The great majority of the people of the Philippines belong to the Malay group and are known as Filipinos. Other groups include the Negritos (negroid pygmies) and the Dumagats (similar to the Papuans of New Guinea), and there is a small Chinese minority. The Filipinos live mostly in the lowlands and constitute one of the largest Christian groups in Asia. Roman Catholicism is professed by over 80% of the population; 5% are Muslims (concentrated on Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago; see Moros); about 2% are Aglipayans, members of the Philippine Independent Church, a nationalistic offshoot of Catholicism (see Aglipay, Gregorio); and there are Protestant and Evangelical groups. The official languages are Pilipino, based on Tagalog, and English; however, some 70 native languages are also spoken.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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