The Lumad of Mindanao includes several tribes such as the Manobo, the Tasaday, the Mamanwa, the Mandaya, the B’laan and the Kalagan. They primarily inhabit the eastern parts of Mindanao such as the Caraga, and Davao Regions.


The Mangyan communities are found in Mindoro


One of southern Mindanao’s indigenous people, the T’boli are concentrated in Kiamba, Maitum, and Surallah in South Cotabato. As settlers from other Philippine islands arrived, the T’boli gradually withdrew to the mountain slopes and lived in scattered villages. Their cultural heartland lies in the highland lake complex: Sebu, Selutan, and Lahit Lakes. T’boli, B’laan, and Tiruray belong to a single language group and are distinct from the other languages of Mindanao.


The B’laan are composed of three subgroups from Koronadal, Sarangani, and Davao. Many B’laans speak Cebuano aside from the B’laan language. Their means of livelihood are swidden farming, weaving (the males weave baskets and the females, mats), fishing, hunting, food gathering, and tool- and weapon-making.


The Yakans are concentrated in Tipo-tipo , Lamitan, Sumisip, and Tuburan in the Basilan Island of ARMM. There are also scattered populations on the islands of Sakol, Malanipa, and Tumalutad east of the Zamboanga Peninsula. The word Yakan means “Dayak Origin,” as they are believed to be descendants of the Orang Dyaks or Tagihamas of eastern Indonesia. They speak a dialect of Sama language and are culturally influenced in some respect by the Tausug.


The dominant ethnic group in the Sulu archipelago because of their political and religious institutions, the Tausug occupy Jolo, Indanan, Siasi, and Patikul in Sulu (ARMM). There are also scattered settlements in Zamboanga del Sur and Cotabato, and all the way to Malaysia, which has an estimated Tausug population of more than 110,000.


There are coastal, river, and mountain Tiruray clans, each of which has variations in dialect. In fact, Tiruray is a combination of tiru (“place of origin, birth, or residence”) and ray (from daya, meaning “upper part of a stream or river”). Their language, another distinct ethnolinguistic group, is structurally related to those of the Malayo-Polynesian family but is unintelligible even to their immediate neighbors.

Other Ethnic Groups of Mindanao

  • Subanen
  • Talaanding
  • Higaonon
  • Matigsalog
  • Umayammon
  • Manono
  • Kamigin
  • Sama – Badjao
  • Sama – Laut
  • Kaiibigan
  • Jama Mapon
  • Aromanon, Teduray
  • Bagobo, Ubo Manobo
  • Higaonon, Subanen
  • Maguindanao, Maranao
  • Lambangian
  • Manobo, Mandaya, Mansaka
  • Dibabawon, Banwaon
  • Bagobo, Ubo, Manobo
  • Tagakaolo, Talaingod
  • Langilan, Mamanwa
  • Kalagan, Tagabawa, Manobo
  • Biit, Matigsalog
  • Sangit, Tigwahanon