The indigenous peoples of the Philippines consist of a large number of indigenous ethnic groups living in the country. They are the descendants of the original inhabitants of thePhilippines who have managed to resist centuries of Spanish and United States colonization and in the process have retained their customs and traditions. CThe Philippine islands are inhabited by a number of different ethnic groups. The majority of the population is composed of ethnolinguistic groups whose languages are Austronesianalso known as Malayo-Polynesian in origin.
Many of these groups converted toChristianity, particularly the lowland-coastal groups, and adopted many foreign elements of culture. These ethnic groups include the Cebuano, Ilocano, Pangasinense, Kapampangan,Tagalog, Bicolano, Waray, Surigaonon and Hiligaynon also called Ilonggo. In Mindanao, there are indigenous groups who practice Islam. The Spanish called themMoros after the Moors (despite no resemblance or cultural ties to them apart from their religion).
In some highland areas of Mindanao, there are mountain-dwelling ethnic groups collectively known as lumad. These people do not practice Islam, and maintain their animistic beliefs and traditions. The Negrito are a pre-Mongoloid people who migrated from mainland Asia and were one of the earliest human beings to settle the Philippines, around 30,000 years ago.  (The known first being that of the people of the Callao Man remains) The Negrito population are estimated to number around 30,000.
Their tribal groups include the Ati, and the Aeta. Their ways of life remain mostly free from Western and Islamic influences. Scholars study them to try to understand pre-Hispanic culture. Most Filipinos are Malayo-Polynesian, another term for Austronesian. Other ethnic groups form a minority in the Philippine population. These include those of Japanese, Han Chinese, Indians, Americans, Spanish, Europeans, and other ethnic groups from other countries. Mixed-race individuals are known as Filipino mestizo.
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