Masbateño people

Masbateño people

The Masbateño are part of the wider Visayan ethnolinguistic group, who constitute the largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group.



Masbateños live in the Masbate province of the Philippines, which they share with the Hiligaynon. Masbate is part of Bicol Region.


The Masbateño number about 623,000. They are the descendants of the Austronesian-immigrants who came from South China during the Iron Age who probably came to Masbate after reaching the more southern Visayan islands. Masbateños may be considered Visayans by language but are Bicolano by region. They speak the Masbateño language and almost all practice Roman Catholicism.


More than half of the people of Masbate speak Masbateño a language that is closely related to Hiligaynon and Capiznon. However, in various municipalities of the island, various other languages are spoken. In the vicinity of the towns of Cataingan, Palanas, and Dimasalang, most residents speak Waray or Sinamarleyte. In Pio Corpuz the people speak Cebuano while in Placer and in the west coast along coast of Mandaon Hiligaynon is spoken. On Ticao and Burias, Bicol is spoken by the residents.

The province of Masbate is known as cattle country. The cattle breed found on the island was taken from herds in India that have flourished in the benign climate of the island. The province is the second largest supplier of cattle that is brought to Manila for slaughter. This industry has inspired the establishment of a 'Rodeo Filipino' on the third week of June. This festival features a week-long tournament of bull riding, cattle wrestling, lassoing, calf casting, post driving, carabao racing and a host of other ‘rodeo’ games. This unique observance is also accompanied by cattle raising contests, a trade fair and parades, much like the rodeos in the American West.


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