Ethnic Groups of the Philippines


The people whose Visayan originated name literally translates to “people of the mountains,” and who dwell in Bukidnon in Mindanao, are the Bukidnon people. Like most tribal groups in the Philippines, their language, Binukid, is their culture’s chief distinguishing feature. Unfortunately, Binukid is already slowly disappearing since a lot of Bukidnon natives have intermarried with immigrants in their area, resulting in their children mostly speaking the province’s lingua franca, Cebuano-Bisayan. Only 13% of the overall 195,000 population of Bukidnons speak Binukid.

The Binukid language consists of 20 segmental phonemes, plus 1 suprasegmental phoneme. As for its letters, it is composed of 16 consonants, with a voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate [t͡ɕ]. Its speakers mainly reside in small barangays in the northern part of the province of Bukidnon.

The Bukidnon people used to practice different forms of headhunting, and inter-tribal fights used to be a common sight. There were also Bukidnon warriors called bagani who would often raid Manobo, sometimes even some Bukidnon settlements, in their quest for slaves and personal prestige. Though the bagani didn’t practice headhunting, they would occasionally offer their captured enemy to the gods in a ritual sacrifice.

Bukidnons have always been farmers, with 95% who live in rural areas still doing farming today. Their principal crops include rice and maize. Recently, Bukidnon farmers have started growing coffee, which is their commercial substitute for abaca, which used to be their principal cash crop for decades.

People of the Mountains

Plain but fulfilling—these are the words that best describe the lifestyle of Bukidnons. They continue to live in small and dispersed strip settlements. Bukidnon houses are located along trails and logging roads that are far from the main roads, and these simple houses are made usually of bamboo and thatch.

To cope with their meager income, some Bukidnon women engage in mat-making, basketry, and embroidery, as well as washing clothes for wealthy families. They are also the ones planting and weeding the farms, and helping the men during harvest time. As for the Bukidnon men, they work as carpenters and construction workers. They also help transport the harvested crops to the market. All these are when they are not assisting the women in planting crops or preparing the soil for the said planting.

The descents of the Bukidnon people are composed of consanguineous relatives (both from mother’s and father’s sides) and affinal relatives by marriage. In the past, a controversial practice that Bukidnons used to condone was child betrothal, though it no longer happens today. These marriages used to be based on negotiations of the appropriate bride-price, though today freedom of choice is already practiced.

Another thing that Bukidnons used to have were the regional chiefs called masalicampo. As for their religion, like many Filipinos, Bukidnons are Christians. However, some people from the rural parts of the province continue to believe in their supernatural beings, especially their leader Magbabáya, his name aptly translating to the “most powerful of all.” They also believe that one’s soul goes to Mount Balatukan when a person dies, and a tradition during burial includes burying some of the deceased’s belongings so that they can use them in their terrestrial dwelling. These rural Bukidnons also practice the pamuhat ceremony for they believe that prayers and offerings of food and drink can appease the spirits.

Two of the gatherings that Bukidnons enjoy are the fiesta called kaliga (or kaliga-on) during harvest time; and their famous kaamulan (from the Binukid word amul that means “to gather”), which can either be a datuship ritual, wedding ceremony, thanksgiving, or peace pact, or even all of these put together. The night before the celebration of kaamulan, a cultural showcase piniliyapan is held, wherein various entertainment such as the dramatization of their epic ulaging are showcased to the people. Then, during the actual celebration of kaamulan, colorful outfits (in colors of bright red, white, blue, black, and yellow) are showcased, and some Bukidnon old songs such as sala and limbay are played. There are also mimetic dances of birds or animals, and instruments that can include lantuy and pulala (flutes), kula-ing (Jew’s harp), dayuray (stringed instrument), gong, and drums.


Ethnic Groups Philippines. Binukid people 
Wikipedia. Bukid language 
Joshua Project. Binukid Manobo in Philippines Bukidnon 
Hikers Itch. BUKIDNON | Captivating and Truly Ethnic Kaamulan of Bukidnon
CELINEISM. In Photos: The 2018 Kaamulan Festival of Bukidnon