Ethnic Groups of Palawan

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Demographics of the Philippines

        Palawan tribes

  South Asians



Main article: Batak (Philippines)

The Batak is a group of indigenous Filipino people that resides in the northeast portion of Palawan.


The Molbog, which is also referred to as Molebugan or Molebuganon are concentrated in Island of Balabac near Palawan. Some of their people are also found in other nearby islands and as far north as Panakan. The tribe's name came from the word Malubog which means "murky or turbid water".

The Molbogs probably migrated from North Borneo. They might be related to the Orang Tidung pr Tirum, an Islamized indigenous group found in the northeastcoast of Sabah since they have similar dialect and socio-cultural practices. However, some Sama and Tausug words are incorporated in the Molbog dialect. There are also differences in their socio-cultural life that separates them from the Orang Tidung.

The Molbog's livelihood is composed of farming and fishing. They also barter with the nearby Sulu Bangsamoro and Sabah.

In the past, the Molbog and the Palawanon Muslims were under the Sulu Sultanate and might be the cause for their conversion to Islam. Inter-marriages between the Tausug and the Molbog has increased the rate of Islamization of the Molbog people. Offspring born of these inter-marriages are called kolibugan which means "half-breed".<ref> Ethnic Profile:Molbog</ref>


The Palawanons (also known as Palawan or Pinalawan) are recently being converted to Islam. Half of their estimated number are animists. They are found in the southern interior of Palawan like the Apu Rauan on the west coast and south of Abu-abu on the east coast. Others are found with other Bangsamoro groups in the Balabac-Bugsuk island group.

The Palawanons resemble the Tagbanuas are was of the same people in the past.

The Palawanons closely resemble the Tagbanua (literally "people of the village") and in the past they were doubtless the same people. Some Tausug people in Palawan call them Traan or "people in scattered places".

Like the Yakans of Basilan, they live in houses that are within sight of each other. Scattered among them are plots of farmland that is mainly used to cultivate upland rice. <ref> Ethnic Profile: Palawanon</ref>


Main article: Tagbanwa

The Tagbanwas are found in the western and eastern coastal areas of central Palawan. Their name means "people of the world". They are concentrated in the municipalities of Aborlan, Quezon and the City of Puerto Princesa.

Two other ethinics groups called "Tagbanwa" (i.e. the Central Tagbanwa and the Calamian Tagbanwa) are from a different family of languages and should not be confused the the Tagbanwas discussed here. These are found Coron Island, Northern Palawan, Busuanga Island and the Baras coast. The Central Tagbanwa language is dying out as the younger generations are learning Cuyonon and Tagalog.

The Tagbanwas speak the Tagbanwa language and has several sub-dialects. They are able to comprehend Tagalog, and, depending on their proximity to neighboring groups, Batak, Cuyonen and Calamian languages.

They usually dress like the non-tribal lowlanders. However, elder men prefer to wear G-string while tilling or fishing.

Houses are built from available forest materials. Bamboo and wood are used for the house's frame anahaw leaves are used to create walls and the roof and bamboo slats are used as flooring.

Their basic social unit is the nuclear family which is composed of a married couple and their children.


The Taaw't Batos' (also called Ken-uy) name means "people of the rock". They are not actually a separate language or ethnic group, but rather a small community of traditional S.W. Palawanos who happen to reside in the crater of an extinct volcano during certain seasons of the year, in houses built on raised floors inside caves though others have set their homes on the open slopes. They are found in the Singnapan Basin, a valley bounded by Mt. Matalingajan on the east and the coast on the west. North of them is the municipality of Quezon and to the South are the still unexplored regions of Palawan. As of 1987, their population was about 198.

Note that the common-seen spelling "Tau't Bato" or "Tau't Batu" is a misspelling based on the Tagalog word for "human" (tao). The Palawano word is "taaw."

The men of the tribe wear G-strings while the women cover their lower bodies with bark or cloth that is made into a skirt. The upper half is left exposed although some now wear blouses that are bought from the market.

The people practice agriculture with cassava as the major source of carbohydrates. They also plant sweet potatoes, sugarcane, malunggay (Moringa oleifera), garlic, pepper, string beans, squash, tomatoes and pineapples. Others practice fishing, hunting and industrial arts.

Their social organizations are based on family (kin ties), band (type of substinence activity) and settlement (geographic location).

Musical Heritage of the Ethnic Palawan groups

Main articles: Agung and Music of the Philippines

Most of the Ethnic Palawan groups have a musical heritage consisting of various types of agung ensembles - ensembles composed of large hanging, suspended or held, bossed/knobbed gongs which act as drone without any accompanying melodic instrument. <ref name=Philip>Mercurio, Philip Dominguez (2006). Traditional Music of the Southern Philippines (html). PnoyAndTheCity: A center for Kulintang - A home for Pasikings. Retrieved on November 21, 2006.</ref>



Original Source

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