The Tagbanwa (Tagbanuwa, Apurahuano, Tagbanua, Kalamian, Calamiano, Kalamianon, Kalamianen, Tangdula’nen, Silanga’nen, Tagbanoua) are the more dominant of the ethnic groups of Palawan. Mainly associated with dry regimes of cultivation, they are found in central Palawan and northward of the island. The area of concentrations are in Coron (4,366 NSO 1990), Aborlan (3,115 NSO 1980), and Puerto Princesa (1,415 NSO 1980). The known subgroups in the mainland are (1) Apurahuan, (2) Inagauan, (3) Tandula’nen, and (4) Silanga’nen, while (5) the Kalamianen of the Calamian island group constitute more variable groups that are marine-oriented. The estimated total population is 13,643 (NSO 1990).

       The group is known for their highly involved ritual, the pagdiwata, which is held in celebration of different occasions: a bountiful harvest, weddings, and others. The ritual includes the drinking of rice wine using bamboo straws from stoneware jars traded in from China. The group, too, is one of the few remaining ethnic groups that still utilize their own syllabic writing. Slash-and-burn cultivation is the primary subsistence source.

       The main crop in swiddens is rice, although cassava is a preferred staple. Rice is a ritual food and considered a divine gift from which ritual wine is fermented. Corn is intercropped with rice and others like taro, cassava, and sweet potato. Fishing is an important subsistence source, together with hunting. Income is also partially obtained from forest resources like copal, rattan, and wax. Metal craft is done with the double-bellows forge. The Tagbanwa are one of the few peoples who still use the blowgun.

       While kinship is reckoned bilaterally, there is a bias towards the matrilineal side in terms of residence after marriage. Relationships with affines are tenuous such that “in-law avoidance” is practiced.


Distribution of Ethnic Groups by Provinces
(Arrangement: Population count)
Total National Population 13,643
Agusan del N. 9
Agusan del S. 88
Aklan 9
Benguet 21
Bohol 17
Bukidnon 29
Cavite 11
Davao 10
Davao del S. 20
Ilocos S. 75
Lanao del N. 30
Leyte 10
Misamis Occ. 9
Misamis Or. 24
Negros Occ. 11
N. Cotabato 1,313
N. Ecija 144
Palawan 11,472
Pangasinan 8
Rizal 20
S. Cotabato 10
S. Kudarat 12
Sulu 11
Surigao del N. 21
Zambales 93
Las Pinas 10
Manila 31
Makati 52
. 42
Pasay 10
Quezon City 10
San Juan 11