Ethnic groups in the Philippines
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The islands of the Philippines are inhabited by a number of different ethnic groups. The majority of the population is composed of ethnolinguistic groups whose languages are Austronesian also known as Malayo-Polynesian in origin. Many of these groups converted to Christianity, particularly the lowland-coastal groups, and adopted many foreign elements of culture. Ethnic groups include the Cebuano, Ilocano, Pangasinense, Kapampangan, Tagalog, Bicolano, Waray, Surigaonon, Zamboangueño and Hiligaynon who are also called Ilonggo.
In western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, there are indigenous groups 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. Unlike the Moros, these people do not practice Islam, and maintain their animistic beliefs and traditions though some of them have converted to Christianity as well.
The Negrito are a pre-Austronesian people who migrated from mainland Asia and were one of the earliest human beings to settle the Philippines, around 90,000 years ago. The first known were the people of the Callao Man remains. The Negrito population was estimated in 2004 at around 31,000. 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.
Most Filipinos are Malayo-Polynesian, a major group within the Austronesian language family. Other ethnic groups form a minority in the Philippine population. These include those of Japanese, Han Chinese, Indians, Americans, Spanish, Europeans, and other ethnic groups from other countries. Mixed-race individuals are known as Filipino mestizo.
Ethnic Identity, Language and Genetic Studies
A 2008 genetic study showed no evidence of a large-scale Taiwanese migration into the Philippines. The Leeds University study, published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, showed that mitochondrial DNA lineages have been evolving within Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) since modern humans arrived approximately 50,000 years ago.
There is no genetic evidence for large-scale population replacement, displacement, or absorption to suggest replacement of preexisting hunting and gathering populations by farming-voyaging immigrants from Taiwan. Population dispersals occurred at the same time as sea levels rose, which resulted in migrations from the Philippines to as far north as Taiwan within the last 10,000 years.
Examination of mitochondrial DNA lineages showed that the neolithic culture (Austronesian) had been evolving within Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) for a longer period than previously believed. Population dispersals occurred at the same time as sea levels rose, which may have resulted in migrations from the Philippines to as far north as Taiwan within the last 10,000 years. Per co-author Dr Oppenheimer, from the Oxford University School of Anthropology, population migrations were most likely to have been driven by climate change — the effects of the drowning of a huge ancient peninsula called ‘Sundaland’ (that extended the Asian landmass as far as Borneo and Java). This happened during the period 15,000 to 7,000 years ago following the last Ice Age. Rising sea levels in three massive pulses caused flooding and the submergence of the Sunda Peninsula, creating the Java and South China Seas and the thousands of islands that make up Indonesia and the Philippines today.
According to a recent study by Mark Donohue of the Australian National University and Tim Denham of Monash University, there is no linguistic evidence for an orderly north-to-south dispersal of the Austronesian languages from Taiwan through the Philippines and into Island Southeast Asia (ISEA).
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, Hispanic, etc.) that reside inside and outside of the Philippines remains unknown. Although a study provided by Stanford University found that 3.6% 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]
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, several ethnic groups of the Australoid race, arrived about 30,000 years ago and occupied several scattered areas throughout the islands. 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 (Malayo-Polynesian). 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 ethnic group had dominated and displaced the Negrito population in most areas. Traders from southern China, Japan, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia, also contributed to the ethnic, and cultural development of the islands.
By the 16th century, Spanish colonization brought new groups of people to the Philippines. Many settled in the Philippines, and some intermarried with the indigenous population, although intermarriage was slight. This gave rise to the Filipino mestizo or individuals of mixed Austronesian and Spanish descent.
Far more numerous were Chinese immigrant workers, known as sangley, as many Chinese historically had been traders. They intermarried with Filipinos, and their children and descendants were called mestizo de sangley. The mestizo de sangleys were far more numerous than mestizos of Spanish descent. 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 ethnic groups, culture and language. In the late 19th century, some Americans proposed resettling African Americans in the Philippines, because of discrimination against them in the South, particularly. Post-American Civil War violence against the freedmen had gone on as southern whites struggled for political and economic dominance. The resettlement idea did not get implemented.
The Philippines has over 180 indigenous ethnic groups, over half of which represent unique linguistic groups.
Indigenous and ethnic groups
|Bicolano||The Bicolanos originated in Bicol, Luzon. There are several Bicolano languages, of which there is a total of about 3.5 million speakers. Their languages are Central Bikol with Naga, Legazpi, Daet, Partido (Virac is sometimes considered as a separate language), Masbatenyo, Rinconada Bikol, Pandan Bikol, Sorsogon Masbatenyo, Sorsogon Waray,Southern Sorsogon (Gubat language), West Albay Bikol, Miraya Bikol, Buhi Bikol, Libon Bikol and Tagalog.|
|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 distinct language is distantly related to that of the Ibanag and Yogad; it is also spoken by ethnically-related Ga'dang in Ifugao and Mountain Provinces, as well as some neighboring Aeta.|
|Ibanag||Ibanags are an ethnic group numbering around half a million people, who inhabit the provinces of Cagayan, and Isabela.|
|Ilokano||The Ibanag, Ivatan, the Ilocano people are the inhabitants of the lowlands, and coastal areas of northern Luzon. Ilocano are also found in central Luzon, Metro Manila, and some towns in the Visayas, and Mindanao.||There are about 8 million speakers of Ilocano, and most of these individuals are Christians.|
|Ivatan||The Ivatan are predominant in the Batanes Islands of the Philippines. They have close cultural links with Taiwanese aborigines.|
|Kapampangan||The Ka'Pampangan or Capampañgan (English: Pampangan; Spanish: Pampangueño or Pampango) people originate from the central plains of Luzon, starting from Bataan up to Nueva Ecija. The Kapampangan language is spoken by more than two million people. 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.:3 Kapampangans, along with the Tagalogs, played a major role in the Philippine Revolution.|
|Moro||The Moros are of various ethnolinguistic groups in southern, and western Mindanao who are the same as other Filipinos, but whose religion is Islam. The largest of these are the Tausug, the Maguindanao, the Maranao, the Sama, the Yakan, and the Banguingui. These ethnolinguistic groups are different in terms of culture, religion, and have been politically independent. Muslim Filipinos have an independent justice, and education system based in Cotabato City. They form about 5-10% of the Philippine population, making them the sixth largest ethnic group in the country.|
|Pangasinense||The Pangasinan people or the Pangasinense are the ninth largest Filipino ethnic group. They originated from the northwestern seaboard of Luzon and predominantly reside in the Pangasinan province.|
|Sambal||The Sambal are the inhabitants of the province of Zambales, and the city of Olongapo in the Philippines. Sambals currently make up a large proportion of the population in the municipalities of Zambales province north of Iba.|
|Subanon||The Subanon or "Subanu" (also called Subanen or Subanun) means "river people", which is derived from the word "soba", "suba" a word common in Sulu, Visayas, and Mindanao, which means "river" and the suffix “-nun” or -non” which indicates a locality or place of origin. Subanon are also known in the Anglicized form as "Subanen".
Subanon are the biggest group of lumad or non-Muslim indigenous cultural community on the island of Mindanao. 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.||
|Tagalog||The Tagalogs, the settlers of Manila and its surrounding areas, are one of the most widespread groups of people in the Philippines. The Tagalog language was chosen as an official language of the Philippines in the 1930s. Today, Filipino, a de facto version of Tagalog, is taught throughout the islands. As of the 2000 census[update], there were about 21.5 million speakers of Tagalog in the Philippines, 23.8 million worldwide.|
|Visayan||The term Visayan refers to a cluster of lowland ethnolinguistic groups who refer to themselves as Bisaya and mainly reside in the Visayas region. Some of these individuals are also found in some parts of Mindanao. These particular groups share nearly the same history, maritime civilization mostly around the Visayan Sea, culture and traditions. As such, their languages mostly within the Visayan island group were said to be actually one dialect continuum of Visayan due to their great lexical and grammatical semblance to each other. It was also hypothesized that scattered present-day Visayans originated from a proto-ethnic group that fled Sri Vijaya, a major thalassocratic empire in Southeast Asia during 13th century. Based on estimates from the 2010 census, there are currently around 33 million ethnic Visayans.
Main article: Visayans
There are various Visayan languages spoken in the Central Philippine region. They mostly include Cebuano, Ilonggo, and Waray-Waray. Smaller language groups are Romblomanon, Kinaray-a Aklanon and Masbatenyo. Although having their indigenous language classified as Visayan by linguists, some ethnic groups do not identify themselves as part of the Visayan ethnic group. One example is the Tausug who speak a Visayan language yet are predominantly Muslim. Some of these only use the Visayan identity to refer to those who are Christian. Another language taxonomically considered as Visayan is the Cuyonon of Palawan.||
|Zamboangueño||The Chavacanos are an ethnic group numbering around a million people, who inhabit the provinces and cities of Cavite(the Caviteño Chabacano), Zamboanga City(Zamboangueño or Chavacano), Zamboanga Provinces(Zamboangueño), Basilan (Zamboangueño), Sulu (Zamboangueño), Tawi-Tawi (Zamboangueño) Ternate(Ternateño Chabacano), Ermita(Ermiteño Chabacano), Cotabato(Cotabateñ Chavacano), Davao(Castellano Abakay) and Malaysia(Zamboangueño).|
There are more than 100 highland, lowland, and coastland tribal groups in the Philippines. These include:
|Batak||The Batak is a group of indigenous Filipino people that resides in the northeast portion of Palawan.|
|Bugkalot||Also called Ilongot, this 2,500-person tribe lives in the southern Sierra Madre and Caraballo Mountains, on the east side of Luzon Island in the Philippines, primarily in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija.|
|Igorot||The Igorot (Bontoc, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Isneg, Kalinga, Kankana-ey, Kalanguya), live in the highlands of Luzon. They are primarily located in the Cordillera Administrative Region.|
|Ilongots||The Ilongot are a headhunting ethnic group found in the Caraballo Mountains.|
|Kagayanen||The Kagayanen are from the municipality of Cagayancillo, Palawan province. There are about 36,000 Kagayanen in the Philippines.|
|Lumad||The Lumad of Mindanao includes several tribes such as the Manobo, the Tasaday, the Mamanwa, the Mandaya, the Bilaan and the Kalagan. They primarily inhabit the eastern parts of Mindanao such as the Caraga, and Davao Regions.|
|Mangyan||The Mangyan communities are found in Mindoro.||They are 13% in the population.|
|Molbog||The Molbog (referred to in the literature as Molebugan or Molebuganon) are concentrated in Balabak island and are also found in other islands of the coast of Palawan as far north as Panakan. The word Malubog means "murky or turbid water". The Molbog are probably a migrant people from nearby North Borneo. Judging from their dialect and some socio-cultural practices, they seem to be related to the Orang Tidung or Tirum (Camucone in Spanish), an Islamized indigenous group native to the lower east coast of Sabah and upper East Kalimantan.||
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 Sulu Bangsa Moro and nearby Sabah market centers. 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".
|Negrito groups||The Negrito are several ethnic groups of the Australoid race who inhabit isolated parts of Southeast Asia. Their current populations include 12 Andamanese peoples of the Andaman Islands, six Semang peoples of Malaysia, the Mani of Thailand, and the Aeta, Agta, 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 Negrito, Aeta, Batak, and Mamanwa live in remote areas throughout the islands.|
|Palawan Tribes||The tribes of Palawan are a diverse group of tribes primarily located in the island of Palawan and its outlying islands. These tribal groups 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.
|Pala'wan||The Pala'wan are a tribal people found in Southern Palawan particularly Quezon, Palawan.|
|Tagbanwa people||The Tagbanwas are found in the western and eastern coastal areas of central Palawan. Their name means "people of the world". They are concentrated in the municipalities of Aborlan, Quezon and the city of Puerto Princesa. Two other ethnic groups called "Tagbanwa" (i.e. the Central Tagbanwa and the Calamian Tagbanwa) are from a different family of languages and should not be confused the Tagnbanwas discussed here. These are found Coron Island, Northern Palawan, Busuanga Island and the Baras coast. 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 groups, 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.
|Tau't Bato||The Taaw't Batos' name means "people of the rock". They are not actually a separate language or ethnic group, 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.||
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).
|Suludon||The Tumandok people are an indigenous group who live in central Panay island. They are the largest indigenous people’s group in Panay, with a population As of 2011[update] of some 94,000. 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.|||
Non-indigenous ethnic groups
- The Philippine Statistics Department does not account for the racial background or ancestry of an individual. The official number of all types of Filipino mestizos who reside inside and outside of the Philippines remains unknown.
|Chinese||Filipinos of Chinese ancestry form a minority in the Philippine population. 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. The ethnically Chinese Filipinos comprise 1.3% (1.1 million) of the population.||
Main article: Chinese Filipino
|American||Filipinos of American ancestry form a minority in the Philippine population. 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[update], 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 American citizens in the Philippines.||
Main article: Filipinos of American descent
|Arabs||the Arabs form a minority in the Philippine population. Their official population is unknown.||
Main article: Filipinos of Arab descent
|Indian||Indians form a minority in the Philippine population and have been in the Philippines since pre-colonial times. 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. 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.||
Main article: Filipinos of Indian descent
|Japanese||People of Japanese descent form a minority in the Philippine population. However, some estimates put the number of Japanese residing in the Philippines at around 120,000 when including Filipinos of Japanese descent. Japanese people have been settling in the Philippines for centuries, therefore there has been much cultural and genetic blending. The Ryukyu Kingdom (Okinawa, etc...) also had heavy trade and mixing in the Philippines, particularly in Northern Luzon. ||
Main article: Filipinos of Japanese descent
|Hispanic||Filipinos of Hispanic ancestry form a minority in the Philippine population. Their official population is unknown. Most of these are descendants of the Spanish settlers who settled in the islands during the Spanish colonial period. Most were of either pure 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 conquer the Philippines.|
|Jewish||Jews form a minority in the Philippine population. Their official population is unknown.||
Main article: Jews in the Philippines
|Koreans||As of 2007, approximately 72,000 Koreans are living in the Philippines. Most of them are transient students and expatriates. Most are tourists or students studying in the Philippines.||
Main article: Koreans in the Philippines
Other ethnic groups and/or nationalities include various European ethnicities, Brazilian, Canadian, Australian, New Zealander, Pacific Islander, Eastern European, Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese, and other ethnic groups from other countries.||
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