Bisaya Languages and History – Hiligaynon aka Ilonggo, Cebuano, Waray, Aklanon, Capiznon, Kinaray-a, Bantoanon, Romblomanon, Cuyonon, Tausug

The biggest misconception among Bisaya (Visayan) people is that Cebuano is the only Bisaya language and the only Bisaya people which is totally FALSE


Bisaya is a group of related languages belonging to the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) family.
Spoken in the central and southern Philippines, it is comprised of roughly 25 languages, some near extinction with under 1,000 native speakers and others are spoken by millions.

Hiligaynon, Cebuano, Waray, Aklanon, Capiznon, Kinaray-a, Bantoanon, Romblomanon, Cuyonon, etc.
Bisaya languages in Mindanao Cebuano, Ilonggo. Surigaonon, Butuanon.

Panay, Romblon, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Leyte, and Samar

Hiligaynon, Cebuano, Waray, Aklanon, Capiznon, Kinaray-a, Bantoanon, Romblomanon, Cuyonon and many other Bisaya languages.

  1. Bisaya Island of Panay:
    Hiligaynon is the spoken Bisaya language in Iloilo and Roxas,
    Karay-a / Kinaray-a is the spoken Bisaya language in Antique and parts of Iloilo.
    Aklanon is the spoken Bisaya language in Aklan
    Capiznon is the spoken Bisaya language in Capiz.
  2. Bisaya Island of Negros:
    Cebuano is the spoken Bisaya language in Negros Oriental.
    Hiligaynon is the spoken Bisaya language in Negros Occidental.
  3. Bisaya Island of Cebu.
    Cebuano is the spoken Bisaya language in Cebu.
  4. Bisaya Island of Bohol
    Boholano (local version of Cebuano language).
  5. Bisaya Island of Leyte:
    Waray is the spoken Bisaya language in Northern Leyte.
    Cebuano is the spoken Bisaya language in Southern Leyte.
  6. Bisaya Island of Samar:
    Waray is the spoken Bisaya language in Eastern Samar.
    Cebuano is the spoken Bisaya language in Southern Samar.
  7. Bisaya Island of Romblon:
    Rombloanon is the spoken Bisaya language in Romblon.
  8. Mindanao is not in the Bisaya islands but many Bisaya people migrated in the 1940s.
    Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Surigaonon, Butuanon & Tausug are the spoken Bisaya languages in Mindanao.

In 1940’s, Heavy migration from Bisaya islands of Panay, Cebu, Negros to Mindanao spurred by government-sponsored resettlement programs is the reason why 90% of Mindanao people speak the Cebuano language. Other Bisaya language spoken in Mindanao is Cebuano, Ilonggo. Surigaonon, Butuanon.

Top 3 Most Spoken Bisaya Languages:
(1.) Cebuano 20 million;
(2.) Hiligaynon 10 million;
(3.) Waray 3 million;


Ilonggo Is also Bisaya


The origin of the Bisaya tribes in BISAYA islands

Bisaya is an indigenous people from the northwest coast of East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. Their population is concentrated around Beaufort, Kuala Penyu, Menumbok, Sipitang, Labuan Federal Territory and in Limbang District, Sarawak. The Bisaya tribe has many similarities with the Dusun Tatana tribe, especially in terms of language. It is evident that some of their dialogical language conversations are almost identical if they have a dialogue with each other. Nowadays the Bisaya living in Sabah are Muslim, while the Bisaya living in Sarawak are mostly Christianity. In Brunei, they are referred as Dusun, Jati Dusun and Bisaya (Though they are not to be confused with the Dusun people of Sabah). The Bisaya people are also regarded as a relatives of the Dayak people whereas Bisaya was not brought into Borneo instead they are aboriginal of the land.

Introduction / History

The Bisaya of Malaysia is located in western Sabah along the northern coast of Brunei Bay and also in northern Sarawak along the rivers which flow into Brunei Bay. Inhabiting the middle reaches of the Limbang River, they are often called “people of the middle” or “people of the river”.

The Bisayan culture and language are quite similar to that of the Sabah Dusun and related groups in Brunei and Sarawak. In fact, some believe that the culture area should be labeled Bisaya-Dusun. The Bisayan language, Basaya, is a part of the North Indonesian branch of the Austronesian language family.

The Bisaya in Malaysia live among the much larger Malay groups. However, local Malays are important to the Bisaya, as they supply them with buffalo, boats, seafood, and Malay medicines. Although they have borrowed some customs from surrounding peoples, the Muslim Bisaya remain culturally unique.

Origin and etymology

Several theories have been put forward by various researchers regarding the origins of the name of the Bisaya people. Beyer H.O. in 1926, Hester E.D. in 1954 and Harrison in 1956 suggested that the name may have come from the empire of Sri Vijaya (Sonza, 1972). However, in 1960, Eugene Vestraelen (Professor of Linguistics at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City) cautioned that the linguistic derivation of Vijaya would not be Bisaya but Bidaya, or Biraya.

Another theory was suggested by John Carroll:

According to John Carroll (1961:499-541), the term Visaya might be the Sanskrit Vaisya, denoting the 3rd caste of the Hindu caste system. The Philippine term Bisaya as found in Malay writings meant ‘slave’ or ‘the country of slaves’ and referred to a geographical area of the Philippines where slaves are formerly found and captured.— Joh Carroll, The word Bisaya in the Philippines and Borneo, Sarawak Museum Journal, 1960


First Malay Settlement?  Malandog, Hamtic, Antique Province, Philippines

Based on facts compiled in a book Maragtas by Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro, written in 1907, there are legends which tells the story of the ten chiefs (Datus) who escaped from the tyranny of Datu Makatunaw from Borneo to the islands of Panay. The chiefs and followers are believed to be the ancestors of the Visayan people. The arrival is celebrated in the Festival of the Ati-Atihan in Kalibo, Aklan.

The origin of the term “Visayan “ is unclear. Some sources say it refers to Shri Vijaya, the ancient island Southeast Asian empire to which the original Visayans supposedly belonged. Others consider the term a literal rendering of the Visayan sadya or the Tagalog saya, meaning happiness. The latter version appears to stem from the stereotype that Visayans are a generally laid-back, fun loving and happy-go-lucky people. But as Visayans themselves would put it, they are a hardworking people who just know how to enjoy life.

Despite two scholars, Juan Francisco and Lourdes Rausa-Gomez, debunking this myth way back in the 1960-70s in scholarly journals and at least one book.

History: Tausug is part of the Bisaya family

Bisaya is a group of related languages belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian family. Spoken in the central and southern Philippines, it is comprised of roughly 25 languages, some near extinction with under 1,000 native speakers and others spoken by millions. Bisaya includes Cebuano, Hiligaynon , Aklanon, Capiznon, Kinaray-a, Bantoanon, Romblomanon, Cuyonon, Waray, Surigaonon, Butuanon, Tausog, etc. Spoken by approximately 28 million people, the Bisaya language family has the largest number of native speakers in the Philippines.

Dr Jecon Dreisbach a PhD in Critical sociolinguistics Politics of Philippine languages, identity, migration, culture, & media he said, ” Is Bisaya a language? No. It is a language family consisting of languages spoken in the Visayas and northern Mindanao. Bisayan languages include Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Karay-a, and Surigaonon, among others.”

Common Misconception of Ilonggo & Hiligaynon

Another misunderstood language is Hiligaynon. A lot of uninformed people refer to Ilonggo as a language which is wrong.

Ilonggo is not a language. Ilonggo means the people of Iloilo who trace their ethnic roots or bloodline to Iloilo province. The majority of the Ilonggos in Iloilo speak the Hiligaynon language; in some parts of Iloilo near Antique, some Ilonggos speak Kinaray-a. Hiligaynon is also the language in Bacolod and Negros Occidental provinces, Roxas, Guimaras, and parts of Cotabato in Mindanao. For Detail watch

The term “Ilonggo” is derived from the Spanish term “irong-irong”, referring to the Filipino word for nose (“ilong”) and an islet in the Batiano River in Panay. “Ilonggo” is considered to define a specific group of people whose ethnic origins are in the provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras, and Panay, while “Hiligaynon” defines the language and culture of the Ilonggo people.Thus, both terms are interchangeable in referring to the culture of the people or the people themselves


Watch Ilonggo is NOT a language

Common Bisaya words in different Bisaya Languages: Hiligaynon aka Ilonggo, Cebuano, Waray, Aklanon, Capiznon, Kinaray-a, Bantoanon, Romblomanon, Cuyonon, Surigaonon, Butuanon

sugilanon gin biyaan ilambos maguba mando hilabtan nahadlok pabilin mangamoyo balos gasaulog bahandi bulawan pang himakak butang kulba baligya looy tindog ipa dakop padayon sumbag humay kamot lugod bangko katongdanan toyo palibog salig makalingaw pauli unod tag iya kasayoran ma pinalanggaon matumba gilauman kapoy ungangan didto tomar kanta palihog sugod nasiplatan toltolan katol batasan matahom atop mag basol basolon maka tambong galampos hulat bahin hinay duaw kahoyan pangitaon maayo maanad balibaran luib gaba hinolsol bulag takna atobang bisan tognaw tiil makahibalo pasabton abe pinaagi hubog agdahon tingoha buhian kalimtan samtang pasaylo kaayohan tan awon dasma manguha ipatoman dumot kalibutan tinguha nabilin kinahanglanon dugay silingan dugang talaw ginadayonan mahibal-an madakpan hibalo dakpan kabaklaan tugutan pugong tawganay malipayon kurog hubag halokan paagi gakos simhotan lipong kaugalingon pirme kulbaan gamiton sogilanon tilawan nag dayon mahibal an atobangon atimanon hatagan tagaan labi na katalagman padolong pag-abot manduan dako dakpon hitabo kuhaon mangayo ihabla ipasaka istorya daug win pananglitan lapas kawat kasuguan kastigo akto dukol bag o kaunon ninyo mahimo mangita aw kada adlaw niadtong ika duha tanan sakop natabo nahitabo pag ikaayo batok tawo sulod basihan bug-at sa aton ato pagdako lawas kabataan desidido ka lain lain, homay, padulong saka logos gihapon gihigugma tago gubaon kamo pangibabaw palayo himoon sablagan pangitaa sala ,Ila nga nakit an, gina duso mabalik bayaran ibobo danlog ibabaw gahom kinahanglan paglupad mga balay unong dagway pamahaw Katingalahan nakahibalo lingaw agwanta pundo pa kusoga isog singgit katoltol buut kadugay kalimti makaluto kaon mahatagan pagpaiuli nabalaka makigkita utro ginatuman lagom kabukiran tyabaw nahuman mandoan matoman mabuhat ginikanan nahulog ulanan pamati dira init diri pahibalo tomanon tonga dal-on dala makig – away ipakita subo amiga amigo kusog buhaton nawong bana mahadlok tan-awon baybayon pahilabot abot bawion kawatan kabalos kabalo testingi palangga lumba gagmay katawhan tagsa pagkabutang pagsaulog tomana dungag andam naa makatodlo basi eksakto sala. pagtoo magulang karon later sudlan imo hinlo lubot anogon manunudlo pasudlon Kaayo angkon tilaw damgo silot palibot agay tungod tingala samad pani bag-o sandig giban tog labot butangan luto pagkaon pahulay kalamay dalhon gyud bukal Lipong suya ginhawa pongko Adlaw kwarta kutog Tohog agi Tiil batiis tahi. Tindog kontra sulong nangayo libak pakaon antos huway masaligan baskog panulay niwang Tabon tolon piyong salawayon polo tuig lomos baso Dugang Gamay togotan Mando sag ob sungayon baybay suba buhi Tan Panimalay tabang manghod lab as pila buang lavyan bugaw ihawon pugngan gasaulog. bahandi. bangkol dakpon, padoding laum hagad lambos panimalay Mantinir batasn Bahandi. Bulawan SUMBAG Halokan Gakos Tilawan Logos Mahimo Sugilanon Gihapon Gihigugma Tago Dumot Gubaon Maayo Dakpon Padayon Kamo Pangibabaw Palayo Himoon Sablagan Sala Gina Natabo Mabalik Bayaran Ibobo Danlog Ibabaw Gahom Hinay Kinahanglan Paglupad Nakahibalo Sulod Lingaw Nag Katoltol Buut Kadugay Bisan Didto Takna Makaluto Kaon Mahatagan Pagpaiuli Nabalaka Makigkita Utro Ginatuman Lagom Kabukiran Mag Gagmay Katawhan Tagsa Pagkabutang Tomana Tambong Naa Makatodlo Basi Eksakto Lapas Sala Pahibalo Pagtoo Pag Magulang Looy Karon Kawatan Sudlan Maguba Imo Malipayon Bana Istorya Ginikanan Hinlo


Ilonggo Is also Bisaya


Ilonggo is not a language

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