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The Yakans are concentrated in Tipo-tipo ,Lamitan, Sumisip, and Tuburan in the Basilan Island of ARMM. There are also scattered populations on the islands of Sakol, Malanipa, and Tumalutad east of the Zamboanga Peninsula. The word Yakan means “Dayak Origin,” as they are believed to be descendants of the Orang Dyaks or Tagihamas of eastern Indonesia. They speak a dialect of Sama language and are culturally influenced in some respect by the Tausug.

The Yakans’ chief means of livelihood is farming, and they usually cultivate upland rice. They do not normally live in compact villages, building their houses just out of sight of their nearest neighbors, on their plots of farmland. 

The prominent person in each community of Yakan is the iman, who combines both religious and sociopolitical leadership. The Yakans are famous for their beautiful weaving and their colorful traditional clothes and customs.