Provinces of the Philippines

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The provinces of the Philippines (Filipino: Mga Lalawigan ng Pilipinas) are the primary political and administrative divisions of the Philippines. There are 82 provinces at present, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities. The National Capital Region, as well as independent cities, are independent of any provincial government. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor.

The provinces are grouped into 17 regions based on geographical, cultural, and ethnological characteristics. Fourteen of these regions are designated with numbers corresponding to their geographic location in order from north to south. The National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao do not have numerical designations.

Each province is a member of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, an organization which aims to address issues affecting provincial and metropolitan government administrations.[1]


A provincial government is autonomous of other provinces within the Republic. Each province is governed by two main elected branches of the government: executive and legislative. Judicial affairs are separated from provincial governance and are administered by the Supreme Court of the Philippines.


The provincial governor is chief executive and head of each province. Elected to a term of three years and limited to three consecutive terms, he or she appoints the directors of each provincial department which include the office of administration, engineering office, information office, legal office, and treasury office.


The vice-governor acts as the president for each Sangguniáng Panlalawigan (SP; "Provincial Board"), the province's legislative body. Every SP is composed of regularly elected members from provincial districts, as well as ex officio members. The number of regularly elected SP members allotted to each province is determined by its income class. First- and second-class provinces are provided ten regular SP members; third- and fourth-class provinces have eight, while fifth- and sixth-class provinces have six. Exceptions are provinces with more than five congressional districts, such as Cavite with 14 regularly elected SP members, and Cebu, Negros Occidental and Pangasinan which have twelve each.

Every SP has designated seats for ex officio members, given to the respective local presidents of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC), Philippine Councilors' League (PCL), and Sangguniáng Kabataan (SK; "Youth Council").

The vice-governor and regular members of an SP are elected by the voters within the province. Ex officio members are elected by members of their respective organisations.

Relation to other levels of government[edit]

National government[edit]

National intrusion into the affairs of each provincial government is limited by the Philippine Constitution. The President of the Philippines however coordinates with provincial administrators through the Department of the Interior and Local Government. For purposes of national representation, each province is guaranteed its own congressional district. One congressional representative represents each district in the House of Representatives. Senatorial representation is elected at an at-large basis and not apportioned through territory-based districts.

Cities and municipalities[edit]

Those classified as either "highly urbanized" or "independent component" cities are independent from the province, as provided for in Section 29 of the Local Government Code of 1991.[2] Although such a city is a self-governing first-level entity, in many cases it is often presented as part of the province in which it is geographically located, or in the case of Zamboanga City, the province it last formed part the congressional representation of.

Local government units classified as "component" cities and municipalities are under the jurisdiction of the provincial government. In order to make sure that all component city or municipal governments act within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions, the Local Government Code mandates the provincial governor to review executive orders issued by mayors, and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to review legislation by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) or Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council), of all component cities and municipalities under the province's jurisdiction.[2]


The provincial government does not have direct relations with individual barangays. Supervision over a barangay government is the mandate of the mayor and the Sanggunian of the component city or municipality of which the barangay in question is a part.[2]


Provinces are classified according to average annual income based on the previous 3 calendar years. Effective July 28, 2008, the thresholds for the income classes for cities are:[3]

ClassAverage annual income
First450 million or more
Second₱360 million or more but less than ₱450 million
Third₱270 million or more but less than ₱360 million
Fourth₱180 million or more but less than ₱270 million
Fifth₱90 million or more but less than ₱180 million
Sixthbelow ₱90 million

A province's income class determines the size of the membership of its Sangguniang Panlalawigan, and also how much it can spend on certain items, or procure through certain means.[2]


Note: The map presents independent cities outside of Metro Manila as part of provinces, despite being self-governing units themselves.

List of provinces[edit]

For a sortable table containing figures for all first-level subdivisions, with independent cities presented separately from their mother provinces, see List of primary local government units of the Philippines.
PopulationAreaPopulation density
ProvinceCapitalFounded 1RegionPopulation
rankPop. density
(per km²)
AbraBangued01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917CAR234,733684,165.253156.480
Agusan del Norte[6]Cabadbaran[7]01967-06-17Jun 17, 1967Region XIII642,196473,546.8640181.151
Agusan del SurProsperidad01967-06-17Jun 17, 1967Region XIII656,418469,989.52465.776
AklanKalibo01956-04-25Apr 25, 1956Region VI535,725551,821.4264294.126
AlbayLegazpi01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917Region V1,233,432242,575.7754478.911
AntiqueSan Jose de Buenavista01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917Region VI546,031532,729.1750200.146
ApayaoKabugao[8]01995-02-14Feb 14, 1995CAR112,636784,413.352925.581
AuroraBaler01979-08-13Aug 13, 1979Region III201,233713,147.324563.977
Basilan[9]Isabela01973-12-27Dec 27, 1973ARMM[10]391,179631,379.02[11]71283.727
BataanBalanga01754-01-011754Region III687,482431,372.9872500.79
BatanesBasco01909-01-011909Region II16,60481219.018175.873
BatangasBatangas City01581-12-08Dec 8, 1581Region IV-A2,377,39583,119.7246762.17
Benguet[12]La Trinidad01966-06-16Jun 16, 1966CAR722,620402,826.5948255.735
BiliranNaval01992-05-11May 11, 1992Region VIII161,76075536.0178301.824
BoholTagbilaran01565-03-25Mar 25, 1565Region VII1,255,128234,820.9524260.334
BukidnonMalaybalay01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917Region X1,299,1922010,498.593123.762
BulacanMalolos01578-08-15Aug 15, 1578Region III2,924,43332,796.10491045.95
CagayanTuguegarao01581-01-011581Region II1,124,773279,295.75512165
Camarines NorteDaet01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917Region V542,915542,320.075623440
Camarines Sur[13]Pili01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917Region V1,822,371145,497.0317331.522
CamiguinMambajao01966-06-18Jun 18, 1966Region X83,80780237.9580352.218
CapizRoxas01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917Region VI719,685412,594.6453277.428
CatanduanesVirac01945-09-26Sep 26, 1945Region V246,300671,492.1670165.152
CaviteImus[14]01872-03-10Mar 10, 1872Region IV-A3,090,69121,574.17671963.42
Cebu[15]Cebu City[16]01565-04-27Apr 27, 1565Region VII4,167,32015,342.0020780.16
Compostela ValleyNabunturan01998-01-31Jan 31, 1998Region XI687,195444,479.7727153.456
CotabatoKidapawan01967-05-08May 8, 1967Region XII1,226,508259,008.907136.159
Davao del NorteTagum01967-05-08May 8, 1967Region XI945,764303,426.974327630
Davao del Sur[17]Digos01967-05-08May 8, 1967Region XI2,024,206114,607.5926439.313
Davao OccidentalMalita02013-10-28Oct 28, 2013Region XI293,780652,163.4557135.860
Davao OrientalMati01967-05-08May 8, 1967Region XI517,618565,679.641691.170
Dinagat IslandsSan Jose02006-12-02Dec 2, 2006Region XIII126,803771,036.3475122.463
Eastern SamarBorongan01965-06-19Jun 19, 1965Region VIII428,877604,660.47259269
GuimarasJordan01992-05-22May 22, 1992Region VI162,94374604.5777269.533
IfugaoLagawe01966-06-18Jun 18, 1966CAR191,078722,628.215172.774
Ilocos NorteLaoag01818-01-011818Region I568,017503,467.8942163.853
Ilocos SurVigan01572-01-011572Region I658,587452,596.0052253.736
Iloilo[18]Iloilo City[16]01566-01-011566Region VI2,230,195105,079.1722439.114
Isabela[19]Ilagan01856-05-01May 1, 1856Region II1,489,6451712,414.93212066
KalingaTabuk01995-02-14Feb 14, 1995CAR201,613703,231.254462.478
La UnionSan Fernando01850-03-02Mar 2, 1850Region I741,906371,497.7069495.410
LagunaSanta Cruz01571-07-28Jul 28, 1571Region IV-A2,669,84761,917.85631392.13
Lanao del Norte[20]Tubod01959-07-04Jul 4, 1959Region X930,738324,159.9432223.742
Lanao del SurMarawi01959-07-04Jul 4, 1959ARMM933,260313,872.89[21]3524137
Leyte[22]Tacloban[16]01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917Region VIII1,789,158156,515.0510274.631
Maguindanao[23]Shariff Aguak01973-11-22Nov 22, 1973ARMM1,216,504266,146.53[24]11197.947
MarinduqueBoac01920-02-21Feb 21, 1920Region IV-B227,82869952.5876239.238
MasbateMasbate City01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917Region V834,650334,151.783320145
Misamis OccidentalOroquieta01929-11-08Nov 8, 1929Region X567,642512,055.2261276.229
Misamis Oriental[25]Cagayan de Oro[16]01929-11-08Nov 8, 1929Region X1,415,944183,544.3241399.516
Mountain ProvinceBontoc01908-01-011908CAR154,187762,157.385871.575
Negros Occidental[26]Bacolod[16]01890-01-011890Region VI2,907,85947,965.218365.117
Negros OrientalDumaguete01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917Region VII1,286,666215,385.5319238.939
Northern SamarCatarman01965-06-19Jun 19, 1965Region VIII589,013483,692.9337159.555
Nueva EcijaPalayan[27]01705-01-011705Region III1,955,373135,751.331534020
Nueva VizcayaBayombong01839-01-011839Region II421,355613975.673410668
Occidental MindoroMamburao01950-06-13Jun 13, 1950Region IV-B452,971585,865.711477.271
Oriental MindoroCalapan01950-06-13Jun 13, 1950Region IV-B785,602344,238.3830185.449
Palawan[28]Puerto Princesa[16]01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917Region IV-B994,3402817,030.75158.479
Pampanga[29]San Fernando01571-12-11Dec 11, 1571Region III2,340,35592,062.47601134.74
Pangasinan[30]Lingayen01580-01-011580Region I2,779,86255,451.01185108
Quezon[31]Lucena[16]01901-03-02Mar 2, 1901Region IV-A1,987,030129,069.606219.144
QuirinoCabarroguis01966-06-18Jun 18, 1966Region II176,786732,323.475576.172
RizalAntipolo[32]01901-06-11Jun 11, 1901Region IV-A2,484,84071,191.94732084.71
RomblonRomblon01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917Region IV-B283,930661,533.4568185.250
SamarCatbalogan01965-06-19Jun 19, 1965Region VIII733,377396,048.0312121.364
SaranganiAlabel01992-03-16Mar 16, 1992Region XII498,904573,601.2539138.558
SiquijorSiquijor01971-09-17Sep 17, 1971Region VII91,06679337.4979269.832
SorsogonSorsogon City01894-10-17Oct 17, 1894Region V740,743382,119.0159349.619
South Cotabato[33]Koronadal01966-06-18Jun 18, 1966Region XII1,365,286194,428.8128308.323
Southern LeyteMaasin01959-05-22May 22, 1959Region VIII399,137621,798.6165221.943
Sultan KudaratIsulan01973-11-22Nov 22, 1973Region XII747,087365,298.342114157
SuluJolo01917-03-10Mar 10, 1917ARMM718,290421,600.40[34]66448.812
Surigao del NorteSurigao01960-06-16Jun 16, 1960Region XIII442,588591,972.9362224.341
Surigao del SurTandag01960-06-16Jun 16, 1960Region XIII561,219524,932.7023113.867
TarlacTarlac City01872-01-011872Region III1,273,240223,053.604741715
Tawi-TawiBongao[35]01973-09-11Sep 11, 1973ARMM366,550641,087.40[36]74337.121
Zambales[37]Iba01578-01-011578Region III755,621353,830.8336197.248
Zamboanga del NorteDipolog01952-06-06Jun 6, 1952Region IX957,997297,301.009131.261
Zamboanga del Sur[38]Pagadian01952-06-06Jun 6, 1952Region IX1,766,814165,914.1613298.725
Zamboanga SibugayIpil02001-02-22Feb 22, 2001Region IX584,685493,607.7538162.154
Metro ManilaManila (Regional center)--NCR11,855,975--638.55--18567--




When the United States acquired the Philippines from Spain in 1898, the islands were divided into four gobiernos (governments), which were further subdivided into provinces and districts. The American administration initially inherited the Spanish divisions and placed them under military government. As insurgencies were pacified, civil government was gradually organized.

Formally proposed provinces[edit]

Note: This section lists only those proposals that reached the stage where legislation was enacted for the purpose of establishing a province or sub-province, but never achieved corporate existence.

Map of the Philippines showing the proposed provinces

Former provinces[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About the League of Provinces. League of Provinces of the Philippines. Retrieved 2008-01-12 
  2. ^ a b c d Republic Act No. 7160 - Local Government Code of 1991
  3. ^ Income Classification for Provinces, Cities and Municipalities, National Statistics Coordination Board.
  4. ^ "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities". 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Figures include the independent city of Butuan.
  7. ^ Cabadbaran has been made the official capital of the province, as per Republic Act No. 8811. However, the seat of the provincial government is still in the process of being transferred from Butuan, where the provincial government still holds office.
  8. ^ The province maintains another government center in Luna, where many national and provincial agencies now hold office. Philippine Information Agency - Apayao gov't center established in Luna
  9. ^ Figures include the independent city of Isabela.
  10. ^ The city of Isabela is served by the offices of Region IX.
  11. ^ Province of Basilan: Land Area
  12. ^ Figures include the independent city of Baguio.
  13. ^ Figures include the independent city of Naga.
  14. ^ The provincial government of Cavite makes it clear that Imus City is the provincial capital, while the seat of the provincial government is Trece Martires City. Official Website of the Province of Cavite - Quick Facts Imus is capital of Cavite — Maliksi
  15. ^ Figures include the independent cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Because the provincial government holds office within an independent city, in effect the province maintains the seat of its government outside its jurisdiction.
  17. ^ Figures include the independent city of Davao.
  18. ^ Figures include the independent city of Iloilo.
  19. ^ Figures include the independent city of Santiago.
  20. ^ Figures include the independent city of Iligan.
  21. ^ Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Department of Agriculture: Lanao del Sur (The value given at NSCB is unreasonable and must be assumed as erroneous, see Talk:Lanao del Sur#Area.)
  22. ^ Figures include the independent cities of Ormoc and Tacloban.
  23. ^ Figures include the independent city of Cotabato.
  24. ^ Provincial Government of Maguindanao: Brief Profile (There seems to be major discrepancies among authoritative sources: 972,904 ha (NSCB); 6,565 km² (Historical Dictionary of the Philippines); 5,176.1 km² (NAMRIA))
  25. ^ Figures include the independent city of Cagayan de Oro.
  26. ^ Figures include the independent city of Bacolod.
  27. ^ The provincial government still uses and maintains facilities in the former capital, Cabanatuan.
  28. ^ Figures include the independent city of Puerto Princesa.
  29. ^ Figures include the independent city of Angeles.
  30. ^ Figures include the independent city of Dagupan.
  31. ^ Figures include the independent city of Lucena.
  32. ^ The provincial government has already transferred its operations to Antipolo from Pasig, although no legislation on the national level has been enacted yet recognizing the new capital. Yehey! News - Board wants Antipolo officially named capital of Rizal
  33. ^ Figures include the independent city of General Santos.
  34. ^ Province of Sulu: Brief Profile (There seems to be major discrepancies among authoritative sources: 343,699 ha (NSCB 2007), 175,460 ha (NSCB 2000), 167,377 ha (NAMRIA))
  35. ^ The National Statistical Coordination Board recognizes both Bongao and Panglima Sugala as capitals of the province. However, the provincial capitol is located in Bongao, the de facto seat of government.
  36. ^ Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Department of Agriculture: Tawi-Tawi (There seems to be major discrepancies among authoritative sources: 362,655 ha (NSCB 2007), 120,876 ha (NAMRIA), 1,197 km² (Department of Tourism), 999 km² (Mapcentral))
  37. ^ Figures include the independent city of Olongapo.
  38. ^ Figures include the independent city of Zamboanga.
  39. ^ Philippines-Archipelago, Region VIII (Eastern Visayas). Specific information on the division of Leyte provided by David A. Short, webmaster of Philippines-Archipelago, which was updated accordingly after indirectly obtaining a copy of the text of Act No. 3117 from the Legislative Library, House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-05-17 
  40. ^ Republic Act No. 5999, Chan-Robles Law Library.
  41. ^ Republic Act No. 6406. Chan-Robles Law Library.
  42. ^ Republic Act No. 7891
  43. ^ Republic Act No. 9495
  44. ^ Batas Pambansa Blg. 885
  45. ^ G.R. No. 73155 - Tan v. COMELEC and the Provincial Treasurer of Negros Occidental
  46. ^ Republic Act No. 9054, Chan-Robles Law Library.
  47. ^ G.R. No. 177597 - Sema v. COMELEC, Supreme Court of the Philippines.

External links[edit]