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. http://philippines-archipelago.com/
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.