Filipinos are pacific islanders so it’s not surprising to know that there are many ethnic groups in the Philippines that shape the culture and traditions of the country.

From the largest group Tagalog to the minority groups, there’s a lot to learn and be amazed about the different indigenous peoples of the Philippines.

ETHNIC GROUPS IN LUZONETHNIC GROUPS IN VISAYASETHNIC GROUPS IN MINDANAO
TagalogCebuanoBadjao
IlokanoWarayYakan
KapampanganIlonggoB’laan
BikolanoAtiMaranao
AetaSuludnonT’boli
IgorotTausug
IvatanBagobo
Mangyan

What’s inside this blog?

Read the blog to find out the different ethnic groups in the Philippines with description and see some pictures of different ethnic groups in the Philippines.

Ethnic Groups in Luzon

1. Tagalog

tagalog pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Photo credits to John Tewell via Flickr

As one of the major ethnic groups in the Philippines, the Tagalogs are believed to be the largest ethnic group in the Philippines. Most of these locals are living in the National Capital Region (NCR), Region 4A (CALABARZON), and Region 4B (MIMAROPA), and have strong political influence in the country.

Tagalog is the mother tongue of the Filipinos, and it was chosen as the basis of the national language (Filipino) and is taught in all schools.

2. Ilocano

horse carriage at calle crisologo in vigan

The Ilocano people are believed to be the third largest ethnolinguistic group in the Philippines. They mostly reside within the Ilocos Region and some parts of Cagayan Valley region. They are known for being prudent and hard working. This group ethnic in the Philippines continuously practices their old traditions to preserve their culture.

3. Kapampangan

mt. arayat pampanga tourist spot

Kapampangan is a Luzon ethnic group that lives mostly in Pampanga and some parts of Central Luzon. Dubbed as the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines,” Kapampangan takes pride in their sumptuous recipes and gives importance to strong ties of family.

4. Bicolano

mayon volcano

Bicolano people are those who are living in the Bicol Region. This Filipino ethnicity group is known for being religious and calm. They are also known for their distinct way of cooking where coconut milk is a must on Bicolano dishes. 

5. Aeta

aeta pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Photo credits to Deondre Ng via Flickr

Also called Ita, the Aeta Filipino ethnicity is known to be one of the oldest ethnic in the Philippines. Aetas live in the mountainous province of Zambales. Their way of living is simple and very traditional especially when it comes to hunting for food. 

6. Igorot

cebuano pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Photo credits to Cielo Fernando via The Girl Behind the Pen

The Igorots are found in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). This ethnic group in Cordillera made some of the Philippine destinations popular such as the Banaue Rice Terraces which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They have strong beliefs and ethnic tradition in the Philippines, and highly respect their anito.

7. Ivatan

ivatan batanes pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Photo credits to Cielo Fernando via The Girl Behind the Pen

One of the most popular ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines are the Ivatans because of their notable traits such as hard working and honesty. Most tourists who explore the Philippines consider the Ivatans as the kindest locals. This ethnic in the Philippines is found in Batanes and their way of living is very simple.

8. Mangyan

mangyan pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Of all the different ethnic groups in the Philippines, Mangyans are the ones found in Mindoro provinces which are divided into eight groups. To this day, Mangyan is still practicing their old traditions and culture in the hopes of preserving them. One of their traditions is writing ambahan (a form of poem) and they carve it in bamboo. 


Ethnic Groups in Visayas

9. Cebuano

cebuano pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Cebuanos are one of the major ethnic groups in the Philippines. Most of these people live in Cebu and some parts of Mindanao. They are known for being creative, soft-spoken, and calm. 

10. Waray

Waray people are an ethnic in Philippines that are found in Samar and Leyte. They are known for being brave and strong, yet very loving especially when it comes to their family.

11. Ilonggo

ilonggo pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

The most notable ethnic group in the Philippines with description would have to be the Ilonggo people because when you hear Ilonggo, the best word that describes them is tender. They are sweet and soft-spoken. Ilonggos live in  Iloilo, Panay, Guimaras, and Negros.

12. Ati

ati pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Ati is also one of the ethnic tribes in the Philippines that are very notable. This shouldn’t be confused with the Aetas. While they look similar, they speak different languages. But like the Aetas, hunting is a huge part of their way of living. They are mostly found in Aklan, Capiz, Antique, and Iloilo. 

13. Suludnon

The Suldnon Filipino ethnicity is popular for their cultural dance Binanog where they mimic the movements of the eagle while using the agung. This example of ethnic group in the Philippines lives in Capiz-Lambunao.


Ethnic Groups in Mindanao

14. Badjao

badjao pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Photo credits to NCCA Official via Flickr

The Badjao tribe in the Philippines can be found in Zamboanga and Sulu where they live above water that is why they are called Sea Nomads or Sea Gypsies. The people of this ethnolinguistic group in Mindanao are also good swimmers so their major source of income comes from the sea.

15. Yakan

yakan pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Photo credits to Eugene via Flickr

There are many different races in the Philippines and each of them has their own distinct features. Yakan is an ethnic group in the Philippines living in Basilan. Weaving is a huge part of their culture.

16. B’laan

B’laan pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The B’laan group lives in South Cotabato and Davao del Sur. They are famous for making clothes made of abaca embellished with ornaments, bass and beads.

17. Maranao

People of the lake

Maranao is derived from the phrase “lawa ng Lanao del Sur at Lanao del Norte” which means lake of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte. This Filipino ethnicity made the traditional clothing malong popular across the country.

18. T’boli

T’boli pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

T’Boli is one of the ethnolinguistic groups in Mindanao that are very popular. They are known for their beautiful and colorful traditional clothing called T’Nalak. This Filipino ethnic group lives in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

19. Tausug

The Tausug people are one of the 5 ethnic groups in the Philippines that are notable. Known as the People of the Current, Tausugs live above the sea of Sulu with their floating houses.

20. Bagobo

Bagobo pangkat etniko sa pilipinas

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

It is believed that the Bagobos are the first to encounter Spanish colonizers. However, the Spanish failed to colonize them. The Bagobos mostly live in Davao.


Ethnic Minorities in the Philippines

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the different ethnic groups in the Philippines comprising of minorities are: Cebuano (20.16 million), Tagalog (13.93 million), Ilocano (9.53 million), Hiligaynon (8.06 million), Central Bicolano (3.5 million), Waray (3.4 million), Kapampangan (2.6 million), Albay Bicolano (2.1 million), Pangasinan (1.6 million), Malay (1.2 million), Maranao (1.09 million), Maguindanao (1.07 million), Tausug (1.02 million), Min Nan Chinese (922,000), Masbateño (764,000). (Census 2000).


Frequently Asked Questions About Ethnic Group in the Philippines

Q: What is an ethnic group?
A: These are a group of people who set themselves apart and/or set apart by others with whom they interact or co-exist on the basis of their perceptions of cultural differentiation and/or common descent. 

Q: How many ethnic groups in the Philippines are there?
A: The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) identifies 110 idigenous groups or ethnic in the Philippines.

Q: What are the minority groups in the Philippines?
A: There are three distinct minority groups in the Philippines: the ethnic Chinese, the Muslim Filipinos, and other cultural minorities. The relations between them and the Christian majority have undergone various degrees of strain. 

Q: What are the ethnic groups in Luzon?
A: From the Tagalogs to the Kalinga ethnic group, here are the different ethnic groups in the Philippines found in Luzon.

  1. Tagalog
  2. Ilokano
  3. Kapampangan
  4. Bikolano
  5. Aeta
  6. Igorot
  7. Ivatan
  8. Mangyan

Q: What are the ethnic groups in Visayas?
A: The 5 ethnic groups in the Philippines found in Visayas are:

  1. Cebuano
  2. Waray
  3. Ilonggo
  4. Ati
  5. Suludnon

Q: What are the ethnic groups in Mindanao?
A: Here’s a list of ethnic groups in the Philippines found in Mindanao.

  1. Badjao
  2. Yakan
  3. B’laan
  4. Maranao
  5. T’boli
  6. Tausug
  7. Bagobo

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