Karay-a people

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The Karay-a, are an ethnolinguistic group who inhabited the islands of Panay and Palawan. The name of this group was derived from the word iraya, which means "upstream". Karay-a people speak the Karay-a language, also known as Kinaray-a. The term Hamtikanon, is incorrectly substituted to generally refer to all ethnic Karay-a; however, it pertains to the Karay-a people living in Antique and deals more with location of residence than ethnicity. They are part of the wider Visayan ethnolinguistic group, who constitute the largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group.








The Karay-a number about 363,000. They were first believed to be the descendants of immigrants from Borneo, through the epic-myth of the "Ten Bornean Datus". Recent findings, however, revealed that the ancestors of the Karay-a are the Austronesian-speaking immigrants who came from South China during the Iron Age. They primarily speak Karay-a. Meanwhile, Hiligaynon, Tagalog, and English are used as second languages. Most are Christians. About half are Roman Catholics, and the remaining half are Protestants. Some people belonging to the Suludnon tribe, are animists. As of 2015, there are about 1,300,000 Karay-a speakers all over the country. About 45% from Antique province, 38% from Iloilo and 7% in Mindanao specifically Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato.


Most Karay-a engage in agriculture, as well as in cottage industries. Several towns in Antique have the distinction of producing quality ware ranging from salakot and sawali from Belison, bamboo-craft from San Jose, ceramics from Sibalom, pottery from Bandoja, Tibiao; mats from Pandan and Libertad; and loom-woven patadyong (barrel skirt) from Bagtason, Bugasong, the only one of its kind in the Visayas and well known throughout Panay. Music, such as courtship songs, wedding hymns, and funeral recitals, is well-developed, as it is with dance.