Ethnic Groups of the Philippines

Ayta, Abellen

The Aytas are called Negritos for their dark skin and kinky hair. They landed on the archipelago more than 30,000 thousand years ago and are thought to be the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines. The Negritos share some physical features with African pygmy populations.

Nowadays, rare is the Ayta wearing traditional clothing: the bahag (loincloth) for men and wraparound skirts for women. They now use urban attire. Ayta women are skilled in weaving, plaiting, and producing household containers, rattan hammocks, and winnowing baskets of excellent quality. Nomadic Ayta build temporary settlements made of indigenous materials, such as forked sticks, palm or banana leaves, cogon, and bamboo.

The Abellen Aytas are found mostly in the mountains of western Tarlac and Zambales. They have adopted the language of their Austronesian neighbors, speaking a Sambalic language that belongs to the Central Luzon language family.

The Abellen Aytas are traditionally semi-nomadic. After the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and due to intermarriage with their Ilocano neighbors, they have spread throughout the region. However, a good number of Abellen Ayta settlements still live in remote reaches of the mountains of Tarlac Province.


Oracle Think Quest. Negrito,
Cultural Heritage. Philippine Tribes: Aeta,
Joshua Projects. Ayta Abellen,
Education for and about Indigenous People,