Cuyunon people

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Total population
Regions with significant populations
Philippines Philippines: Palawan
Cuyonon, Hiligaynon, Filipino
Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
other Filipino peoples, other Austronesian peoples

Cuyunon refers to an ethnic group populating the Cuyo Islands, along with northern and central Palawan. The Cuyunons hail originally from Cuyo and the surrounding Cuyo Islands, a group of islands and islets in the northern Sulu Sea, to the north east of Palawan. They are considered an elite class among the hierarchy of native Palaweños.

The Cuyonon jurisdictions during Pre-Hispanic times include Cuyo under the powerful Datu Magbanua, Taytay under the gracious Cabaylo Royal Family who met the remnants of Magellan's fleet who fled Mactan after Ferdinand Magellan died in battle, Paragua (Palawan) under Datu Cabangon who ruled south of Taytay and Busuanga under the peaceful Datu Macanas.

During Spanish colonization of the Philippines, Cuyo was one of the territories of Palawan that had the strongest Spanish presence, even being the capital of the entire Palawan province as one point.

Cuyonon culture[edit]

Significant populations[edit]

Although the Cuyonon language is so closely related to Kinaray-a in Panay, very few Cuyonons actually live or speak Cuyonon in Panay, they instead settled west to the island of Palawan where the ethnic group is so closely associated now, this being the Province of Palawan declared Cuyonon as its official language. The fact also remains that most of the other ethnic groups of Palawan can fluently speak this language because Cuyonon had been the lingua franca of the Province of Palawan for many centuries already.

Indigenous Cuyonon Religion[edit]

Diwata ng Kagubatan (literally goddess of the forest) was worshiped by the ancient Cuyunon people, an ethnic group that predominantly lives in the Cuyo Archipelago and nearby areas such as northern Palawan and Antique. As the most powerful of the supernatural Cuyonon beings, she is honored in a celebrated feast, periodically held atop of Mount Caimana in Cuyo Island. When most of the natives were converted to Christianity during the Spanish Era, about 2/3 of the converted Cuyunon were still celebrating her feast, angering the Spanish imperialists. The situation led the Spanish authorities to intensify their evangelization and governance efforts, which included the forced Roman Catholic conversion of the Cuyonon people, burning of houses of non-Catholic Cuyonons, and massive slavery. Later, the Spanish called Diwata ng Kagubatan as Virgen Del Monte, in another bid to rebrand the deity as 'Catholic'.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cuyunon Island by Lydia Mary De Leon". Retrieved 2010-04-03.