Biggest Cities In The Philippines

Per the Philippine Statistic Authority, Metro Manila is home to almost 13 million residents, more than one-eighth of the entire island nation's population.

The Philippines is an island nation located in South East Asia. It is the second largest archipelago on earth, comprised by over 7,000 islands. As of 2015, the population in the Philippines was an estimated at 102.2 million. The nation also ranks among the fastest growing countries in terms of population, with an annual growth rate of nearly 2%.


Manila is one of the most densely populated metropolises in the world, housing a population of 12,877,253 as of 2015. The city is the capital city of the Philippines, and it is the economic, administrative, and social center of the nation. In contrast to other Asian countries, economic growth in the Philippines has been mainly concentrated on a single urban center. Manila city generates nearly half the country’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Approximately 94% of the population in Manila is Malay-Indonesian by ethnicity with some European, Spanish, Chinese or American ancestry. The rest of the population is Chinese. The Tagalog language is widely spoken in the City while English is the official business and educational language. The residents are employed in the city’s industries, such as textiles, food and tobacco processing, chemical manufacturing and coconut oil processing. Manila is also a vital seaport in the country. The Metropolitan is made up of 17 municipalities, which range from elegant business districts and affluent neighborhoods to slums and shanty towns. The economic growth in Manila has brought with it challenges such as overpopulation, drug use and crime, pollution, and traffic congestion. Overcrowding in the city has caused other problems such as inadequate health care, inadequate sanitation and a rise in poverty. The municipal agencies in Manila struggle to offer public services to the ever growing population.


The city of Cebu registered a population of 2,849,213 as of 2015 statistics. Cebu has been an attractive destination for rural to urban migration due to a boom in investments and tourism. Cebu’s economy has been rapidly increasing, driven mainly by the industry and service sector. A surge in tourism has fueled construction of mega projects such as hotels, resorts, and malls which create employment opportunities for residents.

The Cebuano language is the predominant language in the city, followed by Tagalog and Hiligaynon. There are numerous churches across the city, with the dominant one being Roman Catholic while most of the rest are Protestant congregations. The city has not been immune to problems associated with rapid urban growth. The city has been subject to flooding due to poor drainage. Traffic congestion has been blamed on poor enforcement of traffic laws and regulation. Pollution and proliferation of slums have also been witnessed in the city.


Davao City had a population of 2,516,216 in 2015. The city is a trade, educational, and tourism center of the Davao region. The city is divided into 11 districts for effective and efficient administration. The city has been subject to an influx of rural immigrants. The ethnicity of Davao’s population is diverse. Cebuanos and indigenous Davaoenos are the majority groups, while Illongos, Aeta, and Lumad form the minority ethnicities. Most of the residents are employed in the agricultural sector, because the Davao region is a major producer of bananas, coffee, coconut, and pineapple in Asia. Cacao production has been a growing trend in the region as well. Davao City has been confronted with the issue of sprawling informal settlements in the neighborhood. Traffic congestion and pollution continue to affect the livability situation of the city.

Cagayan de Oro

The population in the city is 1,376,343 according to the figures from 2015. The city contributes mainly to the economy of the Northern Mindanao Region. The city’s economy relies on the service and industrial sectors. The city has become increasingly attractive to global companies who want to set up base in Asia. Factors such as a competitive business market, improved infrastructure and a large pool of labor have increased the city’s economic attractiveness. The Cebuano ethnicity is the biggest ethnic group, and the Cebuano language is subsequently widely spoken. Cagayan de Oro has had its share of urban problems in its quest for economic prosperity. Slums, shanty towns, pollution and traffic congestion have been concerns in the city.

Future Growth of Philippine Urban Areas

Other major metro areas in the Philippines, and their respective populations, include Angeles with its 1,132,933 metro residents, followed by Iloilo City-Guimaras (946,146), Naga (799,955), Bacolod (791,019), Baguio-LISTT (611,316), and Batangas City (550,725). The population of the Philippines is expected to reach around 110.37 million by 2020. This population will be concentrated in the urban centers. A new approach to urban planning in these cities is needed to keep up with the increasing population.

Biggest Cities In The Philippines

RankBiggest Cities in the PhilippinesMetro Population, 2015
4Cagayan de Oro1,376,343
6Iloilo City-Guimaras
10Batangas City550,725

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