Karay-a people

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The Karay-a, are part of the wider Visayan ethnolinguistic group, which constitute the largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group. The name of this group was derived from the word iraya, which means "upstream". Karay-a people speak Kinaray-a language. The term Hamtikanon, is incorrectly substituted to generally refer to all ethnic Karay-a; however, it pertains to the Karay-a people living in Antique and deals more with location of residence than ethnicity.


The Karay-a people live primarily in the province of Antique, but are also numerous in the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Romblon, and Aklan, as well as in Palawan.

    • Antique

(whole province)

    • Iloilo:
  • Alimodian
  • Leon
  • San Miguel
  • San Enrique
  • Santa Barbara
  • San Joaquin
  • Bingawan
  • Calinog
  • Lambunao
  • Passi City
  • Badiangan
  • Janiuay
  • Zarraga
  • Cabatuan
  • Maasin
  • New Lucena
  • Pototan
  • Iloilo City
  • Tubungan
  • Leganes
  • Oton
  • Tigbauan
  • Igbaras
  • Pavia
  • Guimbal
  • Miag-ao
  • Dingle
    • Capiz:
  • Tapaz
  • Jamindan
  • Dumarao
  • Dumalag
    • Aklan:
  • Nabas
  • Buruanga
  • Malay
  • Libacao
  • Madalag
  • Ibajay
    • Palawan:
  • Taytay
  • Narra
  • Cagayancillo
    • Mindoro Oriental:
  • Bulalacao
    • Areas with Former Karay-a Influence:
  • Mindoro Oriental: Pinamalayan, Gloria, Bansud, Bongabong, Roxas, Mansalay
  • Mindoro Occidental: Sablayan, Calintaan, San Jose City, Magsaysay


The Karay-a number about 363,000. They were first believed to be the descendants of immigrants from Borneo, through the epic-myth of the "Ten Bornean Datus". Recent findings, however, revealed that the ancestors of the Karay-a are the Austronesian-speaking immigrants who came from South China during the Iron Age. They primarily speak Kinaray-a, and Hiligaynon, Tagalog, and English as second languages. Most are Christians. About half are Roman Catholics, and the remaining half are Protestants. Some people belonging to the Suludnun tribe, are animists.


Most Karay-a engage in agriculture, as well as in cottage industries. Several towns in Antique have the distinction of producing quality ware ranging from salakot and sawali from Belison, bamboo-craft from San Jose, ceramics from Sibalom, pottery from Bandoja, Tibiao; mats from Pandan and Libertad; and loom-woven patadyong (barrel skirt) from Bagtason, Bugasong, the only one of its kind in the Visayas and well known throughout Panay. Music, such as courtship songs, wedding hymns, and funeral recitals, is well-developed, as it is with dance.