Encyclopedia > Barangay

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A barangay is the smallest local government unit in the Philippines and is very similar to a village or a town. Municipalities and cities are composed of barangays.

Each barangay is headed by a barangay captain (punong barangay) who leads the barangay council (sangguniang barangay) composed of barangay councilors (kagawad). Every barangay also has a Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) (Youth council), composed of the SK President or Chairman and SK Councilors, who direct the youth-oriented activities, such as basketball leagues, in the barangay.

Historically, the term barangay refers to a community of around 50 to 100 families. The word itself comes from the Malay balangay which means “boat.” This connection between community and boat supports theories on the history of the pre-colonial Philippines, that being, each original coastal “barangay” formed as a result of a single or a group of settlers arriving by boat from other places in Southeast Asia.

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