While the Visayas region is known for its world-class tourist spots, the people themselves are also a treasure worthy of recognition. Full of diversity and culture, the Visayans are a bunch of interesting people and when grouped together, are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world at 33 million natives. The following are the beautiful ethnicities found in Visayas:

1. Abaknon

This group of people mainly reside in Capul Island on the northern tip of Samar and speak the Inabaknon language. According to folklore, its history started when a group of people led by tribal leader Abak, did not like the religion of the Moros who ruled them and fled to the island. From there, they settled and to this day, bore the name of its founder as its tribe name, Abaknon.

2. Waray

Photo from en.wikipedia.org

Almost everywhere you go in the Philippines, Warays are associated with bravery. With the famous catchphrase, “basta ang Waray, hindi uurong sa away”, Warays are known as  brave warriors, one of the few tribes who fought the Spaniards in the 1500s. Most of the Warays are native in Samar, Leyte and Biliran and altogether, are the largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group with the Waray language as they primary language.

3. Caluyanon

Found on the Caluya Islands of Antique Province, the Caluyanons are among the smallest ethnic groups in Visayas. With around 30,000 natives, their language is Caluyanon but many of the natives speak Hiligaynon as their second language.

4. Aklanon

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Getting their name from the river Akean which means “where there is boiling or frothing”, the Aklanons reside in the majority of Aklan in Panay and has a rich culture and tradition as an ethnic group. They are known to be descendants of Austronesian-speaking immigrants that came to the country during the Iron Age. Boracay Beach is found in the province of Aklan and this contributed to the popularity of Aklanons.

5. Capiznon

Photo from en.wikipedia.org

The Capiznons reside in Capiz in the Western Visayas region but they also have roots in Roxas City. Notable local figures hail from Capiz with the likes of Manuel Roxas, the fifth President of the Philippines, Kara David, a television host and journalist as well as actor and director, Ricky Davao.

6. Karay-a

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From the word “iraya” which means upstream, the Karay-as are a group of people inhabited in the islands of Panay and Palawan. The primary source of livelihood from this group is agriculture, and some engage in crafts made of bamboo.

7. Hiligaynon

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Often referred to as the Ilonggo people, majority of Hiligaynons reside in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Guimaras and many other places in Visayas. Locally, they are known for their gentle disposition and also, majority of the people here engage in seafood industry.

8. Magahat

Photo by Edgar Chu

Located in the mountain regions of Negros, the Magahats are among the Visayan tribes that has the lowest native speakers. As they are located in the mountainous ranges, the people here practice swidden agriculture.

9. Porohanon

Photo by Jamesley Lebarios Lacbayo

Located in the Poro Island of Cebu, they are a minor Visayan ethnic group. They primarily speak the Porohanon language with Cebuano as the second. The two languages have few similarities with each other but the Porohanon is closer to Hiligaynon languages.

10. Cebuano

Cebuanos are the second most widespread ethnic group in the Philippines after the Tagalogs of Luzon. Originally native to the Cebu province, most Cebuanos are known in the Philippines, with their food, culture and festive celebrations such as the Sinulog festival as its highlights. Cebuano is also the most widely spoken among the Visayas languages.

11. Boholano

Photo from en.wikipedia.org

Also known as the Bol-anon people, Boholanos live in the island province of Bohol and speaks the Boholano dialect, which has similarities with the Cebuano language. In history, the group are known as the descendants of “pintados” or “tattooed ones”, a group of late inhabitants that settled in the Philippines. Boholanos are known for their delicacies such as the kalamay, a sweet dessert packaged in coconut shells.

12. Eskaya

Photo from pia.gov.ph

Also located in the Bohol island, they are a minor ethnic group that drew fascination among journalists in the 1980s because of its vague history. Some argued that they are historically displaced from the Middle East while some argue that it was a self-made community that made its own language and with their own religious beliefs and culture.

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