The Pala’wan belong to the large Manobo-based languages of southern Philippines, with two generalized subgroupings. The population number approximately 40,630 and is found in the southern half of the island of Palawan. The Tau’t Batu of Singnapan Valley of Ransang is one of the subgroups occupying a specialized environmental niche. The areas of highest concentrations are in Brooke’s Point (17,875) and Quezon (11,610 NSO 1980). The people, depending on the annual seasonal cycle, move their residences from caves to the open field. One of the unique protein captures are from birds and bats that live in the habitation caves, a subsistence strategy which appears to have been present in the prehistoric Tabon Cave of Quezon.
The Pala’wan are swidden cultivators. The emphasis is on rice, although this is intercropped with many other cultigens including corn, yams, and sweet potato. Cassava is a preferred staple. The architecture is distinctive, composed of multilevels that correspond to specific functions. Very characteristic of the Palawan swidden cultivator is the use of bamboo, saplings, and other longitudinal material in the creation of grids over the field to aid in the control of the distribution of crops.
|Distribution of Ethnic Groups by Provinces
(Arrangement: Population count)
|Total National Population||40,630|
|Agusan del S.||10|
|Davao del S.||11|
|Surigao del N.||55|