The Sambal occupy the northwestern flank of the Zambales Mountain ranges and the western tip of Pangasinan. The recognized dialect groups are: (1) Botolan, (2) Tina, and (3) Bolinao. The Sambal population in Pangasinan number some 29,795 while in Zambales there are some 89,010 (NSO 1980). Nationally, there are 118,805 (NSO 1980).
From linguistic studies, it appears that the Sambal language is closest to a variety of Tagalog known as "Sinaunang Tagalog" which is spoken in Tanay, Rizal. This has been interpreted to mean that the Sambal-speaking peoples were originally living about the Tanay, Rizal area and started moving northward as the Austronesian Tagalog from Masbate and Mindoro started moving about 6,000 B.C., pushing earlier groups to the Zambales area.