Native toPhilippines
RegionAgusan del Norte and Surigao provinces, Mindanao
Native speakers
(5,200 cited 1990 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mmn

The Mamanwa language is a Central Philippine language spoken by the Mamanwa people. It is spoken in the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte in the Lake Mainit area of Mindanao, Philippines. It had about 5,000 speakers in 1990.

Mamanwa is a grammatically conservative language, retaining a three-way deictic distinction in its articles which elsewhere is only preserved in some of the Batanic languages.[2][3]

Before the arrival of Mamanwa speakers in central Samar Island, there had been an earlier group of Negritos on the island.[4] According to Lobel (2013), the Samar Agta may have switched to Waray or Northern Samarenyo, or possibly even Mamanwa.

In addition to this, Francisco Combes, a Spanish friar, had observed the presence of Negritos in the Zamboanga Peninsula "in the Misamis strip" in 1645, although no linguistic data had ever been collected.[5]


  1. ^ Mamanwa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Ross, Malcolm (2005). "The Batanic Languages in Relation to the Early History of the Malayo-Polynesian Subgroup of Austronesian" (PDF). Journal of Austronesian Studies. 1 (2): 1–24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-03-04.
  3. ^ Miller & Miller 1976.
  4. ^ Lobel 2013, p. 92.
  5. ^ Lobel 2013, p. 93.

General references