photo from mybarong2.com

The Tagalog are the most dominant ethnic group in the Philippines. The national capital are their domain. The national language and costume are theirs too.

Language: Tagalog
Ancestral Domain: Land around Lake Bay, most of CALABARZON, and Marinduque
Cultural Center: Batangas
Native God: Bathala
Religious Rituals: Subli



Tagalog Ancestral Territory
Ancestral territory of the Tagalog, consisting of the Isthmus of Manila, the land surrounding Lake Bay, and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, as well as Marinduque


The Philippine capital — "Imperial Manila" as the countryside disapprovingly calls it — is a Tagalog domain. The Filipino language, enforced by law within the country almost as though all other Philippine languages are non-Filipino, is the Tagalog's language. The national costume, less the Spanish overtones, is Tagalog. And if America hadn't interfered, the Philippines would be known, not as the Republic of the Philippines, but the Republic of Tagalog. Although Metro Manila is the Tagalog’s biggest metropolis, the city of Batangas remains the center of Tagalog culture.


By how dominant they are, you probably imagined the Tagalog to be a domineering race who'd use any amount of force to control others. No, it’s quite the reverse. The Tagalog are the most polite and diplomatic folk in the country. Their etiquette are very refined, and this high degree of civility is embodied permanently in their language, which is one that's very soft and natively nice and courteous.

Malakas and Maganda
The First Man and Woman in Tagalog
Mythology: Malakas and Maganda


The Tagalog's self-assumed initiative to lead may be deep-seated in origin. Before Christianity arrived in the Philippines, the Tagalog have this mythology that all people are brothers, having been born of the same couple — Malakas (The Strong) and Maganda (The Beautiful). All human beings once lived in the same family, until, fleeing an exasperated father who came after them with a stick, the siblings spread throughout the world. The children who took refuge in rooms became monarchs and nobles, the siblings who hid behind walls became slaves, the ones who sneaked into the fireplace became the black Negritos, those who ran out of the house became freemen, and still others who ventured beyond the sea came back as foreigners. Even though these peoples have scattered, they're still brothers. And since all Philippine peoples are brothers, they should be one nation: the Tagalog sees to that.

Bathala, the ancient god of the Tagalog, is best seen in lightning and thunderbolt


Also known as Maykapal, Bathala is the supreme god of the ancient Tagalog. Bathala defeated the Ocean by pelting rocks on her, rocks which became the Philippine islands. Vastly powerful and formidable, Bathala strikes his enemies dead with lightning and thunderbolt. He was absorbed into Christianity as the Philippine name for Yahweh, and is indeed a near-perfect counterpart for a God who comes in a cloud of fire, from which come flashes of lightning and peals of thunder.

Jose Rizal
Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero,
a Tagalog

Prominent Member

The Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal, is a Tagalog. He authored a series of two novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, both bringing to light the injustices perpetrated by Spanish colonizers and Christian priests in the 19th century. Rizal awakened early in his youth to the love of his country, including his native language, of which he wrote a poem in his childhood.


“This language (Tagalog) is like that of others, with their own alphabet and their own characters,” Rizal wrote in his poem, To My Fellow Youth. Indeed, the Philippines had an alphabet of its own called Baybayin, and it was the Tagalog who first invented the script, etched primarily on bamboo shells and banana leaves.

Baybayin on Bamboo Shell
Baybayin, the native Philippine alphabet, invented by the Tagalog (photo from mts.net)


Subli and Obando, a fertility dance, are the Tagalog’s sacred dances. Steps from these dances are not confined to the latter two, but have evolved into modern festival dances, such as shown above.


Ethnic Tagalog music is called Kundiman. Only a very few singers, like Melbelline Caluag, performing above, still practice this style of music.

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