Ethnic Groups of the Philippines


The eight indigenous tribes of Mindoro have known no other home since prehistory, although their ancestors probably migrated from Indonesia. (The seventh-largest island in the Philippines, Mindoro is part of the MIMAROPA Region and is divided into two provinces, Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro.) The tribes, which are referred to by the general term "Mangyan," comprise the Alangan, Bangon, Buhid, Hanunoo, Iraya, Ratagnon, Tadyawan, and Tawbuid. The Mangyan population in the Philippines is over 100,000, and the great majority have grown roots in Mindoro.

The Hanunoo inhabit southern Mindoro Island, particularly in the towns of Mansalay and San Pedro. Their language is known as Hanunoo-Mangyan, or simply Mangyan. Unlike many other Filipino languages, Hanunoo-Mangyan has a written script, so that many members of the tribe can read and write. Their system of writing is descended from the ancient Sanskrit alphabet. There are 18 characters in the syllabary, three of which are vowels; the remaining 15 are written in combination with the vowels. Hanunoos use a bolo-shaped knife for inscribing on bamboo.