We often talk on this site about various cities in the Philippines. Davao often is a topic, because several LiP writers live in Davao. Other places like Manila, Cebu, General Santos and others are also regularly mentioned. But, what is a City in the first place? How do these Cities compare to each other? How about a few statistics about these places? Today, let’s have an overview of what a City is in the Philippines, how big these various cities are, etc.
What constitutes a City?
Well, in the Philippines, there are specific criteria for what places are considered Cities. Beyond that, there are also different types and classifications of cities as well.
Philippine Cities consist of several levels. The smallest element of a City is the Barangay, sort of what westerns might call a neighborhood. Next, a number of Barangays put together from a District. For example, in Davao, Districts would include Bajada, Matina, Lanang, etc. The next level above the District is the entire City itself. So, for example, I live in Barangay 10A, Poblacion District, Davao City.
City Governments are composed of a Mayor, a Vice Mayor, City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) and a Judicial system.
There are actually several different types of Cities:
- Highly Urbanized Cities: Minimum of 200,000 Population, and an income of at least P50 Million. The Philippines has 33 Highly Urbanized Cities, of which 16 are in Metro Manila.
- Independent Component Cities: Cities which are not included as part of the Province that surrounds them. For example, Cotabato City lies in the midst of Shariff Kabinsuang Province. However, Cotabato City is not part of the Province, nor part of any Province. It is an independent City. Imagine if the City where you live was not part of the State that you lived in! Like, for example, if New York City was not considered part of the State of New York. This is an Independent Component City.
- Component Cities: Component Cities are Cities that are still included as part of the Province that they occupy. For example, Tagum City is still considered part of the Province of Davao del Norte.
As I said, Highly Urbanized Cities must have an income of at least P50 Million. However, Highly Urbanized Cities are further classified, based on the Income:
- 1st Class Cities: Income of P300M or more.
- 2nd Class Cities: P240M up to P300M
- 3rd Class Cities: P180M to P240M
- 4th Class: P120M to P180M
- 5th Class: P60M to P120M
- 6th Class: Under P50M
Currently, there is a case ongoing in the Courts where some former towns were turned into Cities, but they do not meet the Income Requirements to be Cities. The Supreme Court has ruled that these Cities must revert back to being towns again. However, the decision is not yet final, as it must go through reconsideration still. So, these Cities are kind of in limbo right now.
The Top 10 Largest Cities (Population wise) in the Philippines are:
- Quezon - more than 2.5 Million Residents (Part of Metro Manila)
- Manila - more than 1.6 Million Residents (Part of Metro Manila)
- Caloocan – more than 1.3 Million Residents (Part of Metro Manila)
- Davao - more than 1.3 Million Residents (Part of Metro Davao)
- Cebu - around 800,000 Residents (Part of Metro Cebu)
- Zamboanga - around 800,000 Residents
- Antipolo - more than 600,000 Residents
- Pasig - more than 600,000 Residents (Part of Metro Manila)
- Taguig - more than 600,000 Residents (Part of Metro Manila)
- Valenzuela - more than 500,000 Residents (Part of Metro Manila)
In addition to Cities, there are twelve Metropolitan Areas in the Philippines. A Metropolitan Area is a larger group of Cities and Towns that compose a larger area. Metropolitan Areas in the Philippines are:
- Metro Manila – Population more than 11 Million
- Metro Cebu – Population of more than 2.3 Million
- Metro Davao – Population of more than 2 Million
- Metro Cagayan de Oro – Population of more than 1.1 Million
- Metro Angeles – Population of more than 900,000
- Metro Iloilo – Guimaras – Population of more than 750,000
- Metro Bacolod – Population of more than 700,000
- Metro Naga – Population of more than 650,000
- BLIST (Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba) – Population of more than 500,000
- Metro Batangas – Population of more than 400,000
- CAMADA (Calasiao, Mangaldan, Dagupan) – Population of more than 300,000
- Metro Olongopo – Population of more than 300,000
So, this is a look at Cities and Metro Areas of the Philippines. I hope this helps put some of discussions on the site into perspective.
Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.