The island of Basilan just off the southern tip of the Zamboanga peninsula of western Mindanao, and the islands of Sakol, Malanipa, and Tumalutab east of Zamboanga are inhabited by the Yakan. There is an estimated population of about 86,926 in the island of Basilan alone; largely concentrated in the municipalities of Tipo-Tipo (25,368), Lamitan (14,003), Sumisip (18,777), and Tuburan (19,349 NSO 1990). The dispersal in other parts of the country brings an estimated total population of 119,865 (NM 1990).

       The language is closely related to the Sama, but the culture of the people is adapted to land orientation rather than the sea for those living inland. Agriculture is largely upland rice, although copra is also widespread. The religion is Islamic with syncretic elements from traditional and indigenous beliefs.

       The Yakan are well known for their elaborate dress, items of which are almost similar for both male and female. Noteworthy of these articles of dress is the 15-meter long red sash—the kandit. Textile weaving done on the back strap loom is much sought after, especially because of the intricate and beautiful motifs.


Distribution of Ethnic Groups by Provinces
(Arrangement: Population count)
Total National Population 104,591
+ 15,274
Surigao del S. 101
Aklan 53
Antique 11
Basilan 86926 (NM, 1992:102200)
Bataan 10
Aurora 64
Benguet 42
Bukidnon 295
Bulacan 113
Camarines S. 9
Cebu 10
Davao 423
Davao del S. 71
Davao Or. 1,378
Iloilo 37
Kalinga-Apayao 10
La Union 10
Laguna 29
Negros Occ. 19
Nueva Vizcaya 22
Or. Mindoro 78
Palawan 160
Pampangaq 9
Pangasinan 85
Quezon 10
Rizal 245
Romblon 4
S. Cotabato 960
Sulu 74
Surigao del N. 10
Surigao del S. 606
Tawi-Tawi 297
Zambales 19
Zamboanga N. 811
Zamboanga S. 11,193
Kalookan 10
Las Pinas 21
Manila 10
Marikina 61
Malabon 31
Makati 188
Navotas 21
Paranaque 20
Quezon City 11
San Juan 11
Taguig 13