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The Ibanags are an ethnolinguistic minority numbering a little more than half a million people, who inhabit the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya. They are one of the largest ethnolinguistic minorities in the Philippines. Ibanags speak the same language under the same name. However, due to the Philippine government's attempts at displacing minority languages and imposing Filipino as a lingua franca, the use of Ibanag language has now diminished but remain strong with Ibanags living overseas. Thus while there may still be Ibanags around, the language is slowly being displaced. In addition to this, many if not most Ibanags speak Ilocano, which has over the years, supplanted Ibanag as the more dominant language in the region.
Ibanag is also known as "Ybanag" and "Ybanak" or "Ibanak".
Ibanags often distinguish themselves by the color of their elbows. "Kunnasi kangisi' na sikum", meaning "How dark is your elbow". Often it is joked upon by Ibanags that their elbows tend to be of darker complexion than the rest of the Filipinos. In addition to this, Ibanags tend to be taller in stock and have a peculiar height on the bridge of their noses.
Their names come from the words "I"- which means "The" and "Bannag"- meaning river.
The Ibanag language (also Ybanag) is spoken by about 500,000 speakers in two of the northeasternmost provinces of the Philippines, Isabela and Cagayan, especially in Tuguegarao City, Solana, Cabagan,San Pablo, Isabela, Tumauini, Isabela, Sta. Maria, Isabela, Sto. Tomas Isabela Ilagan, Gamu, Naguilian and Reina Mercedes. There are also several speakers of the Ibanag language in Abulug, Aparri, Camalaniugan, Lal-lo and Tuao. Most of the speakers can speak Ilocano, the lingua franca of Northern Luzon, as well. Ibanag is derived from bannag 'river' . It is closely related to Gaddang, Itawis, Agta, Atta, Yogad, Isneg and Malaweg.
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