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People and Population

The growing population of Palawan has already reached about 737,000 people according to the data garnered from the 2000 census. A mixture of around eighty seven (87) racial and cultural groups resides throughout the province. And it is interesting to note that even though there are various groups of people living in the province with different cultural and racial values and beliefs, fortunately, the people all live in harmony.

Considered to be the biggest province in the Philippines, the province of Palawan's people and population is a mix of different ethnic groups like the Palawano, Batak, Taut Bato and Tagbanua Tribe. These tribal groups usually live in remote mountain and coastal villages.


The Batak tribe or mountain inhabitants is a tribe of ethnic people that live in the northeastern part of the province. Living in harmony with the environment, they are peaceful people. They also believe in spirits, whom they talk to with the help of a medium.


The Agutayanon, Cuyunon and Molbog ethnic groups are considered to be Palawenos. The Cuyunon group, who hails from the town of Cuyo located in the northern portion of Palawan are considered as the elite group among these three tribes. They are highly disciplined and firmly believe in community cooperation. The groups conversion to Catholicism has led to the combination of animist and Catholic beliefs. Agutayanons live a simple lifestyle and their primary source of livelihood is from planting crops. The Molbog group is the main inhabitant of Balabac. This group is also the one most exposed to Muslim culture.


The Palawanon group are part of the unique Manobo linguistic ethnic tribes of southern Philippines. They usually use blowguns to hunt for food. The tribe also bears some similarities with the Tagbanua. Tausog residents call the tribe Traan, which means people disperse in diferent places. The Palawanon also live in houses that are built far from one another. Their main source of living is rice farming.

Most of the tribe live near Brookes Point. They believe both in Islam and Hinduism but some tribal members are animists. They sing and dance to please their gods as well as to attract luck.


The tribes name means people living in the rock. Actually, they are not a separate tribe, but a small group of southwestern Palawanons who live near the crater of a sleeping volcano. Nowadays, they live in the Singnapan Basin, a mountainous area between Mt. Matalingahan and the western coast line of Palawan. The group lives a primitive existence. Tribal men wear G-strings from tree bark and tribal women wear skirts to cover the lower portion of their body.


The Tagbanua people usually live in the northern part and central part of Palawan. Their main source of living is rice planting. They are also known for their pagdiwata ritual, which is a ritual involving rice wine. The tribe can also be found in the coastal areas of Palawan like in El Nido and Coron Island. The tribe considers rice as a gift from the gods and use it to make rice wine. The main point of the religious system of the tribe is the ritual of the dead. They also believe in gods found in nature.

Tagbanuas excel in basket making and wood handicrafts. They are also well-known for their body accessories like bracelets, anklets, combs and necklaces, which are made of different materials like beads and copper.