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.