Negrito drawing (cc: Antiguo de la Biblioteca).

Negritos are indigenous ethnic groups found throughout Southeast Asia. They are short, dark-skinned and resemble African pygmies. However, they are genetically more closely related to Southeast Asians. Negritos migrated into the Philippines about 30,000 years ago.

Photo: Book illustration of a Negrito (Creative Commons: Antiguo de la Biblioteca).

Negritos in Southeast Asia

The Negrito peoples can be found in India (Andaman Islands), Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines. They were hunters and gatherers living in isolated parts of these countries. Their hunting and gathering lifestyle only supports a small population. Thus, their populations numbered only a few thousand.

Over time, they have been slowly absorbed into the larger cultures. In Taiwan, they are now an extinct cultural group. The Negrito groups have similar physical traits. However, genetic research indicates no common ancestry between the Andaman, continental Asian and Philippine groups.

Negritos in the Philippines

There are several Negrito groups living in the Philippines. The Aeta are centered on the island of Luzon. They may be the oldest of the Negrito groups in the Philippines. The Ati Negritos are found in the Visayas (Panay, Cebu, and Negros). The Ati are thought to have originally come from Borneo.

Batak Negritos are concentrated in Northern Palawan. Fewer than 500 are left. The Mamanwa are found on Leyte and northern Mindanao. The Mamanwa are thought to have common origins with peoples from New Guinea and Australia.

Improving Your Reading and Thinking Skills

Think for a few moments. Try to recall the major ideas in this article. When you are done, click the box below for a list of main ideas.


How did you do? With practice, you should be able to identify many of the major ideas. You may even discover some important ideas that aren’t listed.


The Negrito and allied types in the Philippines, David P. Barrows.


Leave a Reply

2 comments on "Negritos: Indigenous People of Southeast Asia"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Webster Gabiana

I learned that Negritos migrated in the philippine about 30.000 years ago.
I learned that Negritos survive in 300000 years.
now i learned every thing.

Ronand Abella

Negritos migrated in the Philippines about 30,000 years ago.
Negritos are short, dark-skinned and resemble African pygmies.
Negritos are found in India,Malaysia,Taiwan Thailand,and the Philippines.
Negritos hunting and gathering life style only support a small population.