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Mga Pilipino
Flag of the Philippines.svg
Total population
c. 100 million[1]
(c. 11–12 million in Filipino diaspora)[2][3]
Regions with significant populations
 Philippines c. 100 million
 United States3,416,840[4]
 Saudi Arabia1,020,000[5]
 United Arab Emirates679,819[7]
 Hong Kong130,810[13]
 United Kingdom112,000[5]
 South Korea63,464[16]
 New Zealand40,347[17]
 Papua New Guinea25,000[19]
Primarily Filipino, English, and other languages of the Philippines
Predominantly Roman Catholicism[41]
Minority others are:
Related ethnic groups
Austronesian peoples

Filipinos (Filipino: Mga Pilipino)[42] are the people who are native to or citizens of the country of the Philippines. Filipinos come from various Austronesian ethnnolinguistic groups. Currently, there are more than 185 ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines; each with its own language, identity, culture and history. The number of individual languages listed for Philippines is 185. Of these, 183 are living and 2 are extinct. Of the living languages, 175 are indigenous and 8 are non-indigenous. Furthermore, as of 2019, 39 are institutional, 67 are developing, 38 are vigorous, 28 are endangered, and 11 are dying.[43][verification needed]


The name Filipino was derived from the term las Islas Filipinas ("the Philippine Islands"),[44] the name given to the archipelago in 1543 by the Spanish explorer and Dominican priest Ruy López de Villalobos, in honour of Philip II of Spain (Spanish: Felipe II).

During the Spanish colonial period the term Filipino was used for the Spaniards born in the archipelago,[45] especially when it was necessary to distinguish the indios of the Philippines from the indios of the Spanish colonies in the New World.[46] In the latter half of the 19th century, an educated class of indios arose whose writings are credited with building Philippine nationalism. These writings are also credited with transforming the term Filipino from a reference to Spaniards born in the Philippines to refer to everyone born in the Philippines.[47] The usage of the word Filipino to refer to the natives in many Spanish-era works and writings, such as in the Relación de las Islas Filipinas (1604) of Pedro Chirino, in which he wrote chapters entitled "Of the civilities, terms of courtesy, and good breeding among the Filipinos" (Chapter XVI), "Of the Letters of the Filipinos" (Chapter XVII), "Concerning the false heathen religion, idolatries, and superstitions of the Filipinos" (Chapter XXI), "Of marriages, dowries, and divorces among the Filipinos" (Chapter XXX),[48] while also using the term "Filipino" to refer unequivocally to the non-Spaniard natives of the archipelago like in the following sentence:

The first and last concern of the Filipinos in cases of sickness was, as we have stated, to offer some sacrifice to their anitos, or diwatas, which were their gods.[49]

— Pedro Chirino, Relación de las Islas Filipinas

In the Crónicas (1738) of Juan Francisco de San Antonio, the author devoted a chapter to "The Letters, languages and politeness of the Philippinos", while Francisco Antolín argued in 1789 that "the ancient wealth of the Philippinos is much like that which the Igorots have at present".[50] These examples prompted the historian William Henry Scott to conclude that during the Spanish colonial period:

[...]the people of the Philippines were called Filipinos when they were practicing their own culture — or, to put it another way, before they became indios.[51]

— William Henry Scott, Barangay- Sixteenth Century Philippine Culture and Society

While the Philippine-born Spaniards during the 19th century began to be called españoles filipinos, logically contracted to just Filipino, to distinguish them from the Spaniards born in Spain, they themselves resented the term, preferring to identify themselves as hijos del país (sons of the country).[52]

Historian Ambeth Ocampo has suggested that the first documented use of the word Filipino to refer to Indios was the Spanish-language poem A la juventud filipina, published in 1879 by José Rizal.[53] Writer and publisher Nick Joaquin has asserted that Luis Rodríguez Varela was the first to describe himself as Filipino in print.[54] Apolinario Mabini (1896) used the term Filipino to refer to all inhabitants of the Philippines. Father Jose Burgos earlier called all natives of the archipelago as Filipinos.[55]

The lack of the letter "F" in the pre-1987 Tagalog alphabet (Abakada) caused the letter "P" to be substituted for "F", though the alphabets and/or writing scripts of some non-Tagalog ethnic groups included the letter "F". Upon official adoption of the modern, 28-letter Filipino alphabet in 1987, the term Filipino was preferred over Pilipino.[citation needed] Locally, some still use "Pilipino" to refer to the people and "Filipino" to refer to the language, but in international use "Filipino" is the usual form for both.

A number of Filipinos refer to themselves colloquially as "Pinoy" (feminine: "Pinay"), which is a slang word formed by taking the last four letters of "Filipino" and adding the diminutive suffix "-y".

Other collective endonyms for the Filipino people include: "Patria Adorada" (Spanish for "Beloved Fatherland") as popularized by Jose Rizal through his poem "Mi último adiós", "Bayang Pilipino" (Tagalog: "Filipino nation") or the more poetic "Sambayanáng Pilipino" (a formal term in Tagalog meaning "one/entire Filipino nation").



In 2010, a metatarsal from "Callao Man", discovered in 2007, was dated through uranium-series dating as being 67,000 years old.[56]

Prior to that, the earliest human remains found in the Philippines were thought to be the fossilized fragments of a skull and jawbone, discovered in the 1960s by Dr. Robert B. Fox, an anthropologist from the National Museum.[57] Anthropologists who examined these remains agreed that they belonged to modern human beings. These include the Homo sapiens, as distinguished from the mid-Pleistocene Homo erectus species.

The "Tabon Man" fossils are considered to have come from a third group of inhabitants, who worked the cave between 22,000 and 20,000 BCE. An earlier cave level lies so far below the level containing cooking fire assemblages that it must represent Upper Pleistocene dates like 45 or 50 thousand years ago.[58] Researchers say this indicates that the human remains were pre-Mongoloid, from about 40,000 years ago. Mongoloid is the term which anthropologists applied to the ethnic group which migrated to Southeast Asia during the Holocene period and evolved into the Austronesian people (associated with the Haplogroup O1 (Y-DNA) genetic marker), a group of Malayo-Polynesian-speaking people including those from Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Malagasy, the non-Chinese Taiwan Aboriginals or Rhea's.[59]

Fluctuations in ancient shorelines between 150,000 BC and 17,000 BC connected the Malay Archipelago region with Maritime Southeast Asia and the Philippines. This may have enabled ancient migrations into the Philippines from Maritime Southeast Asia approximately 50,000 BC to 13,000 BC.[60]

A January 2009 study of language phylogenies by R. D. Gray at the University of California, Los Angeles published in the journal Science, suggests that the population expansion of Austronesian peoples was triggered by rising sea levels of the Sunda shelf at the end of the last ice age. This was a two-pronged expansion, which moved north through the Philippines and into Taiwan, while a second expansion prong spread east along the New Guinea coast and into Oceania and Polynesia.[61]

The Negritos are likely descendants of the indigenous populations of the Sunda landmass and New Guinea, pre-dating the Mongoloid peoples who later entered Southeast Asia.[62] Multiple studies also show that Negritos from Southeast Asia to New Guinea share a closer cranial affinity with Australo-Melanesians.[62][63] They were the ancestors of such tribes of the Philippines as the Aeta, Agta, Ayta, Ati, Dumagat and other similar groups. Today they comprise just 0.03% of the total Philippine population.[64]

The majority of present-day Filipinos are a product of the long process of evolution and movement of people.[65] After the mass migrations through land bridges, migrations continued by boat during the maritime era of South East Asia. The ancient races became homogenized into the Malayo-Polynesians which colonized the majority of the Philippine, Malaysian and Indonesian archipelagos.[66][67]

Tagalog maharlika, c.1590 Boxer Codex
Tagalog maginoo, c.1590 Boxer Codex

Archaic epoch (to 1565)

A painting of a young mother and her child belonging to the Maharlika caste. Their abode is the torogan in the background

Since at least the 3rd century, various ethnic groups established several communities. These were formed by the assimilation of various native Philippine kingdoms.[64] South Asian and East Asian people together with the people of the Indonesian archipelago and the Malay Peninsula, traded with Filipinos and introduced Hinduism and Buddhism to the native tribes of the Philippines. Most of these people stayed in the Philippines where they were slowly absorbed into local societies.

Visayan kadatuan, c.1590 Boxer Codex
Visayan kadatuan, c.1590 Boxer Codex

Many of the barangay (tribal municipalities) were, to a varying extent, under the de jure jurisprudence of one of several neighboring empires, among them the Malay Srivijaya, Javanese Majapahit, Brunei, Malacca, Indian Chola, Champa and Khmer empires, although de facto had established their own independent system of rule. Trading links with Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Cambodia, Malay Peninsula, Indochina, China, Japan, India and Arabia. A thalassocracy had thus emerged based on international trade.

Native commoner women (likely Muslims in Manila at the time), c.1590 Boxer Codex
Visayan timawa, c.1590 Boxer Codex

Even scattered barangays, through the development of inter-island and international trade, became more culturally homogeneous by the 4th century. Hindu-Buddhist culture and religion flourished among the noblemen in this era.

In the period between the 7th to the beginning of the 15th centuries, numerous prosperous centers of trade had emerged, including the Kingdom of Namayan which flourished alongside Manila Bay,[68][68][69] Cebu, Iloilo,[70] Butuan, the Kingdom of Sanfotsi situated in Pangasinan, the Kingdom of Luzon now known as Pampanga which specialized in trade with most of what is now known as Southeast Asia, and with China, Japan and the Kingdom of Ryukyu in Okinawa.

From the 9th century onwards, a large number of Arab traders from the Middle East settled in the Malay Archipelago and intermarried with the local Malay, Bruneian, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Luzon and Visayas indigenous populations.[71]

Visayan pintados (tattooed), c. 1590 Boxer Codex
Visayan uripon (slaves), c. 1590 Boxer Codex

In the years leading up to 1000 AD, there were already several maritime societies existing in the islands but there was no unifying political state encompassing the entire Philippine archipelago. Instead, the region was dotted by numerous semi-autonomous barangays (settlements ranging is size from villages to city-states) under the sovereignty of competing thalassocracies ruled by datus, rajahs or sultans[72] or by upland agricultural societies ruled by "petty plutocrats". States such as the Wangdoms of Ma-i and Pangasinan, Kingdom of Maynila, Namayan, the Kingdom of Tondo, the Kedatuans of Madja-as, and Dapitan, the Rajahnates of Butuan and Cebu and the sultanates of Maguindanao, Lanao and Sulu existed alongside the highland societies of the Ifugao and Mangyan.[73][74][75][76] Some of these regions were part of the Malayan empires of Srivijaya, Majapahit and Brunei.[77][78][79]

Historic caste systems

Datu – The Tagalog maginoo, the Kapampangan ginu, and the Visayan tumao were the nobility social class among various cultures of the pre-colonial Philippines. Among the Visayans, the tumao were further distinguished from the immediate royal families, or a ruling class.

Timawa – The timawa class were free commoners of Luzon and the Visayas who could own their own land and who did not have to pay a regular tribute to a maginoo, though they would, from time to time, be obliged to work on a datu's land and help in community projects and events. They were free to change their allegiance to another datu if they married into another community or if they decided to move.

Maharlika – Members of the Tagalog warrior class known as maharlika had the same rights and responsibilities as the timawa, but in times of war they were bound to serve their datu in battle. They had to arm themselves at their own expense, but they did get to keep the loot they took. Although they were partly related to the nobility, the maharlikas were technically less free than the timawas because they could not leave a datu's service without first hosting a large public feast and paying the datu between 6 and 18 pesos in gold – a large sum in those days.

Alipin – Commonly described as "servant" or "slave". However, this is inaccurate. The concept of the alipin relied on a complex system of obligation and repayment through labor in ancient Philippine society, rather than on the actual purchase of a person as in Western and Islamic slavery. Members of the alipin class who owned their own houses were more accurately equivalent to medieval European serfs and commoners.

By the 15th century, Arab and Indian missionaries and traders from Malaysia and Indonesia brought Islam to the Philippines, where it both replaced and was practiced together with indigenous religions. Before that, indigenous tribes of the Philippines practiced a mixture of Animism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Native villages, called barangays were populated by locals called Timawa (Middle Class/ freemen) and Alipin (servants & slaves). They were ruled by Rajahs, Datus and Sultans, a class called Maginoo (royals) and defended by the Maharlika (Lesser nobles, royal warriors and aristocrats).[64] These Royals and Nobles are descended from native Filipinos with varying degrees of Indo-Aryan and Dravidian, which is evident in today's DNA analysis among South East Asian Royals. This tradition continued among the Spanish and Portuguese traders who also intermarried with the local populations.[80]

Hispanic settlement and rule (1521–1898)

Native Filipinos as illustrated in the Carta Hydrographica y Chorographica de las Yslas Filipinas (1734)

The Philippines was settled by the Spanish. The arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães) in 1521 began a period of European colonization. During the period of Spanish colonialism the Philippines was part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, which was governed and controlled from Mexico City. Early Spanish settlers were mostly explorers, soldiers, government officials and religious missionaries born in Spain and Mexico. Most Spaniards who settled were of Andalusian ancestry but there were also Catalan, Moorish and Basque settlers. The Peninsulares (governors born in Spain), mostly of Castilian ancestry, settled in the islands to govern their territory. Most settlers married the daughters of rajahs, datus and sultans to reinforce the colonization of the islands. The Ginoo and Maharlika castes (royals and nobles) in the Philippines prior to the arrival of the Spanish formed the privileged Principalía (nobility) during the Spanish period.

The arrival of the Spaniards to the Philippines attracted new waves of immigrants from China, and maritime trade flourished during the Spanish period. The Spanish recruited thousands of Chinese migrant workers called sangleys to build the colonial infrastructure in the islands. Many Chinese immigrants converted to Christianity, intermarried with the locals, and adopted Hispanized names and customs and became assimilated, although the children of unions between Filipinos and Chinese that became assimilated continued to be designated in official records as mestizos de sangley. The Chinese mestizos were largely confined to the Binondo area until the 19th century. However, they eventually spread all over the islands, and became traders, landowners, and moneylenders.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of Japanese traders also migrated to the Philippines and assimilated into the local population.[81][failed verification]

Indio A Caballo (Native Filipino On A Horse) by José Honorato Lozano
India A Caballo (Native Filipina On A Horse) by José Honorato Lozano

British forces occupied Manila between 1762 and 1764 as a part of the Seven Years' War,. However, the only part of the Philippines which the British held was the Spanish colonial capital of Manila and the principal naval port of Cavite, both of which are located on Manila Bay. The war was ended by the Treaty of Paris (1763). At the end of the war the treaty signatories were not aware that Manila had been taken by the British and was being administered as a British colony. Consequently, no specific provision was made for the Philippines. Instead they fell under the general provision that all other lands not otherwise provided for be returned to the Spanish Empire.[82] Many Indian Sepoy troops and their British captains mutinied and were left in Manila and some parts of the Ilocos and Cagayan. The ones in Manila settled at Cainta, Rizal and the ones in the north settled in Isabela. Most were assimilated into the local population.

"Mestizo de luto" (A Native Filipino Mestizo) by José Honorato Lozano
"India de Manila" (Native Filipina of Manila) by José Honorato Lozano
Indios (Native Filipinos) by José Honorato Lozano
Leaders of the reform movement in Spain: left to right: José Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, and Mariano Ponce (c. 1890)
Typical costume of a Principalía family of the late 19th century. Exhibit in the Villa Escudero Museum, San Pablo, Laguna, Philippines.
Mestizos de Español (Spanish Mestizo), by Jean Mallat de Bassilan, c. 1846
Mestizos de Sangley (Chinese Mestizo), by Jean Mallat de Bassilan, c. 1846

A total of 110 Manila-Acapulco galleons set sail between 1565 and 1815, during the Philippines trade with Mexico. Until 1593, three or more ships would set sail annually from each port bringing with them the riches of the archipelago to Spain. European criollos, mestizos and Portuguese, French and Mexican descent from the Americas, mostly from Latin America came in contact with the Filipinos. Japanese, Indian and Cambodian Christians who fled from religious persecutions and killing fields also settled in the Philippines during the 17th until the 19th centuries.

With the inauguration of the Suez Canal in 1867, Spain opened the Philippines for international trade. European investors such as British, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Russian, Italian and French were among those who settled in the islands as business increased. More Spaniards arrived during the next century. Many of these European migrants intermarried with local mestizos and assimilated with the indigenous population.

Late modern

Filipina women in Filipiniana dress, (Manila, 1899).

After the defeat of Spain during the Spanish–American War in 1898, Filipino general, Emilio Aguinaldo declared independence on June 12 while General Wesley Merritt became the first American governor of the Philippines. On December 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris formally ended the war, with Spain ceding the Philippines and other colonies to the United States in exchange for $20 million.[83]

A native Filipina with Chinese, American / European and Japanese settlers in the Philippines, 1900

[84] The Philippine–American War resulted in the deaths of at least 200,000 Filipino civilians.[85] Some estimates for total civilian dead reach up to 1,000,000.[86][87] After the Philippine–American War, the United States civil governance was established in 1901, with William Howard Taft as the first American Governor-General.[88] A number of Americans settled in the islands and thousands of interracial marriages between Americans and Filipinos have taken place since then. Due to the strategic location of the Philippines, as many as 21 bases and 100,000 military personnel were stationed there since the United States first colonized the islands in 1898. These bases were decommissioned in 1992 after the end of the Cold War, but left behind thousands of Amerasian children.[89] The country gained independence from the United States in 1946. The Pearl S. Buck International Foundation estimates there are 52,000 Amerasians scattered throughout the Philippines. However, according to the center of Amerasian Research, there might be as many as 250,000 Amerasians scattered across the cities of Clark, Angeles, Manila, and Olongapo.[90] In addition, numerous Filipino men enlisted in the US Navy and made careers in it, often settling with their families in the United States. Some of their second- or third-generation families returned to the country.

Photo shows left to right: Hon. Isauro Gabaldón, Philippine President Commissioner to the U.S.; Hon. Sergio Osmeña, member of the Philippine Senate; Hon. Manuel L. Quezon, President of the Philippine Senate, Chairman; Hon. Claro M. Recto, Member and Minority Leader in the Philippine House of Representatives; Hon. Pedro Guevara, Philippine President Commissioner to the U.S.; Dean Jorge Bocobo.

Following its independence, the Philippines has seen both small and large-scale immigration into the country, mostly involving American, European, Chinese, and Japanese peoples. After World War II, South Asians continued to migrate into the islands, most of which assimilated and avoided the local social stigma instilled by the early Spaniards against them by keeping a low profile and/or by trying to pass as Spanish mestizos. This was also true for the Arab and Chinese immigrants, many of whom are also post WWII arrivals. More recent migrations into the country by Koreans, Persians, Brazilians, and other Southeast Asians have contributed to the enrichment of the country's ethnic landscape, language and culture. Centuries of migration, diaspora, assimilation, and cultural diversity made most Filipinos accepting of interracial marriage and multiculturalism.

Philippine nationality law is currently based upon the principle of jus sanguinis and, therefore, descent from a parent who is a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines is the primary method of acquiring national citizenship. Birth in the Philippines to foreign parents does not in itself confer Philippine citizenship, although RA9139, the Administrative Naturalization Law of 2000, does provide a path for administrative naturalization of certain aliens born in the Philippines.

Social classifications

Filipinos of mixed ethnic origins are still referred to today as mestizos. However, in common parlance, mestizos are only used to refer to Filipinos mixed with Spanish or any other European ancestry. Filipinos mixed with any other foreign ethnicities are named depending on the non-Filipino part.

Term Definition
Negrito indigenous person of purely Negrito ancestry
Indio indigenous person of purely Austronesian ancestry
Moros indigenous person of the Islamic faith living in the Archipelago of the Philippines
Sangley/Chino person of purely Chinese ancestry
Mestizo de Sangley/Chino person of mixed Chinese and Austronesian ancestry
Mestizo de Español person of mixed Spanish and Austronesian ancestry
Tornatrás person of mixed Spanish, Austronesian and Chinese ancestry
Insulares/Filipino person of purely Spanish descent born in the Philippines
Americanos person of Criollo (either pure Spanish blood, or mostly), Castizo (1/4 Native American, 3/4 Spanish) or Mestizo (1/2 Spanish, 1/2 Native American) descent born in Spanish America ("from the Americas")
Peninsulares person of purely Spanish descent born in Spain ("from the Iberian peninsula")
Marcelo Azcárraga Palmero, the only Spanish prime minister of Insulares (Filipino) descent

People classified as 'blancos' (whites) were the insulares or "Filipinos" (a person born in the Philippines of pure Spanish descent), peninsulares (a person born in Spain of pure Spanish descent), Español mestizos (a person born in the Philippines of mixed Austronesian and Spanish ancestry), and tornatrás (a person born in the Philippines of mixed Austronesian, Chinese and Spanish ancestry). Manila was racially segregated, with blancos living in the walled city of Intramuros, un-Christianized sangleys in Parían, Christianized sangleys and mestizos de sangley in Binondo, and the rest of the 7,000 islands for the indios, with the exception of Cebu and several other Spanish posts. Only mestizos de sangley were allowed to enter Intramuros to work for whites (including mestizos de español) as servants and various occupations needed for the colony. Indio were native Austronesians, but as a legal classification, Indio were those who embraced Roman Catholicism and Austronesians who lived in proximity to the Spanish colonies.[citation needed]

Manuel L. Quezon was the Philippine President during the Commonwealth era.

People who lived outside Manila, Cebu and the major Spanish posts were classified as such: 'Naturales' were Catholic Austronesians of the lowland and coastal towns. The un-Catholic Negritos and Austronesians who lived in the towns were classified as 'salvajes' (savages) or 'infieles' (the unfaithful). 'Remontados' (Spanish for 'situated in the mountains') and 'tulisanes' (bandits) were indigenous Austronesians and Negritos who refused to live in towns and took to the hills, all of whom were considered to live outside the social order as Catholicism was a driving force in Spanish colonials everyday life, as well as determining social class in the colony. People of pure Spanish descent living in the Philippines who were born in Spanish America were classified as 'americanos'. Mestizos and africanos born in Spanish America living in the Philippines kept their legal classification as such, and usually came as indentured servants to the 'americanos'. The Philippine-born children of 'americanos' were classified as 'Ins'. The Philippine-born children of mestizos and Africanos from Spanish America were classified based on patrilineal descent.

A mestiza de sangley woman in a photograph by Francisco Van Camp, c. 1875

The term negrito was coined by the Spaniards based on their appearance. The word 'negrito' would be misinterpreted and used by future European scholars as an ethnoracial term in and of itself. Both Christianized negritos who lived in the colony and un-Christianized negritos who lived in tribes outside the colony were classified as 'negritos'. Christianized negritos who lived in Manila were not allowed to enter Intramuros and lived in areas designated for indios.

A person of mixed Negrito and Austronesian ancestry were classified based on patrilineal descent; the father's ancestry determined a child's legal classification. If the father was 'negrito' and the mother was 'India' (Austronesian), the child was classified as 'negrito'. If the father was 'indio' and the mother was 'negrita', the child was classified as 'indio'. Persons of Negrito descent were viewed as being outside the social order as they usually lived in tribes outside the colony and resisted conversion to Christianity.

This legal system of racial classification based on patrilineal descent had no parallel anywhere in the Spanish-ruled colonies in the Americas. In general, a son born of a sangley male and an indio or mestizo de sangley female was classified as mestizo de sangley; all subsequent male descendants were mestizos de sangley regardless of whether they married an India or a mestiza de sangley. A daughter born in such a manner, however, acquired the legal classification of her husband, i.e., she became an India if she married an indio but remained a mestiza de sangley if she married a mestizo de sangley or a sangley. In this way, a chino mestizo male descendant of a paternal sangley ancestor never lost his legal status as a mestizo de sangley no matter how little percentage of Chinese blood he had in his veins or how many generations had passed since his first Chinese ancestor; he was thus a mestizo de sangley in perpetuity.

However, a 'mestiza de sangley' who married a blanco ('Filipino', 'mestizo de español', 'peninsular', or 'americano') kept her status as 'mestiza de sangley'. But her children were classified as tornatrás. An 'India' who married a blanco also kept her status as India, but her children were classified as mestizo de español. A mestiza de español who married another blanco would keep her status as mestiza, but her status will never change from mestiza de español if she married a mestizo de español, Filipino, or peninsular. In contrast, a mestizo (de sangley or español) man's status stayed the same regardless of whom he married. If a mestizo (de sangley or español) married a filipina (woman of pure Spanish descent), she would lose her status as a 'filipina' and would acquire the legal status of her husband and become a mestiza de español or sangley. If a 'filipina' married an 'indio', her legal status would change to 'India', despite being of pure Spanish descent.

The social stratification system based on class that continues to this day in the country had its beginnings in the Spanish colonial area with a discriminating caste system.[91]

The social stratification system based on class that continues to this day in the country had its beginnings in the Spanish colonial area with a discriminating caste system.[92]

The Spanish colonizers reserved the term Filipino to refer to Spaniards born in the Philippines. The use of the term was later extended to include Spanish and Chinese mestizos, or those born of mixed Chinese-indio or Spanish-indio descent. Late in the 19th century, José Rizal popularized the use of the term Filipino to refer to all those born in the Philippines, including the Indios.[93] When ordered to sign the notification of his death sentence, which described him as a Chinese mestizo, Rizal refused. He went to his death saying that he was indio puro.[94][93]

The Spanish caste system based on race was abolished after the Philippines' independence from Spain in 1898, and the word 'Filipino' expanded to include the entire population of the Philippines regardless of racial ancestry.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Origins and genetic studies

Migration of the Austronesian peoples and their languages.[95]

The aboriginal settlers of the Philippines were primarily Negrito groups. Negritos comprise a small minority of the nation's overall population.

The majority population of Filipinos are Austronesians, a linguistic and genetic group whose historical ties lay in maritime Southeast Asia, but through ancient migrations can be found as indigenous peoples stretching as far east as the Pacific islands and as far west as Madagascar off the coast of Africa.[96][97] The current predominant theory on Austronesian expansion holds that Austronesians settled the Philippine islands through successive southward and eastward seaborne migrations from the Neolithic Austronesian populations of Taiwan.[98]

105 Filipino Y-DNA.jpg

Other hypotheses have also been put forward based on linguistic, archeological, and genetic studies. These include an origin from mainland South China (linking them to the Liangzhu culture and the Tapengkeng culture, later displaced or assimilated by the expansion of Sino-Tibetan peoples);[99][100] an in situ origin from the Sundaland continental shelf prior to the sea level rise at the end of the last glacial period (c. 10,000 BC);[101][102] or a combination of the two (the Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network hypothesis) which advocates cultural diffusion rather than a series of linear migrations.[103]

The most frequently occurring Y-DNA haplogroups among modern Filipinos are haplogroup O1a-M119, which has been found with maximal frequency among the indigenous peoples of Nias, the Mentawai Islands, and Taiwan, and Haplogroup O2-M122, which is found with high frequency in many populations of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Polynesia. In particular, the type of O2-M122 that is found frequently in Filipinos, O-P164(xM134), is also found frequently in other Austronesian populations.[104][105] Trejaut et al. 2014 found O2a2b-P164(xO2a2b1-M134) in 26/146 = 17.8% of a pool of samples of Filipinos (4/8 = 50% Mindanao, 7/31 = 22.6% Visayas, 10/55 = 18.2% South Luzon, 1/6 = 17% North Luzon, 2/22 = 9.1% unknown Philippines, 2/24 = 8.3% Ivatan). The distributions of other subclades of O2-M122 in the Philippines were sporadic, but it may be noted that O2a1c-JST002611 was observed in 6/24 = 25% of a sample of Ivatan and 1/31 = 3.2% of a sample from the Visayas. A total of 45/146 = 30.8% of the sampled Filipinos were found to belong to Haplogroup O2-M122.[104] Haplogroup O1a-M119 is also commonly found among Filipinos (25/146 = 17.1% O1a-M119(xO1a1a-P203, O1a2-M50), 20/146 = 13.7% O1a1a-P203, 17/146 = 11.6% O1a2-M50, 62/146 = 42.5% O1a-M119 total according to Trejaut et al. 2014) and is shared with other Austronesian-speaking populations, especially those in Taiwan, western Indonesia, and Madagascar.[97][106]

After the 16th century, the colonial period saw the influx of genetic influence from other populations. This is evidenced by the presence of a small percentage of the Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b present among the population of the Philippines. DNA studies vary as to how small these lineages are. A year 2001 study conducted by Stanford University Asia-Pacific Research Center stated that only 3.6% of the Philippine population had European Y-DNA.

According to another genetic study done by the University of California (San Francisco), they discovered that a more "modest" amount of European genetic ancestry was found among some respondents who self-identified as Filipinos.[107]

National Geographic's "The Genographic Project", Relaunched in 2012 as Geno 2.0,[108] based on a massive genetic testing of 80,000 Filipinos by the National Geographic in 2008–2009 found that the Philippines’ autosomal genepool is overwhelmingly East Eurasian, consisting of 53% Southeast Asian and Oceanian genes, and 36% East Asian genes, with 5% Southern European genes, 3% South Asian genes, and 2% Native American genes.[109]

In the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of Japanese traders also migrated to the Philippines and assimilated into the local population.[81][failed verification] Around 28–30% of Filipinos have Chinese ancestry. Also, according to a Y-DNA compilation by the DNA company Applied Biosystems, they calculated an estimated 1% frequency of the South Asian Y-DNA "H1a" in the Philippines. Thus translating to about 1,011,864 Filipinos having full or partial Indian descent, not including other Filipinos in the Philippines and Filipinos abroad whose DNA (Y-DNA) have not been analyzed.[110]

Dental morphology provides clues to prehistoric migration patterns of the Philippines, with Sinodont dental patterns occurring in East Asia, Central Asia, North Asia, and the Americas. Sundadont patterns occur in Southeast Asia as well as the bulk of Oceania.[111] Filipinos exhibit Sundadonty,[111][112] and are regarded as having a more generalised dental morphology and having a longer ancestry than its offspring, Sinodonty.

Published in 1849, The Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos contains 141 pages of surnames with both Spanish and indigenous roots.

Authored by Spanish Governor-General Narciso Claveria y Zaldua and Domingo Abella, the catalog was created in response to the Decree of November 21, 1849, which gave every Filipino a surname from the book. The decree in the Philippines was created to fulfill a Spanish colonial decree that sought to address colonial subjects who did not have a last name. This explains why a number of Filipinos without Spanish blood share the same surnames as many Spaniards today.

In relation to this, a population survey conducted by German ethnographer Fedor Jagor concluded that 1/3rd of Luzon which holds half of the Philippines' population had varying degrees of Spanish and Latin American ancestry.[113]


The indigenous (native) Philippine languages spoken around the country that have the largest number of speakers in a particular region with Tagalog being the largest. Note that on regions marked with black diamonds, the language with the most number of speakers denotes a minority of the population.
Universidad de Sta. Isabel, founded in 1867 through the royal order of Queen Isabella II of Spain

Austronesian languages have been spoken in the Philippines for thousands of years. According to a 2014 study by Mark Donohue of the Australian National University and Tim Denham of Monash University, there is no linguistic evidence for an orderly north-to-south dispersal of the Austronesian languages from Taiwan through the Philippines and into Island Southeast Asia (ISEA).[101] Many adopted words from Sanskrit and Tamil were incorporated during the strong wave of Indian (Hindu-Buddhist) cultural influence starting from the 5th century BC, in common with its Southeast Asian neighbors. Chinese languages were also commonly spoken among the traders of the archipelago. However, with the advent of Islam, Arabic and Persian soon came to supplant Sanskrit and Tamil as holy languages. Starting in the second half of the 16th century, Spanish was the official language of the country for the more than three centuries that the islands were governed through Mexico City on behalf of the Spanish Empire. The variant of Spanish used was Mexican-Spanish, which also included much vocabulary of Nahuatl (Aztec) origin. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Spanish was the preferred language among Ilustrados and educated Filipinos in general. Significant agreements exist, however, on the extent Spanish use beyond that. It has been argued that the Philippines were less hispanized than Canaries and America, with Spanish only being adopted by the ruling class involved in civil and judicial administration and culture. Spanish was the language of only approximately ten percent of the Philippine population when Spanish rule ended in 1898.[114] As a lingua franca or creole language of Filipinos, major languages of the country like Chavacano, Cebuano, Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Bicolano, Hiligaynon, and Ilocano assimilated many different words and expressions from Castilian Spanish.

Chavacano is the only Spanish-based creole language in Asia. Its vocabulary is 90 percent Spanish, and the remaining 10 percent is a mixture of predominantly Portuguese, Nahuatl (Mexican Indian), Hiligaynon, and some English. Chavacano is considered by the Instituto Cervantes to be a Spanish-based language.[115][failed verification]

In sharp contrast, another view is that the ratio of the population which spoke Spanish as their mother tongue in the last decade of Spanish rule was 10% or 14%.[116] An additional 60% is said to have spoken Spanish as a second language until World War II, but this is also disputed as to whether this percentage spoke "kitchen Spanish", which was used as marketplace lingua compared to those who were actual fluent Spanish speakers.[116]

In 1863 a Spanish decree introduced universal education, creating free public schooling in Spanish, yet it was never implemented, even before the advent of American annexation.[117] It was also the language of the Philippine Revolution, and the 1899 Malolos Constitution proclaimed it as the "official language" of the First Philippine Republic, albeit a temporary official language. Spanish continued to be the predominant lingua franca used in the islands by the elite class before and during the American colonial regime. Following the American occupation of the Philippines and the imposition of English, the overall use of Spanish declined gradually, especially after the 1940s.

According to Ethnologue, there are about 180 languages spoken in the Philippines.[118] The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines imposed the Filipino language.[119][120] as the national language and designates it, along with English, as one of the official languages. Regional languages are designated as auxiliary official languages. The constitution also provides that Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis.[121]

Other Philippine languages in the country with at least 1,000,000 native and indigenous speakers include Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Central Bikol, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Chavacano (Spanish-based creole), Albay Bikol, Maranao, Maguindanao, Kinaray-a, Tausug, Surigaonon, Masbateño, Aklanon and Ibanag. The 28-letter modern Filipino alphabet, adopted in 1987, is the official writing system. Also, language of each ethnicity has also their own writing scripts, which are no longer used and set of alphabets.[122]


Devotees flock to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño during the novena Masses.
Devotees inside the Bascilica del Santo Niño in Cebu City

As of 2010, over 90% of the population were Christians, with over 80% professing Roman Catholicism.[123] The latter was introduced by the Spanish beginning in 1565, and during their 300-year colonization of the islands, they managed to convert a vast majority of Filipinos, resulting in the Philippines becoming the largest Catholic country in Asia. There are also large groups of Protestant denominations, which either grew or were founded following the disestablishment of the Catholic Church during the American Colonial period. The Iglesia ni Cristo is currently the single largest indigenous church, followed by United Church of Christ in the Philippines. The Iglesia Filipina Independiente (also known as the Aglipayan Church) was an earlier development, and is a national church directly resulting from the 1898 Philippine Revolution. Other Christian groups such as the Victory Church,[124] Jesus Miracle Crusade, Mormonism, Orthodoxy, and the Jehovah's Witnesses have a visible presence in the country.

The second largest religion in the country is Islam, estimated to account for 6% to 11% of the population.[125] Islam in the Philippines is mostly concentrated in southwestern Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago which, though part of the Philippines, are very close to the neighboring Islamic countries of Malaysia and Indonesia. The Muslims call themselves Moros, a Spanish word that refers to the Moors (albeit the two groups have little cultural connection other than Islam).

Historically, ancient Filipinos held animistic beliefs that were influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism, which were brought by traders from neighbouring Asian states. Indigenous groups like the Aeta are Animists, while Igorot and Lumad tribes still observe traditional religious practises, often alongside Christianity or Islam.

As of 2013, religious groups together constituting less than five percent of the population included Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Seventh-day Adventists, United Church of Christ, United Methodists, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, Assemblies of God, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Philippine (Southern) Baptists; and the following domestically established churches: Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ), Philippine Independent Church (Aglipayan), Members Church of God International, and The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name. In addition, there are Lumad, who are indigenous peoples of various animistic and syncretic religions.[126]


There are currently more than 10 million Filipinos who live overseas. Filipinos form a minority ethnic group in the Americas, Europe, Oceania,[127][128] the Middle East, and other regions of the world.

There are an estimated four million Americans of Filipino ancestry in the United States, and more than 300,000 American citizens in the Philippines.[129] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, immigrants from the Philippines made up the second largest group after Mexico that sought family reunification.[130]

Filipinos make up over a third of the entire population of the Northern Marianas Islands, an American territory in the North Pacific Ocean, and a large proportion of the populations of Guam, Palau, the British Indian Ocean Territory, and Sabah.[128][failed verification]

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External links

  • Media related to Lua error in Module:Commons_link at line 64: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value). at Wikimedia Commons
  • The Online Ilokano Dictionary Project (TOIDP) – A free Ilokano dictionary application for people to utilize so that they may overcome the language barriers existing between the English and Ilokano languages.
  • Android Mobile Application – Ilokano Search – A free Android application that allows users to search our database of entries for Ilokano/English translations.
  • iOS Mobile Application – Ilokano Search – A free iOS application that allows users to search our database of entries for Ilokano/English translations

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