Basilan's earliest settlers was traditionally believed to be the Orang Dampuans originating from the islands of Eastern Indonesia, who are supposed to be the ancestors of the native Yakans. They are variously called the Orang Dyaks or the Tagihamas.
The Yakans, an inland pagan tribe, inhabited the Sulu Archipelago together with the indigenous Sama and Bajau before the Malayan Tausug from Sumatra and Borneo gained control of the area starting 300BCE-200BCE.
Historians have scant knowledge of the pre-Spanish history of the indigenous Yakans simply because they have had little contact with other ethnic groups. Basilan's nearness to Borneo led to the theory that the Yakan originated from the Dyak. Although it is fairly safe to say that Basilan's history is related to that of the Sulu archipelago, it is by no means right to suppose that Basilan's first inhabitants came from Indonesia.