The Tagbanuwa (Tagbanoua, Tagbanua) are one of the indigenous peoples of Palawan Island in the Philippines and, aside from the Batak, the only group on the island to have been studied extensively by anthropologists. At the time of first Spanish contact the population of Palawan and nearby islands was comprised of Batak, Tagbanuwa, Palawan, Kenoy, Moro, Kalamian, Agutayano, Kuyono, and Kagayano peoples. In the early 1980s, the total number of Tagbanuwa speakers in the Philippines was estimated at about 14,000. The central regions of Palawan island are the homeland of the Tagbanuwa, with groups now also living in the northern portions of the island and in Quezon Province. Tagbanuwa is an Austronesian language, with a distinction sometimes being made between Central Tagbanuwa and Northern Tagbanuwa.

The traditional economy involved the growing of rice supplemented by maize, millet, taro, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Fishing and hunting provided supplemental foods. The Tagbanuwa are the only people in central Palawan who collect Manila copal, a gum found in the bark of a tree ( Dammara orientalis ) of the pine family. A large portion of trade income comes from the sale of gum, rice, split rattan, wax, and honey. The traditional religion centered on a world of deities, evil spirits, spirit relatives ( tiladmanin ), and the cult of the dead. This is not ancestor worship, and usually includes only veneration of the mother, father, brothers, and sisters.

See also Palawan


Fox, Robert B. (1954). "Religion and Society among the Tagbanuwa of Palawan Island, Philippines." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago.

Warren, Charles P. (1975). "Tagbanuwa." In Ethnic Groups of Insular Southeast Asia, edited by Frank M. LeBar. Vol. 2, Philippines and Formosa, 64-67. New Haven: HRAF Press.

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