Sunday, May 4, 2014


Google Books
Between Integration and Secession. Yegar, Moshe. “Chapter 17: The Spanish Occupation

Period [p. 204].” 2002. New York: Lexington Books.


Image came from: alexderavin.blogspot.com792

The Yakan of Basilan Island: Another Unknown and Exotic Tribe of the Philippines. Sherfan, Andrew.

“Chapter 1: A General Background on Basilan Island [pp. 16–17]. 1976. Cebu City: Fotomatic.


New York Times. Crossette, Barbara. “In Filipino Port, Lawlessness Grows.” 11 September 1987.


Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University. “Historical Timeline of the Royal

Sultanate of Sulu Including Related Events of Neighboring Peoples.” 1996–2009.



Manila Times. de Viana, Augusto. “‘What ifs’ in Philippine History.” 17 September 2006.

21 Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. “Troubled Return of the Faithful.” June 2003.
Image came from:



2 Koerner, Brendan. “How Islam Got to the Philippines.” 28 January 2005.


Philippines-Archipelago. “Philippines-Archipelago.” 2001–2009.


Encyclopædia Britannica. “Philippines.” 2009.

5 Encyclopædia Britannica. “Basilan.” 2009.

Asia Society. “The Origins of the Muslim Separatist Movement.” 25 August 2008.


Defense Language Institute Foregin Language Center

Images came from:www.positivelyfilipino.com900 × 569
www.socsci.uci.edu273 × 405

Introducing Philippine Politics [p. 12].” 2005. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
47 Economist. “Born of Fire: In Search of Jinn.” 19 December 2006.
48 The Environmental Dimensions of Islam. Dien, Mawil Izzi. “Chapter 6: Islamic Economic Justice and
the Environment [p. 130].” 2000. Cambridge: James Clark and Company.
Images came from:www.olx.ph286 × 345
panlasangpinoy.com640 × 425


Encyclopædia Britannica. “Philippines.” 2009.

Yakan Cultural Language

The Yakan's native language is Arabic, however The Yakan language is written in Malay Arabic script and

native words have been adapted into the alphabet. However, it is difficult for Arabic speakers to read the

Yakan script—the syllables are frequently disconnected and some letters are formed differently. The

structure and syntax reveal strong Malay-Indonesian influences, particularly Javanese, which probably

occurred prior to the introduction of Islam.37 Very few Yakan are literate in their written language or any

language. Though Basilan Island is home to settlers from groups with high literacy rates, it has one of the

lowest provincial averages in the Philippines. Only 69.4% of Basilans are literate, as opposed to a national

average of 92.6%.38 Moreover, schooling increases the likelihood of Yakan moving far from their native



 The Yakan of Basilan Island: Another Unknown and Exotic Tribe of the Philippines. Sherfan, Andrew. 
“Chapter 1: A General Background on Basilan Island [pp. 16–17]. 1976. Cebu City: Fotomatic.

Yakan Cultural Survival

The Yakan tribe is located on the Basilan Island, like the rest of the Philippines, has an economy reliant on 

the export of primary products. Timber has been a traditional source of revenue. At one time lumber 

mills supplied both North American and Asian markets. Basilan is an attractive source of 

highly sought Philippine timber. Moreover, Basilan’s forests can be naturally replenished 

because the Sulu Archipelago is outside the typhoon belt and is therefore not susceptible 

to the devastating environmental degradation which is evident in the denuded northern 

islands.36 Yet security concerns have driven away foreign investors and the revenues 

from timber exports are negligible. Rubber was also an important export in the past and 

an impetus to create rubber plantation farms during the colonial era. Copra, made from 

dried coconut meat, continues to be sold as a cash crop marketed within the country and 

as an export. There is plentiful grazing land and also a potential for owing to 

several large waterfalls on the island. The seas around the island are rich in aquatic 

resources including tuna and sardines. 

Field Museum. Heaney, Lawrence. “The Causes and Effects of Deforestation.” 2007.

Yakan's Music History Backround

The Yakan are farmers for whom both vocal and 

instrumental music is an important part of both the 

agricultural cycle and social interaction. Yakan 

instruments are made out of wood, bamboo, and metal. 

The gabbang is one such instrument. It is made of 

bamboo sectioned into pieces of diminishing size and 

arranged like a xylophone. Around the fields, the 

farmers’ children play the gabbang in order to guard the 

crops from encroaching animals.64 Another instrument of the gabbang family, the 

kwintangan kayu, is like a xylophone hung vertically from a tree branch with bamboo 

slats that taper down to the shortest at its base. During planting season, an open platform 

is built high up in a tree where a musician will play as the rice crop matures. The sounds 

of the kwintangan kayu serenade the seedlings, just as a Yakan lover uses music to woo 

the object of his affections. “Its resonance is believed to gently caress the plants, rousing 

them from their deep sleep, encouraging them to grow and yield more fruit.”65 

There are several types of Yakan vocal music. Lugu are melodies that accompany oral 

readings of the Quran. Kelangan are one of several varieties of courting songs sung at 

gatherings by soloists and male and female groups who sing back and forth. The katakata 

is publicly sung Yakan oral history. Rooted in the animist tradition, the Yakan believe 

that such stories of their ancestry come from beings who originated in otherworldly 



64 “Yakan: Performing Arts.” Ting, Gwendalene. 1999. 
65 National Commission for Culture and the Arts. de la Paz, Salvo. “National Living Treasure Awardees.” 

Yakan Migrations and Diaspora

When it comes to Migrations and Diaspora the Yakan Tribe was a group of people that Migrated to the

Basilan Island. There was no one from the Yakan tribe that left the Basilan Island to travel to another, the

Yakan tribe is one culture that stays together and move as a unit. Basilan Island, home of the Yakan tribe, is

part of the Sulu Archipelago, which extends from Mindanao and is comprised of volcanic and coral islands.

The origins of the Yakan people are a matter of some debate. While some believe they

are descendants of people who migrated from present-day Papua New Guinea, the Yakan

believe their descent stems from people who lived in Borneo and Malaysia. It is certainly

understandable that they would prefer to trace their ancestry to peoples that were early

converts to Islam rather than the non-Muslim Papuan tribes. Physical resemblance tends

to strengthen this claim. Most Yakan have straight black hair and the slight build

associated with the Malay rather than the more Negroid features of the Papuans.17 The

name Yakan is derived from a misunderstanding; the Spanish thought the name of an

island tree, the Yakal, referred to the island’s inhabitants.


 Philippines-Archipelago. “Philippines-Archipelago.” 2001–2009.

17 The Yakan of Basilan Island: Another Unknown and Exotic Tribe of the Philippines. Sherfan, Andrew.
“Chapter 1: A General Background on Basilan Island [pp. 16–17]. 1976. Cebu City: Fotomatic.

Yakan and their Neighbors

The Moros Tribe are the Yakan neighbors. The Moros are also known as the Muslims as the Moors,

they were later called the Moros because they shared the same religion as the people of Berber and

Arab descents who once colonized Spain. Islam provided a form of spiritual resistance to Christian

colonization after the Spanish secured control of the northern Philippine islands in the 16th century.

Not so long after that took place, the Moros regarded European imperialism as an assault on the

sanctity of Islam and not without cause—the Spanish had a missionary agenda in addition to

furthering their economic interests. The Spanish would fight the Moros for 300 years in an effort to

exploit natural resources and gain control over the shipping lanes connecting Southeast Asia to the




Encyclopædia Britannica. “Philippines.” 2009.

Birds of the Yakan Culture

In the Yankan Culture there aren't that many Birds in their region. There is one bird that's very

important to their culture  and that bird goes by the name "Manok". In America we know the bird as

our traditional roster. In the Yakan Culture the Manok Bird is used for ceremonies and also for

cooking. the Monok is something that the Yakan tribe idealized because the bird has brought them so

many good things. The Culture of Basilan are derived from the Yakan, Tausug and the Chavacano t

ribes in the manok-manok (bird) motifs are the most common.

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