• Solomon Islands!

    Solomon Islands: Looking up at palm trees. Go Now!

    Solomon Islands
    This Melanesian country is best known for its many islands and beaches... and this natural landscape (pictured) is why most people go. Don't miss out on the unique Melanesian culture and foods though! Begin Your Journey!

  • Tonga!

    Tonga: Coastline. Go Now!

    The heart of Polynesian culture is rooted in Tonga, but most visitors just come for the natural beauty. Explore Tonga!

  • Vanuatu!

    Vanuatu: Jetty into the ocean. Go Now!

    Picturesque serenity is a good way to describe Vanuatu, but the culture offers much more, including the inspiration for bungee jumping, which remains a rite of passage for young men. Explore Vanuatu!

  • Palau!

    Palau: "70 Islands!" Go Now!

    Few people have even heard of this small Micronesian country, but those who have often return with stories of beauty unmatched elsewhere, such as view of the "70 Islands" (pictured). Go Now!

  • Explore the: Federated States of Micronesia!

    Federated States of Micronesia: Overlooking some islands. Go Now!

    Federated States of Micronesia
    This diverse country stretches for thousands of miles and has the diversity to prove it, including the people from Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Yap among others. Begin Your Journey!

  • Samoa!

    Samoa: A traditional home. Go Now!

    Among the most famous of the South Pacific's many countries, Samoa sits in the heart of Polynesia and has a culture to match. Begin Your Journey!

Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Palau


About 70% of Palau's population is Palauan, which is an ethnicity that is often times considered to be Micronesian. The Micronesians are a combination of Melanesian, Polynesian, and Filipino, but the percentage of each of these groups varies. Although widely considered Micronesian, The Palauans have significant traces of Malay and Melanesian, but, like all Micronesians, have traces of Filipino and Polynesian as well. Additionally, many Palauans today have Japanese ancestry due to intermarriage between the two groups in the 1800s and 1900s.

In addition to the Palauans, there is a significant Filipino population in Palau, making up about 15% of the population. The ethnic Chinese make up about 5% of the population and the rest of the people are of multiple ethnicities, including other parts of Asia, Europe, and various regions in Micronesia.


Palau has numerous official languages depending on what state you're in. Generally speaking English and Palauan are official languages throughout the country, but some islands don't recognize English and others don't recognize Palauan as official. Most states also officially recognize additional languages, primarily local Micronesian languages, but on some islands Japanese is recognized (as this was the de facto language of communication in years past). Despite official status, few people are native English speakers and in some areas there are few native Palauan speakers, although these two languages tend to be the languages of communication across groups. Among the many other native languages are Sonsoralese, Tobi, and Angaur. Tagalog (or Filipino) is also widely spoken by Filipino immigrants, but is not officially recognized.

Palauan is a member of the Austronesian language family, but trying to classify it more specifically is up for debate as it is not a Micronesian language and it doesn't seem to belong in other language groupings either. Most linguists suggest it should have its own sub-classification, along with the language of Chamorro. Palauan seems to be more closely related to languages to the west and is generally not considered an Oceanic language, although it is still in the Malayo-Polynesian language grouping.

Most of the many local languages are considered Micronesian languages so they are closely related to the languages of the Federated States of Micronesia as well as Marshallese and Gilbertese, among others.


About 40% of Palau's population is Roman Catholic and another quarter is Protestant, a divide that essentially represents the missionaries that converted many of the people in the past. An additional 10% of the population is Modekngei (or Ngara Modekngei), which is a monotheistic religion founded in Palau in the early 1900s. It contains aspects of Christianity as well as historic Palauan religions.

Continue reading on Safari the Globe to Learn the Catholic Church's doctrines, liturgy, symbolism, traditions, & hierarchy

This page was last updated: May, 2014