who happen to reside in the crater of an extinct volcano during certain seasons of the year, in houses built on raised floors inside caves though others have set their homes on the open slopes. They are found in the Singnapan Basin, a valley bounded by Mount Mantalingajan on the east and the coast on the west. North of them is the municipality of Quezon, Palawan and to the South are the still unexplored regions of Palawan. They are still primitive in their lifestyle, even in the way of dressing. The men still wear g-strings made of bark and cloth and the women wear a piece of cloth made into skirts to cover the lower body. Both of them are half naked but sometimes women wear a blouse that is not indigenous but obtained through commercial markets. They mainly produce and consume cassava, but also produce sweet potato, sugarcane, malunggay, garlic, pepper, string beans, squash, tomato, pineapple, etc. Throughout the year, hunting and foraging is pursued to complement the carbohydrate diet of the people. Most of the wild pigs are caught through spring traps. They also indulge the sambi (barter) and dagang (monetary exchange). The trade is specifically for marine fish which the people of Candawaga provide in exchange for horticultural products of the Taaw't-Bato. Dagang involves forest products like the almaciga, rattan, etc. This tribe subsists on hunting, gathering fruits and planting crops and rice near the forest. Because of their uniqueness, the Philippine government declared their area off limits to strangers to protect them from unreasonable exploitation. As of 1987, their population was about 198. Note that the common-seen spelling "Tau't Bato" or "Tau't Batu" is a misspelling based on the Tagalog word for "human" (tao). The Palawano word is taaw. The men of the tribe wear G-strings while the women cover their lower bodies with bark or cloth that is made into a skirt. The upper half is left exposed although some now wear blouses that are bought from the market.

The people practice agriculture with cassava as the major source of carbohydrates. They also plant sweet potatoes, sugarcane, malunggay (Moringa oleifera), garlic, pepper, string beans, squash, tomatoes and pineapples. Others practice fishing, hunting and industrial arts. Their social organizations are based on family (kin ties), band (type of substinence activity) and settlement (geographic location).

Tagbanwa   The Tagbanwa/Tagbanua people (Tagbanwa: ᝦᝪᝯ), or "people of the world," are one of the oldest ethnic groups in the Philippines, and can be mainly found in the central and northern Palawan. Research has shown that the Tagbanwa are possible descendants of the Tabon Man, thus making them one of the original inhabitants of the Philippines. They are a brown-skinned, slim, and straight-haired ethnic group. They speak the Tagbanwa language, which has its own unique Tagbanwa script with Unicode-Block Tagbanwa (1760–177F), and can be classified into two major classifications based on the geographical location where they can be found. Central Tagbanwas are found in the western and eastern coastal areas of central Palawan. They are concentrated in the municipalities of Aborlan, Quezon, and Puerto Princesa. Calamian Tagbanwa, on the other hand, are found in Baras coast, Busuanga Island, Coron Island, Linipacan Calibangbangan, and in some parts of El Nido. These two Tagbanwa sub-groups speak different languages and do not exactly have the same customs. Tagbanwa live in compact villages of 45 to 500 individuals. In 1987, there were 129,691 Tagbanwas living in Palawan. At present, Tagbanwa tribe has an estimated population of over 10,000. 1,800 of these are in the Calamianes. Shifting cultivation of upland rice is part of their cultural and economic practices. Rice is considered a divine gift and is fermented to make rice wine, which they use in Pagdiwata, or rice wine ritual. The cult of the dead is the key to the religious system of the Tagbanwa. They believe in several deities found in the natural environment. Their language and alphabet, practice of kaingin and common belief in soul-relatives are part of their culture. This group are excellent in basketry and wood carving. In addition, they are also famous for their beautifully crafted body accessories. Their combs, bracelets, necklaces and anklets are usually made of wood, beads, brass and copper. The Central Tagbanwa language is dying out as the younger generations are learning Cuyonon and Tagalog. The Tagbanwas speak the Tagbanwa language and has several sub-dialects. They are able to comprehend Tagalog, and, depending on their proximity to neighboring ethnolinguistic nations, Batak, Cuyonen and Calamian languages. They usually dress like the non-tribal lowlanders. However, elder men prefer to wear G-string while tilling or fishing. Houses are built from available forest materials. Bamboo and wood are used for the house's frame anahaw leaves are used to create walls and the roof and bamboo slats are used as flooring. Their basic social unit is the nuclear family which is composed of a married couple and their children usually one girl and one boy.


They are highland Visayan peoples, related to the lowland Kinaray-a, Aklanon, and Hiligaynon of Panay Island, Visayas.

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Name(s) Image Description Notes
Suludnon/Sulod/Tumandok The Suludnon, also known as the Tumandok, Sulod, Panay-Bukidnon, or Panayanon Sulud, are an indigenous Visayan group of people who reside in the Capiz-Lambunao mountainous area and the Antique-Iloilo mountain area of central Panay in the Visayan islands of the Philippines. They are one of the two only culturally indigenous group of Visayan language-speakers in the Western Visayas, along with the Iraynon-Bukidnon of Antique. Although they were once culturally related to the speakers of the Kinaray-a, Aklanon, and Hiligaynon languages, all of whom inhabit the lowlands of Panay, their isolation from Spanish rule resulted in the continuation of a pre-Hispanic culture and beliefs. They speak the Igbok language (also known as Ligbok or Sulod language), a member of the West Visayan subdivision of the Visayan languages under the Austronesian language family. They are the largest indigenous people’s group in Panay, with a population of some 94,000 as of 2011. They are mostly slash-and-burn farmers with bisaya rice as the main crop. The Tumandok also engage in hunting, fishing, and foraging for fruits and root crops.[68]


The Philippines consists of a wide number of settlers that form part of the national population. They immigrated or descended from various countries, most notably Spain, Mexico, China, the United States, Japan, and India.

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name Descriptions Notes
    Spanish, Hispanic These are descendants of the Spanish and Hispanic settlers who settled in the Spanish East Indies (Philippines) during the Spanish Era. Most were of either Spanish ancestry or Amerindian-Spanish ancestry (The term 'Mestizo' originated in Latin America). The first groups of Hispanics sailed in 1565 with Miguel López de Legazpi from New Spain, in what is now Jalisco state, Mexico to colonize the Philippines.
  American Some of these multiracial individuals are descended from Americans who settled in the Philippines during the United States colonial period, and others from tourists who have settled in the Philippines in the contemporary period. As of 2011, the U.S, State Department estimated that there are an estimated four million Americans of Philippine ancestry in the United States, and more than 300,000 to 600,000 American citizens in the Philippines.[69]
    Chinese Most migrations of Chinese to the Philippines started even before the Spanish colonial period, when foreign trade with other countries were opened to the Philippines.[70][71][72] Ethnic Chinese sailed around the Philippine Islands from the 9th century onward and frequently interacted with the local Filipinos. Some datus, rajahs, and lakans (indigenous rulers) in the Philippines were themselves a product of the intermarriage between the Chinese merchant-settlers and the local Filipinos.[70][71][72]
  Indian Philippines has been part of Indianized kingdoms from the 7th century Srivijaya and earlier era. Indian culture, language, scripture, food, belief, arts, martial arts, epics have had profound impact on pre-Spanish Philippines which is still visible. They have contributed to the unique cultural blend in the Philippines. One source estimated the size of the Indian community in the Philippines in 2008 at 150,000 persons.[73] Most Indians in the Philippines belong to either Sindhi people or Punjabi people ethnic groups, and are largely businessmen and traders. A smaller population of Indians belonging to the Marathi ethnic group form part of the clergy of Roman Catholic dioceses in the country.[74][75]
  Japanese Japanese residing in the Philippines including Filipinos of Japanese descent.[76] Japanese people have been settling in the Philippines for centuries, therefore there has been much cultural and genetic blending.[77] The Ryukyu Kingdom (Okinawa, etc ... ) also had heavy trade and mixing in the Philippines, particularly in Northern Luzon.
  Jewish Majority of the Jews in the Philippines are of the Sephardic branch of Judaism.[78] The official population is unknown.
  Koreans Most of them are transient students and expatriates.[79] Most are tourists or students studying in the Philippines.[80]
  Arabs Their official population is unknown.[citation needed]
   Indonesians and Malaysians Most are fishermen and laborers. Some are overseas students and expatriates
Other Other ethnic groups and/or nationalities include various ethnicities, i.e. Australian, Brazilian, British, Canadian, French, German, Greek, Iranian, Italian, Nepalese, New Zealander, Pacific Islander, Polish, Russian, Singaporean, Thai, Vietnamese, and other ethnic groups from other countries.

See alsoEdit


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  2. ^ With a sample population of 105 Filipinos, the company of Applied Biosystems, analysed the Y-DNA of average Filipinos and it is discovered that about 0.95% of the samples have the Y-DNA Haplotype "H1a", which is most common in South Asia and had spread to the Philippines via precolonial Indian missionaries who spread Hinduism.
  3. ^ Acabado, Stephen; Martin, Marlon; Lauer, Adam J. (2014). "Rethinking history, conserving heritage: archaeology and community engagement in Ifugao, Philippines" (PDF). The SAA Archaeological Record: 13–17.
  4. ^ Lasco, Gideon (28 December 2017). "Waves of migration". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  5. ^ Solheim, Wilhelm G.; Bulbeck, David; Flavel, Ambika (2006). Archaeology and Culture in Southeast Asia: Unraveling the Nusantao. UP Press. pp. 57–139. ISBN 978-971-542-508-7.
  6. ^ Solheim, Wilhelm G., II. (January 2006). Origins of the Filipinos and Their Languages (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 3, 2008. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  7. ^ Solheim, Wilhelm G., II (2006). Archaeology and Culture in Southeast Asia: Unraveling the Nusantao. Diliman, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press. p. 316. ISBN 971-542-508-9.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ a b c d Chambers, Geoff (2013). "Genetics and the Origins of the Polynesians". eLS. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. doi:10.1002/9780470015902.a0020808.pub2. ISBN 978-0470016176.
  9. ^ a b Bellwood, Peter (2004). "The origins and dispersals of agricultural communities in Southeast Asia" (PDF). In Glover, Ian; Bellwood, Peter (eds.). Southeast Asia: From Prehistory to History. RoutledgeCurzon. pp. 21–40. ISBN 9780415297776.
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  12. ^ Chambers, Geoffrey K.; Edinur, Hisham A. (2015). "The Austronesian Diaspora: A Synthetic Total Evidence Model". Global Journal of Anthropology Research. 2 (2): 53–65. doi:10.15379/2410-2806.2015.02.02.06.
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  19. ^ *Institute for Human Genetics, University of California San Francisco (2015). "Self-identified East Asian nationalities correlated with genetic clustering, consistent with extensive endogamy. Individuals of mixed East Asian-European genetic ancestry were easily identified; we also observed a modest amount of European genetic ancestry in individuals self-identified as Filipinos" (PDF). Genetics Online: 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-01.
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  22. ^ "Sangley, Intsik und Sino : die chinesische Haendlerminoritaet in den Philippine".
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External linksEdit