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Q: Ethnology of the Phillippines ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Ethnology of the Phillippines
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: bewildered-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 17 Oct 2003 09:11 PDT
Expires: 16 Nov 2003 08:11 PST
Question ID: 267237
My daughter asked me what different races filipino people were made of
(me being filipino).  I thought I could just look it up and have a
real quick answer-this is definitely not the case.  At this point, she
seems content to live with the answer that I am derived from Malay,
but now it's bugging me.  What is the make-up of a filipino?
Subject: Re: Ethnology of the Phillippines
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 17 Oct 2003 10:54 PDT
Hello Bewildered,

Here are the results of my research for the Ethnology of the

From the CIA Factbook:

People: Ethnic groups  
Christian Malay 91.5% 
Muslim Malay 4% 
Chinese 1.5% 
Other 3%  

Roman Catholic 83%
Protestant 9%
Muslim 5%
Other 3%  

Two official languages - Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English;
eight major dialects - Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocan, Hiligaynon or
Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense

CIA Factbook


The NationMaster ( is an excellent
resource for statistics and country profiles.

“Over 90% of the people of the Philippines are ethnically Malay,
descendants of immigrants from the Indonesian archipelago, and the
most significant ethnic minority group is the Chinese, who have played
an important role in commerce since the 9th century. Small forest
tribes live in the more remote areas of Mindanao.”

NationMaster: Encyclopedia


Demographics of the Philippines

“The majority of Philippine people are descendants of Indonesians and
Malays who migrated to the islands long before the Christian era. The
most significant ethnic minority group is the Chinese, who have played
an important role in commerce since the ninth century, when they first
came to the islands to trade. As a result of intermarriage, many
Filipinos have some Chinese and Spanish ancestry. Americans and
Spaniards constitute the next largest alien minorities in the

“About 90% of the people are Christian; most were converted and
Westernized to varying degrees during nearly 400 years of Spanish and
American rule. The major non-Hispanicized groups are the Muslim
population, concentrated in the Sulu Archipelago and in central and
western Mindanao, and the mountain groups of northern Luzon. Small
forest tribes live in the more remote areas of Mindanao.”

“About 87 native languages and dialects are spoken, all belonging to
the Malay-Polynesian linguistic family.”

NationMaster: Encyclopedia


The Malay People:

The Malays are the dominant race which lives in Malaysia, Indonesia,
Brunei and the Philippines which, together with Singapore, make up
what is called the Malay Archipelago. The Malays are classified as a
member of the Mongoloid race of man together with the Chinese,
Mongols, Thais, Vietnamese and Burmans.

NationMaster: Encyclopedia


The ancestors of the Philippine people, who were of Malay stock, came
from the southeastern Asian mainland as well as from what is now

“From the 10th century, contacts with China resulted in a group of
mixed Filipino-Chinese descent, who account for a minority of the
population. A small percentage of Chinese nationals also live in the
country. Spanish-Filipinos and Filipino-Americans may be distinguished
by their fairer complexion, taller stature, and aquiline nose
structure. The relatively small numbers of emigrants from the Indian
subcontinent added to the population's racial mixture. There are small
numbers of resident U.S. nationals (excluding military personnel) and
Spaniards. The aboriginal inhabitants of the islands were the
Negritos, or Pygmies, also called Aetas or Balugas; they now
constitute only a small percentage of the total population.”


The population of the Philippines includes numerous cultural and
linguistic groups.

“Filipinos are principally a blend of Malay, Chinese, Spanish,
Negrito, and American stock.”

“Social cleavages are based mainly on religious (Muslims versus
lowland Christians), sociocultural (upland tribes versus lowlanders),
and urban-rural differences rather than ethnic or racial ones. “

“The overwhelming majority of Filipinos are descendants of
Malayo-Polynesian peoples who migrated from the Southeast Asian
mainland and Indonesia. Christian Malays make up 91.5 percent of the
population, and Muslim Moros comprise the remaining 4.5 percent of
ethnic Malayans. Those of Chinese descent make up one-third of the
non-Malayan minority, and about 20,000 aboriginal Negritos live in the
remote interior of the country.”


Culture Sensitivity Manual: Filipino

“There has been a great deal of migration throughout the Philippines.
Beginning with traders from Asia, colonization by Spain in 1565, its
cession to the United States in 1898, and its independence in 1946,
the Philippines has been affected by some of the world’s most
influential cultures.”

There is a unique mixture of ethnicity among the Filipino people. 

“Most share Malay and Mongoloid racial attributes all the while mixed
with Chinese, Indian, Spanish, and American elements. Some Filipinos
use the Spanish word mestizo to describe people of “mixed blood.”
Upland hill tribes, known as Negrito and Igorot, and the Muslims in
the south, known as Moros, are the few groups of Filipinos that are
less integrated into Filipino culture than most. Small communities of
approximately 35,000 pygmies, who live throughout Southeast Asia and
Oceania, including the Aeta of the Philippines, are referred to as
Negrito, a Spanish word for “little Negro.” These communities continue
to live a traditional hunting and gathering existence. Igorot is a
Tagalog word meaning, “mountaineer”; it is a term applied to the
various people living in the mountains of northern Luzon in the
Philippines. Such Filipino groups referred to as Igorot include the
Bontok, Ibaloi (Nabaloi), Ifugao, Isneg (Apa yao), Kalinga, and
Tinggian. All of these people are ethnically Filipino.”

Alexian Brothers Health System


“Filipinos are descendants of Malay explorers but the bloodline has
been infused with Chinese, Arab, Indian, Spanish and American
lineages. This fusion of cultures has given rise to no less than 111
distinct cultural and linguistic groups, each with its basic
Malayo-Polynesian roots but with varying degrees of other foreign
The Philippines


Philippines: People and Society

“Filipinos are primarily descended from Malayan peoples who migrated
to the islands thousands of years ago. During the past several
centuries, a significant number of people have migrated from China.
Some people of Spanish descent settled in the Philippines during the
Spanish colonial period (1565-1898). The term Filipino originally
described a person of Spanish descent born in the Philippines. In the
19th century it began to refer to the Christianized Malays who
constituted the majority of the population. Although the term remains
closely associated with this group, it also can describe any citizen
of the Philippines.”

Immaculate Mediatrix On-line


The Philippine People

“Majority of the Filipinos are descendants of the Malays. Most of them
can trace their lineage from a mixture of Chinese, American, Spanish,
and Arab blood. About 10% of Filipinos, also known as tribal Filipinos
retain their traditional culture. There are some 60 ethnological
groups, ranging from the Badjao of the Sulu archipelago, who are sea
gypsies, to the head-hunting Kalinga in the north of Bontoc.”



The first settlers on the islands and the ancestors of the Filipinos
came by land bridges from mainland Asia during the Ice Age.


“Filipinos are descendants of Malay explorers but the bloodline has
been infused with Chinese, Arab, Indian, Spanish, and American
lineages. This fusion of cultures has given rise to no less than 111
distinct cultural and linguistic groups, each with its basic
Malayo-Polynesian roots but with varying degrees of other foreign


“Trade relations were set and developed as early as the 9th century
when Arab traders took a northerly route from Borneo and through the
islands to reach China. Consequently, the archipelago became one of
the primary trading ports. Chinese, Arab and Indian traders came to
trade their goods with the local people.”


“It was the search for spices that led the Spaniards to the islands.
Spurred by the competition to win the spice race against Portugal,
Spain commissioned a Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan, to find
an eastern route to the Moluccas by sailing west. He arrived in the
archipelago on March 17, 1521 and introduced the Catholic faith to the
rajahs (tribal leaders) and the people.”

“In 1543, the Spaniards named the archipelago Felipinas in honour of
the Crown Prince of Spain, Philip II, successor to Charles V.”


Ethnic make-up:

“Filipinos are of Malayan descent with Chinese and Spanish ancestries.
There are around six million tribal Filipinos - 60 ethnological groups
- comprising approximately 8 per cent of the total population, mainly
around North Luzon, central Luzon and western Mindanao and the Sulu

World Information

You may read about some of the ethnic minority groups of the
Philippines here:


Search Criteria: 

Ethnology of the Philippines 
“Filipinos are descendants of" 
Philippines ethnic groups 
CIA Fact book
Origin of the Philippine race
Demographics of the Philippines
Ethnological groups of the Philippines
Filipinos are of * descent

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