The Word BISAYA Confusion Answered

Sources: University of the Philippines Library Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Waray, Hiligaynon, Cebuano, Kinaray-a, Aklanon, Capiznon, Bantoanon, Rombloanon, Cuyonon, Surigaonon, Butuanon, and Tausug ARE ALL BISAYA people and ALL are part of the BISAYA Language family.

The Biggest Confusion of most Cebuano speaking people in Cebu, Mindanao, and Dumaguete is that almost all of them think that Cebuanos are the only Bisaya people, and almost all of them think that Bisaya is the Cebuano language which is totally False. This is like hijacking Bisaya term away from other Bisaya people like the Hiligaynons, Karay-a, Aklanon, Waray, etc and depriving them of the Bisaya identity.

Who Are the Bisaya or Visayan People?

Bisaya is derived from the word Visayas.

So Visayas - s = Visaya changed V to B = Bisaya

Bisaya really means different Visayan people, who live in different parts of Visayas Islands, who speak different Visayan languages such as Cebuano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Aklanon, Capiznon, Kinaray-a, Bantoanon, Romblomanon, Cuyonon, Waray, Surigaonon, Butuanon, Tausog, etc.

Cebu is not the only island in Visayas therefore Cebuano is not the only Bisaya people in the islands and not the only Bisaya language. The people in Panay, Negros, Bohol, Leyte, and Samar are also Bisaya people and speak Bisaya languages because for the fact that they live in Visayas Islands also.

The major BISAYA islands are the following:


There are many BISAYA languages

BISAYA Language Family:

Cebuano is BISAYA language spoken most of Mindanao, Cebu, Dumaguete, and part of Samar.

Hiligaynon or Ilonggo is BISAYA language spoken in Bacolod, Iloilo, and Roxas.

Aklanon is BISAYA language spoken in Aklan.

Capiznon is BISAYA language spoken in Capiz.

Kinaray-a is BISAYA language spoken in Antique.

Asi also known as Bantoanon, Calatravanhon, Odionganon, Sibalenhon, Simaranhon, is BISAYA language spoken in Romblon.

Cuyononis BISAYA language spoken on the coast of Palawan and the Cuyo Islands in the Philippines.

Waray is BISAYA language spoken in the provinces of Samar, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte (eastern portion), and Biliran.

Surigaonon is BISAYA language spoken in the province of Surigao del Norte, and some portion of Agusan del Norte especially those towns near the Mainit Lake. It is related to Butuanon and Tausug.

Samples of Bisaya Songs:

Waray = Waray-Waray

Kinray-a = Mauli ako sa Antique

Hiligaynon (ilonggo) = Kuring - Pirot


Bisaya is NOT a specific to Cebuano language only which most people from Mindanao, Cebu, Dumaguete think which is totally based on wrong assumption.

Bisaya refers NOT only to Cebuano but ALSO to Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Aklanon, Capiznon, Kinaray-a, Bantoanon, Romblomanon, Cuyonon, Waray, Surigaonon, Butuanon, Tausog, etc.

Bisaya or Visayas is one of the three island groups in the Philippines, along with Luzon and Mindanao. It consists of several islands, primarily surrounding the Visayan Sea. Its inhabitants are referred to as the Visayans or Bisayans.

What started this big confusion? I think the main reason this misunderstanding started by Max Surban and Yoyo Villame's songs who referred to Cebuano as Bisaya in some of their popular songs in which many people in Cebu and Mindanao listened and subconsciously absorbed the wrong terminology.

Suprisingly, if you ask the people in Panay, Negros, etc they know that their language is also Bisaya and they also know that they are Bisaya people because they live in the Visayas Islands.

Also you will be surprised when you fill out a document to work overseas because you will not see a bisaya language among Filipino list of languages, that's because bisaya is a group of Visayan languages which includes Cebuano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Aklanon, Capiznon, Kinaray-a, Bantoanon, Romblomanon, Cuyonon, Waray, Surigaonon, Butuanon, Tausog, etc.

Visayans (also spelled Bisayans) generally refer to people who trace their roots to the Bisayan-speaking region in central Philippines. This region includes the islands of Panay, Romblon, Guimaras, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Leyte, Biliran and Samar.

However, because of migration over time, a large part of Mindanao (from Zamboanga up to northern Mindanao and down to Davao and Cotabato) is now largely populated by Visayans. Thus, it is not uncommon for people from Mindanao to call themselves “Visayan,” especially if they are native speakers of the Bisaya language.

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.

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.


Sources: University of the Philippines Library Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines



Ilonggo is not an ethnic group. It's a citizenship. Ilonggos are the people living in Iloilo. Hiligaynon ang lahi. Dili Ilonggo. Unlike Cebuano nga lahi ug lenguahe.


Ang mga tawo sa isla sa Panay ang una nga gintawag Bisaya sa mga Kastila. Kay naa silay government na "Kadatuan sang Madja-as". Usa ka faction sa Sri Vijaya.


Ang isla sa Panay gitawag sa una "Las Islas de Bisayas". Ang Isla sa Samar ug Leyte gintawag "Las Islas de Filipinas". Ang Cebu ug Bohol "Las Islas de Pintados".


Ang termino nga Bisaya gikan sa "Sri Vijaya". Ang Vijaya gin hispanized into "Bisaya"(Plural: Bisayas). Visayas is an English term for the the Spanish term "Bisayas".


During the last years of the Philippine Revolution, Visayas established its own Federal Republic.

It was called "Estado Federal de Bisayas"

consist of:

Estado de Panay (Including Romblon)
Republica de Negros
Estado de Cebu
Republica de Bohol
Distrito Militar de Leyte
Distrito Militar de Samar
Distrito Militar de Marinduque

The seat of the Government was in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo.

Most Filipinos don't know the history of their ancestors. Most Filipinos' historical knowledge starts with Lapu-lapu only. lol