Relatively little is known about the genetic diversity of the Philippine population, and this is an important gap in our understanding of Southeast Asian and Oceanic prehistory. Here we describe mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in 423 Philippine samples and analyze them in the context of the genetic diversity of other Southeast Asian populations. The majority of Philippine mtDNA types are shared with Taiwanese aboriginal groups and belong to haplogroups of postglacial and pre-Neolithic origin that have previously been identified in East Asian and Island Southeast Asian populations. Analysis of hypervariable segment I sequence variation within individual mtDNA haplogroups indicates a general decrease in the diversity of the most frequent types (B4a1a, E1a1a, and M7c3c) from the Taiwanese aborigines to the Philippines and Sulawesi, although calculated standard error measures overlap for these populations. This finding, together with the geographical distribution of ancestral and derived haplotypes of the B4a1a subclade including the Polynesian Motif, is consistent with southward dispersal of these lineages "Out of Taiwan" via the Philippines to Near Oceania and Polynesia. In addition to the mtDNA components shared with Taiwanese aborigines, complete sequence analyses revealed a minority of lineages in the Philippines that share their origins--possibly dating back to the Paleolithic--with haplogroups from Indonesia and New Guinea. Other rare lineages in the Philippines have no closely related types yet identified elsewhere.