The 12 Most Dominant Ethnic Groups in the Philippines

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The ethnic groups Philippines has are diverse. Did you think that the ethnicity of the Philippine people is Filipino? Wrong. Filipino refers to citizenship, not ethnicity. The Philippines is in fact made up of a tapestry of ethnic groups, each at one point independent kingdoms and chieftaincies. The unity of these Philippine ethnic groups saw the overthrow of colonizers, namely Spain and America, through armed revolution and active participation in lawmaking respectively.

Even after the Philippines achieved independence, however, not all of its ethnic groups have been empowered. Under this dubious and muddled umbrella term "Filipino people", some ethnic groups of the Philippines are more powerful than others, their culture more nurtured and their representation in government stronger. At times these Philippine ethnic groups come across imperialist-like, especially when they immigrate and dominate another tribe's ancestral domain. Here we list the 12 most dominant ethnic groups in the Philippines.

1 Tagalog

The Philippine capital — "Imperial Manila" as the countryside disapprovingly calls it — is a Tagalog domain. The Filipino language, enforced by law within the country almost as though all other Philippine languages are non-Filipino, is the Tagalog's language. The national costume, less the Spanish overtones, is Tagalog. And if America hadn't interfered, the Philippines would be known, not as the Republic of the Philippines, but the Republic of Tagalog.

By how dominant they are, you probably imagined the Tagalog to be a domineering ethnic group in the Philippines who'd use any amount of force to control others. No, quite the reverse, the Tagalog are the most polite and diplomatic folk in the Philippines. Tagalog etiquette is very refined, and this high degree of civility is embodied permanently in the Tagalog language, which is one that's very soft and natively nice and courteous.

The Tagalog's self-assumed initiative to lead may be deep-seated in origin. Before Christianity arrived in the Philippines, the Tagalog have this mythology that all people are brothers. All human beings were once cramped in the same house, fathered by Malakas and mothered by Maganda, until, fleeing an exasperated father who came after his insufferably noisy children with a stick, the siblings spread throughout the world. The children who took refuge in rooms became monarchs and nobles, the siblings who hid behind walls became slaves, the ones who sneaked into the fireplace became the black Negritos, those who ran out of the house became freemen, and still others who ventured beyond the sea came back as foreigners. Even though these peoples have scattered, they're still brothers. And since all ethnic groups Philippines consists of are brothers, they should be one nation. The Tagalog sees to that.

2 Bisaya

This is another Philippine ethnic group who dominates without being brutal. If the Tagalog does it through intricate diplomacy, the Bisaya are these lively, very effervescent folk who'd win you over with their humor and laughter. The Bisaya dance their progress out of the Visayas, and sing their horses on to Mindanao. On an evening filled with fireflies the Bisaya would drink wine with you on a rickety table, and next thing you know they're all over your land.

Cebu, the Bisaya's beloved city, was the country's first capital. The Bisaya vied with the Tagalog to make Bisaya the national language, and resisted implementation of the "Filipino" language upon losing the battle. Until now, there's this unique and almost separate culture running in Central Visayas, and the Bisaya allude to their province as the Republic of Cebu.

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