Minority groups include the Muslim community, which makes up about 5% of the total population of the Philippines and which has been in the news as many of them are engaged in a long term civil war for the creation of their own homeland. Ethnically and racially, they are the same as other Filipinos but they have increasingly separated themselves from mainstream Philippine life and identified with the worldwide Islamic community. Another 3 % of the population consists of the indigenous tribes, which number about one hundred distinct groups.
As the Filipino communities expanded over the centuries, these indigenous peoples were increasingly isolated from each other in remote pockets of hill and mountain areas. Some of these groups are adapting and blending in well with mainstream culture; others maintain their separate and independent ways.The government has created tribal areas for them, but has put restrictions on the ways they can act within these areas.
The final significant minority group is the Chinese who number around six hundred thousand. Chinese have settled and traded in the Philippine Islands for centuries and have established permanent settlements. Many Chinese have intermarried with Filipinos and many prominent Filipinos such as Past President Corazon Aquino, have mixed Chinese ancestry. However, the Chinese maintain their own identity, their own schools, and a sense of their superiority; they are the least assimilated of the minority groups.