The Magindanao (Magindanaw, Maguindanaw, Maguindanaon, Magindanaoan, Mindanao) are one of the larger ethnic groups of the country with a total population of over 1,649,882 (NM 1994), with about 469,216 of this number found in the province of Maguindanao. The concentrations are in the municipalities of Dinaig (35,851), Datu Piang (51,970), Maganoy (46,006), and Buluan (52,242)(NSO 1990).

       Constant contact by the Spaniards with this group led to the naming of the entire island after the Magindanao during historical times. The Magindanao practice Islam; their culture, social structure and organization are influenced by this religion, without which the group would not have been able to resist the incursions of the Spanish conquistadores. One of the three Philippine sultanates is among the Magindanao. The Magindanao sultanate at one period in history could claim ritual authority over southwestern Mindanao. Their sociopolitical system and the hierarchical structure of social positions are complex and similar to that of the Sulu sultanate. There are three royal houses: Maguindanaon in Sultan Kudarat, Buayan in Datu Piang, and Kabuntalan in Tumbao, all of which trace their lineage to Sharif Kabunsuan—one of the earliest Muslim missionaries—and Sultan Kudarat. Customary law (adat) is adhered to, embodied in oral traditions and in accordance with the Paluwaran code which contains provisions on every aspect of life.

       The culture is characteristically lowland with a special adaptation to marshland. Wet rice, the staple, is produced. Arts and crafts are well-developed, exhibiting sophistication in weaving and metalworking, with very characteristic design motifs that show affinity with the rest of Southeast Asia, yet retaining a distinctive ethnic character.


Distribution of Ethnic Groups by Provinces
(Arrangement: Population count)
Total National Population 1,649,882
Abra 33
Agusan del N. 70
Agusan del S. 147 (NM 1989:130)
Aklan 49
Albay 41
Antique 9
Aurora 21
Basilan 124
Bataan 100
Batanes 6
Batangas 167
Benguet 74
Bohol 19
Bukidnon 123 (NM 1991:100)
Bulacan 689
Cagayan 12
Camarines S. 185
Capiz 32
Cavite 630
Cebu 100
Davao 2,450
Davao Or. 459
Davao S. 2,731
E. Samar 19
Ilocos N. 47
Ilocos S. 61
Iloilo 152
Isabela 31
La Union 28
Laguna 495
Lanao N. 579
Lanao S. 3,495
Leyte 191
Maguindanao 469,216
Masbate 19
Misamis Or. 62
Negros Occ. 53
Negros Or. 137
N. Cotabato 122,683
N. Ecija 223
Occ. Mindoro 21
Or. Mindoro 94
Palawan 1,076
Pangasinan 102
Quezon 123
Quirino 10
Rizal 619
Romblon 10
W. Samar 22
Sorsogon 21
S. Cotabato 38,238
S. Leyte 10
S. Kudarat 78,435
Surigao del N. 88
Surigao del S. 176
Tarlac 124
Tawi-Tawi 10
Zambales 495
Zamboanga N. 3,976
Zamboanga S. 28,962
Kalookan 435
Las Pinas 319
Manila 6,361
Marikina 121
Malabon 212
Makati 549
Muntinlupa 216
Navotas 81
Paranaque 123
Pasay 599
Quezon City 1,892
San Juan 65
Valenzuela 366
Davao del N. (NM 1991: 1223)
Davao Or. (NM 1991: 150)
Davao del S. (RC1991: 2100)
Maguindanao (NM 1991:497480)
N. Cotabato (NM 1991:171946)
S. Cotabato (NM 1991: 58895)
S. Kudarat (NM 1993:114549)
Zamboanga del S. (NM 1992: 33826)