Ethnic groups in the Philippines
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Ethnic groups in the Philippines identify themselves based on one or several factors like ancestry, language, religion or a shared history. The large majority of the population is composed of lowland groups whose languages are Austronesian, and who had converted to Christianity from animism or Islam in the three centuries of Spanish colonial rule. From north to south, the most numerous groups are the Ilocanos, the Pangasinenses, the Kapampangans, the Tagalogs, the Bicolanos and the Bisaya. These groups are generally considered to be part of the Malay Race.<ref> The term "Malay," however is misleading (see here), and the delineation based on "race" is considered by many to have no scientific basis.</ref>
In Mindanao, there are several ethnic groups of similar ancestry, but whose religion is Islam, and whose culture is not as "westernized" as that of the Christian Filipinos. They are collectively called Muslim Filipinos or Moros. There are also various tribal groups throughout the Philippine archipelago who are generally neither Muslim nor Christian, and are least influenced by Islamic or western cultures. There is also a minority who have Chinese or Spanish ancestry. Most of them are mestizos and are found in major cities as well as in areas having considerable agricultural importance during the colonial period.
The Philippines is one of the most diverse countries in terms of ethnicity.<ref>The Philippines ranks 8th among 240 countries in terms of diversity. YEOH Kok Kheng, Towards an Index of Ethnic Fractionalization, Table 1.</ref>
 Ethnic identity
Ethnic identity in the Philippines, like many other places, is fluid, informal and depends greatly on context. The most common identifier is language. For instance, a Kapampangan may identify himself as such by the fact that his mother tongue is the Kapampangan language. Some also identify themselves based on ancestry. For example, a woman who has Bicolano ancestry but has spent most of her life in Manila may identify herself as Bicolano, even if she doesn’t speak any of the Bicol languages. Others are lumped together to a certain grouping based on some shared characteristics. Tribal groups are commonly grouped together in spite of having very different customs and languages, and having had very little interaction with each other. Muslim Filipinos are similarly diverse and independent from each other, and they are many times grouped together due to a shared history, culture and religion. Similarly, lowland Christian Filipinos are many times lumped together due to their similar culture, despite having different languages or different ancestries.
Unlike China or the United States, there are no official ethnicities or “nations” in the Philippines, and migration and intermarriages between people of different ethnicities have been common throughout the past centuries. This has made ethnic identities of Filipinos greatly dependent on context, aside from being fluid. For instance, a person who has Ilocano ancestry but who has spent his whole life in Davao may be identified as an Ilocano when he is in Davao and a Davaoeño when he is in Manila. And a Cebuano of Chinese ancestry may identify himself either as a Chinese Filipino due to his ancestry; or as a Bisaya because his primary language is Cebuano, a Visayan language; or Cebuano, based on his mother tongue and the land of his birth. People who identify themselves with multiple ethnicities is not uncommon, particularly in major cities and in areas where a lot of migration has taken place, like Manila, Cebu and many parts of Mindanao. The term mestizo (of mixed-ancestry) is used most commonly to those with part-Caucasian ancestry, and occasionally to those with part-Chinese ancestry.
 Population history
There were three main migratory waves, in the populating of what today is known as the Philippine Archipelago. The first to arrive were the Negritos, the ancestors of today's Aeta people of the Philippines. They are considered to be the aborigines of the Malay Archipelago, of which the Philippines is a part of. They are believed to be related to the Orang Asli people of Malaysia. They are largely independent and live separately of the rest of the Filipinos who are descendants of later arriving peoples. Today they number under 30,000.
The second to arrive were the Senoi. Descendants of these were largely assimilated into the Negritos population through considerable miscegenation. Their legacy to today's mainstream Filipino stock is considered to be extremely small.
The third and most numerically important migrational wave occurred during 4000 - 2000 BCE . It is from this wave that most of the people today termed "ethnic Filipinos" are descended from. This wave was composed of speakers of Austronesian languages. They had come from the Yunnan Plateau of China travelling towards the Philippine archipelago via Taiwan. Contrary to speculation, this migration did not originate from Malaysia, it was from here that they moved southwards to be then called Malays. The first major settlement of these people in the Philippines was made by the Nesiot people (called 'Indonesian' or 'Indones' in textbooks) who pushed the Negritos (including the Senoi) into the interior forests and mountains. From these Nesiot came the Igorot (Igorot) people of northern Luzon, as well as the hill tribes of Mindanao island (Lumad). The Nesiots are also the ancestors of the Bataks of Sumatra and the Dyaks of Borneo.
Around 900 CE, extensive trade had brought a people called Orang Dampuan from Champa (in present-day Cambodia) to the Sulu Archipelago where they have intermarried with the Buranuns, the original natives of Sulu. Following these, immigrants from Banjarmasin, called Orang Bandjar (now in Kalimantan, Indonesia) also arrived and intermarried with established communities of Sulu, bringing with them their heavily Indianized culture.
Since the 9th century, the Chinese have conducted trade with the people of Luzon, Mindoro, Palawan, and Mindanao. Many Chinese settled in the country and intermarried with the local population. From the mixture of the long established peoples and the newer Chinese immigrants came the present-day mainstream Filipinos.
Modern migrations have also enriched the makeup of the Philippines. From the 16th century up to the late 19th century, there was minor settlement of colonial administrators from Mexico and Spain. Some intermarried with locals, giving rise to the small mestizo communities.
 Ethnic groups
Akin to the Ibanags and Ivatans, the Ilocanos are the inhabitants of the lowlands and coastal areas of northern Luzon. Throughout the centuries of the Spanish colonial era up to the present, the Ilocano were noted for their tendency to migrate.<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Ilocano, p. 4</ref> Today, there is Ilocano presence in central Luzon, Manila, and some towns in the Visayas and Mindanao. <ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Ilocano, p. 1</ref> Many Filipino-Americans are of Ilocano descent. In Hawaii, they make up 85% of the Filipino-American population.<ref>http://www.hawaii.edu/cps//fil-community.html</ref>
There are more than 8 million speakers of the Ilocano language<ref>http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=ilo</ref>, making it the third most widely spoken language in the Philippines. Most Ilocanos are Catholics; however, Ilocanos comprise the largest membership within the Philippine Independent Church.
Pangasinenses are the eighth largest Filipino ethnic group. They originate from the northwestern seaboard of Luzon. Anthropologically speaking, the Pangasinenses are descended from the mountain dwellers of the Cordilleras and are closely akin to the Cordilleranos.
The Pangasinenses are one of the first peoples in the Philippines to have experienced Chinese influence through regular trade as well as the permanent settling of the Chinese, especially in the towns bordering Lingayen Gulf. 
The Kapampangan or Pampangan people originate from the central plains of Luzon, starting from Bataan up to Nueva Ecija. The Kapampangan language is spoken by around two million people, and has been shown to be related to some Indonesian dialects.<ref>http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=pam</ref> Most Kapampangans are Catholics.
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.<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Kapampangan, p. 3</ref> Kapampangans, along with the Tagalogs, played a major role in the Philippine Revolution.<ref>Nick Joaquin, Culture and History: Occasional Notes on the Process of Philippine Becoming (Pasig: Anvil Publishing, 2004), 236.</ref>
Tagalog territory stretches from the central plains of Luzon to the islands of Mindoro and Marinduque.<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Tagalog, p. 2</ref> The Tagalogs were initially animists. From the 14th to the 16th century, Islam had made inroads among the Tagalog ruling class.<ref>see Joaquin, Nick: Manila, my Manila</ref> The Tagalogs were Christianized, as were most ethnic groups in the Philippines, during the Spanish colonial era between the 16th and 19th century.
The Tagalogs are the first settlers of Manila. In the late 16th century, Spain chose Manila as the capital of its Philippine colony.<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Tagalog, p. 3</ref> From then onwards, it has been the political and economic center of the Philippines. Manila and the surrounding Tagalog areas played a leading role in the Philippine Revolution and the EDSA revolution. Throughout the centuries, there have been massive migrations by other ethnic groups to Manila, and many of them have intermarried with the Tagalog population.<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Tagalog, p. 1</ref>
The Tagalog language was chosen as the basis for a national language in 1937. Today, a standardized version of Tagalog, named Filipino, is taught nationwide, and is the language of national television, cinema and popular music.<ref>Rubrico, Jessie Grace (1998): The Metamorphosis of Filipino as National Language</ref> There are more than 15 million native speakers of Tagalog.<ref>http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=tgl</ref> However, around 70% of Filipinos can speak the national language.<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Tagalog, p. 1</ref>
The Bicolanos originate from the southeastern tip of Luzon: Bicolandia or the Bicol region. There are several Bicolano languages, of which there is a total of 3.5 million speakers.<ref>http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=bcl</ref>
Bicol played a major role in shipbuilding for the Manila-Acapulco trade.<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Bicolano, p. 3</ref> However, possibly due to its being located in the typhoon belt,<ref>"Located in the typhoon belt which subjects the region to about 12 storms yearly, Bicol has had annual floods inundating 42,000 hectares of prime land for one month with an estimated damage of 20 million pesos." CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Bicolano, p. 8</ref> Bicol remains one of the country’s most economically depressed areas, with the lowest income recorded among the regions,<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Bicolano, p. 8</ref> despite its abundant mineral reserves, and its lumber, abaca and tourism industries.<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Bicolano, p. 7</ref>
The most popular religious icon of Bicol is the Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia, Patroness of Bicol. This image of the Blessed Virgin Mary is endearingly addressed as “ina” (mother).<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Bicolano, p. 7</ref>
The Bisaya or Visayan people is a multilingual ethnic group located in the Visayas and a large part of Mindanao. Visayan languages with the most number of native speakers are Cebuano, with 20 million;<ref>http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=ceb</ref> Ilonggo (or Hiligaynon), with 7 million;<ref>http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=hil</ref> and Waray-Waray, with 2.5 million.<ref>http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=war</ref> There are some ethnolinguistic groups however that have languages which are classified as Visayan but do not refer to themselves as Bisaya. For instance, the Muslim ethnolinguistic group Tausug only use Bisaya to refer to those who are Christian. Meanwhile, there are people who identify as Bisaya (primarily those from Metro Manila and the United States) but do not speak Visayan languages.
The Bisaya were initially animists who were known for being traders and raiders.<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Cebuano, p. 1</ref> Magellan’s landing in the Visayas in 1521 marks the start of Christianization of the Bisaya and the rest of the Philippines. This event is celebrated by the feast of the Sto. Niño, the most popular religious icon of the Visayas.
Major Visayan cities like Cebu , Bacolod and Iloilo played major political, economic and cultural roles during the Spanish colonial era.<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Cebuano, p. 3</ref> Visayans were also involved in the Philippine Revolution,<ref>CCP Encyclopedia or Philippine Art, Peoples of the Philippines, Cebuano, p. 4</ref> and in the modern Philippine Republic; so far, there has been three Presidents from the Visayas.
Aside from the three largest groups, namely Hiligaynon, Cebuano, and Waray, who speak Visayan languages, there are also the Romblomanon, Masbatenyo, Karay-a, Aklanon, and Cuyonon, to name a few others.
Moros comprise of various ethnolinguistic groups in southern and western Mindanao who have a similar ancestry to other lowland Filipinos, but whose religion is Islam. The largest of these are the Tausug, the Maguindanao, the Maranao, the Samal, and the Yakan. These ethnolinguistic groups are very diverse in terms of language and culture, and have been politically independent from each other up until recently.<ref>Nick Joaquin, Culture and History: Occasional Notes on the Process of Philippine Becoming (Pasig: Anvil Publishing, 2004), 226.</ref> Collectively, they are also called Moros. The word Moro in English means 'moor'. Hence, it has been used by other ethnic groups as a pejorative term. However, some Muslims have used the word moro and have taken pride in it, that they have applied the term Bangsamoro, meaning 'Moro nation', to their homeland. Muslim Filipinos have an independent justice and education system centrally based in Cotabato City. All in all, they comprise 5% of Filipinos.<ref>http://countrystudies.us/philippines/38.htm</ref>
 Smaller groups
There are numerous other lowland Christian Filipino ethnolinguistic groups, aside from the six mentioned above.
Also not mentioned above are the various groups who speak Chavacano languages--various patois of the Castilian Spanish. Most Chavacanos are found in the Zamboanga peninsula, a former stronghold of the Philippine Spanish colony in northwestern Mindanao. A Chavacano community is also present in Cavite (Ternate Chavacano) as well as various places where Chavacanos have migrated to, like Cotabato, Davao and formerly Manila.
There are 100 or so different sea-based or highland-based tribal groups in the Philippines. Among Filipinos, they are ones least influenced by western or Islamic cultures. Some of the people in this category include the Cordillerano (Igorot), who live in the highlands of Luzon; the Mangyan of Mindoro; the scattered Negritos in Luzon and the Visayas; the tribes of Palawan; the Lumad of Mindanao (including the Manobo, Tasaday, Mamanwa, Mandaya, and Kalagan); and the Bajau of the Sulu Archipelago. While some tribal groups living in Luzon have been Americanized and Westernized--an example of which is the predominance of Protestantism in Cordillera Administrative Region--the tribal groups living in Mindoro and Palawan are still generally animistic, while many of those in Mindanao practice folk Islam.
There has been Chinese presence in the Philippines since the 9th century;<ref>Teodoro A. Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People (Quezon City: Garotech Publishing, 1990), p. 24</ref> although large scale migrations of Chinese to the Philippines only started during the Spanish colonial era, when the world market was opened to the Philippines.<ref>Nick Joaquin, Culture and History: Occasional Notes on the Process of Philippine Becoming (Pasig: Anvil Publishing, 2004), 42.</ref>
Most Filipino Chinese are located in centers of commerce. They have been instrumental in the growth of small and medium-sized businesses and large corporations in the past centuries up to the present. Not surprisingly, the old center of trade and industry in Manila is Binondo, the biggest China Town in the Philippines. Many Filipinos with Chinese ancestry played major roles in the Philippine Revolution.<ref>Benedict Anderson, ‘Cacique Democracy in the Philippines: Origins and Dreams’, New Left Review, 169 (May-June 1988)</ref>
The Philippines has one of the most assimilated Chinese community in Asia. A famous Filipino politician with Cebuano-Chinese ancestry even declared, with some exaggeration, that there is no family in Cebu City without a trace of Chinese blood.<ref>Gavin Sanson Bagares, 'Why Cebu City is a Big Chinatown', Philippine Daily Inquirer, A16 (January 28, 2006)</ref> It is estimated that among Filipinos, 10% have some Chinese ancestry and 1.5% are “full-blooded” Chinese. <ref>http://www.philonline.com.ph/~kaisa/kaisa_fact.html</ref> Furthermore, a genetic study claims that 50% of the Filipino “racial mix” is of Chinese origin.<ref>Capelli et al, A Predominantly Indigenous Paternal Heritage for the Austronesian- Speaking Peoples of Insular Southeast Asia and Oceania, Table 1</ref>.
The vast majority of the Filipino Chinese have their ancestral roots in either Fujian province or Guangdong province, in which they are members of the Min (Fukienese) and Yueh (Cantonese) ethnic groups.
Spanish presence in the Philippine has been around since the early 16th century (1521) and with the Spanish colonial era in the country (1565-1898), and was limited almost entirely to government administrators, military men and religious missionaries. Many of these came from Mexico, as the Philippines was, for many years, governed as a province attached to it. Later in the colonial era, Spanish entrepreneurs, most of whom where Basques, also arrived. There has been a significant Hispanic influence on Philippine religion and culture;<ref>See John Leddy Phelan's "The Hispanization of the Philippines"</ref> 85% of Filipinos are Catholics, and Filipino languages contain thousands of Spanish loanwords. Since Spanish was only taught to a small minority, the ilustrados, and migrations of Spanish speakers was small compared to that of Latin America, Spanish language speakers in the Philippines never went beyond 5% of the population.<ref>Benedict Anderson, ‘Cacique Democracy in the Philippines: Origins and Dreams’, New Left Review, 169 (May-June 1988)</ref>
According to a genetic study which included 28 genotyped individuals from the Philippines, "Some
European introgression was also evident in Southeast
Asia (2.3%–7.8%) and the Philippines (3.6%)."<ref>Capelli et al, A Predominantly Indigenous Paternal Heritage for the Austronesian-
Speaking Peoples of Insular Southeast Asia and Oceania, Table 1</ref> A large part of this European introgression is very likely of Spanish origin. Filipinos with a mix of Spanish ancestry, Spanish mestizos, are particularly visible in show business, and some leaders in Philippine business and comerce are of Spanish descent.<ref>e.g., the Zobel de Ayalas of Manila and the Aboitizes of Cebu</ref> Spanish and Spanish-speaking families are mostly found in areas that had agricultural importance during the Spanish colonial era, like Bacolod and Iloilo, and old centers of commerce, like Cebu and Manila.
American presence in the Philippines is contemporaneous and relatively high, owing to the half a century of colonization of the Philippines by the United States. The Philippines has the second largest population of American citizens outside of the United States, many of whom have been naturalized. Many Filipinos of U.S. origin predominate in religious and educational sectors, as well as in several multinational businesses. There are 110,000 Americans in Manila alone, excluding temporary embassy officials, military staff, and temporary residents. The most important contribution of the United States to the Philippines include secular democracy, English as a second language, and the public school system. However, the U.S. nationals are also blamed for making the Philippines economically dependent to the United States, the effects of which are still felt by Filipinos of today.<ref>Nick Joaquin, Culture and History: Occasional Notes on the Process of Philippine Becoming (Pasig: Anvil Publishing, 2004), 318.</ref>
Another significant minority in the Philippines are the South Asians, who are for the most part, Sindhis, Punjabis, or Marathis. Most of them are businessmen and are permanent residents of the country. Some people of Cainta town in Rizal province have some South Asian ancestry due to the British occupation of Manila during the Seven Years' War.
East Asians other than Chinese also form one of the most vibrant ethnic groups in the country. The Koreans, who number around 22,000, are for the most part, temporary students and workers who train in the country. Other East Asian groups include the Japanese, as well as the Okinawans, who for the most part, are businessmen who have intermarried with the Filipino women.
The most notable non-Spanish European nationality groups in the Philippines are the British, Belgians, Dutch, and the Italians. Others include Germans, Polish, French, as well as some Scandinavians. Many of the European expats in the Philippines have taken locals as their spouses and have settled down with families; some had migrated to the Philippines for that specific purpose.
There is also the presence of Southeast Asians in the country. Indonesian, Malaysians, as well as Thais and Vietnamese form the bulk of the Southeast Asian population in the Philippines. Most are Muslims, and some are Christians, Animists, or Buddhists. Most Southeast Asians in the Philippines are businessmen.
| The Filipino People | Ethnic Groups in the Philippines
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|Bicolano | Bisaya | Chinese | Ilocano | Kapampangan | Moro | Pangasinan | Spanish | Tagalog | Tribes | Minority groups | Overseas Filipinos|