Provinces of the Philippines

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Map of the Philippines showing the regions and their provinces (click for larger version).

The province (Filipino: lalawigan or probinsya) is the primary local government unit in the Philippines. The country is divided into 81 provinces, which are further subdivided into cities (lungsod) and municipalities (bayan). The National Capital Region, which includes the capital city Manila, is not divided into provinces.

The provinces are grouped into 17 regions (rehiyon) based on geographical, cultural, and ethnological characteristics. Fourteen of the regions are designated with numbers corresponding roughly with their geographic location from north to south. The National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao do not have a number designation.

The provincial government is headed by a governor (gobernador). For purposes of legislative representation, the province is divided into one or more congressional districts (distrito). Each city or municipality belongs to one of these districts. One congressman (kinatawan) represents each district in the House of Representatives. Every district also has board members in the Provincial Board (see the succeeding section on the Provincial government).

On October 30, 2006, the people of the 1st district of Maguindanao approved the creation of the new province, Shariff Kabunsuan in a plebescite officiated by the COMELEC.

On December 2, 2006, the people of Surigao del Norte approved the creation the new province of Dinagat Islands through a plebescite after the Philippine Congress approved the law creating the said province.


Provincial government

The provincial government has an executive and a legislative branch. The judicial powers in the province are under the supervision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The provincial government is an autonomous unit, given direct supervision of the affairs of the province. The president of the Philippines coordinates with the provinces through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Executive branch

Provinces classified by income classification.

The provincial government is headed by a governor (gobernador), who is the chief executive and head of the province. Under the governor are the various provincial departments such as the Administration, Legal Office, Information Office, Engineering Office, and Treasury Office.

The governor is elected a term of three years and may be elected for a maximum of three terms. The provincial department heads are appointed by the governor.

Legislative branch

Heading the legislature of the province is the vice-governor (bise-gobernador) who presides over the Provincial Board (Sangguniang Panlalawigan), which is composed of board members from each district in the province. Depending on the income class of the province, it may either have eight or ten board members. First and second class provinces have ten board members while third and fourth class provinces have eight. Negros Occidental and Cebu are exceptions, having 12 board members each.

The board also has, as ex-officio members, the provincial president of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) (Liga ng mga Barangay), the provincial president of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL), and the provincial president of Sanggunian Kabataan (SK) Federation (the youth council).

All of the board members are elected by the citizens of the province along with the governor. The ex-officio members are elected within their organizations.

List of provinces

Province Capital Region Population Area (km²) Pop. density
(per km²)
Ph seal abra.png Abra Bangued CAR 209,491 3,975.6 52.7
Ph seal agusan del norte.png Agusan del Norte Cabadbaran Region XIII 552,849 2,590.0 213.5
Ph seal agusan del sur.png Agusan del Sur Prosperidad Region XIII 559,294 8,966.0 62.4
Ph seal aklan.png Aklan Kalibo Region VI 451,314 1,817.9 248.3
Ph seal albay.png Albay Legazpi City Region V 1,090,907 2,552.6 427.4
Ph seal antique.png Antique San Jose Region VI 471,088 2,522.0 186.8
Ph seal apayao.png Apayao Kabugao CAR 97,129 3,927.9 24.7
Ph seal aurora.png Aurora Baler Region III 173,797 3,239.5 53.6
Seal Basilan.png Basilan Isabela City ARMM 259,796 1,234.2 210.5
Ph seal bataan.png Bataan Balanga City Region III 557,659 1,373.0 406.2
Ph seal batanes.png Batanes Basco Region II 16,467 209.3 78.7
Ph seal batangas.png Batangas Batangas City Region IV-A 1,905,348 3,165.8 601.9
Ph seal benguet.png Benguet La Trinidad CAR 582,515 2,655.4 219.4
Ph seal biliran.png Biliran Naval Region VIII 140,274 555.5 252.5
Ph seal bohol.png Bohol Tagbilaran City Region VII 1,137,268 4,117.3 276.2
Ph seal bukidnon.png Bukidnon Malaybalay City Region X 1,060,265 8,293.8 127.8
Ph seal bulacan.png Bulacan Malolos Region III 2,234,088 2,625.0 851.1
Ph seal cagayan.png Cagayan Tuguegarao City Region II 993,580 9,002.7 110.4
Seal camarines norte.png Camarines Norte Daet Region V 458,840 2,112.5 217.2
Seal camarines sur.png Camarines Sur Pili Region V 1,551,549 5,266.8 294.6
Ph seal camiguin.png Camiguin Mambajao Region X 74,232 229.8 323.0
Ph seal capiz.png Capiz Roxas City Region VI 654,156 2,633.2 248.4
Seal catanduanes.png Catanduanes Virac Region V 215,356 1,511.5 142.5
Ph seal cavite.png Cavite Trece Martires City Region IV-A 2,063,161 1,287.6 1,602.3
Ph seal cebu.png Cebu Cebu City Region VII 3,356,137 5,088.4 659.6
Ph seal compostela valley.png Compostela Valley Nabunturan Region XI 580,244 4,667.0 124.3
Ph seal cotabato.png Cotabato Kidapawan City Region XII 958,643 6,569.9 145.9
Ph seal davao del norte.png Davao del Norte Tagum City Region XI 743,811 3,463.0 214.8
Ph seal davao del sur.png Davao del Sur Digos City Region XI 1,905,917 6,377.6 298.8
Ph seal davao oriental.png Davao Oriental Mati Region XI 446,191 5,164.5 86.4
Ph seal dinagat islands.png Dinagat Islands San Jose Region XI 106,951 802.12 133.3
Ph seal eastern samar.png Eastern Samar Borongan Region VIII 375,822 4,339.6 86.6
Ph seal guimaras.png Guimaras Jordan Region VI 141,450 604.7 233.9
Ph seal ifugao.png Ifugao Lagawe CAR 161,623 2,517.8 64.2
Ph seal ilocos norte.png Ilocos Norte Laoag City Region I 514,241 3,399.3 151.3
Ph seal ilocos sur.png Ilocos Sur Vigan City Region I 594,206 2,579.6 230.3
Ph seal iloilo.png Iloilo Iloilo City Region VI 1,925,002 4,719.4 407.9
Ph seal isabela.png Isabela <ref>On February 20, 1995, legislation was approved for the division of Isabela into Isabela del Norte and Isabela del Sur. It was disapproved in the provincial plebisite. The division never took place.</ref> Ilagan Region II 1,287,575 10,664.6 120.7
Ph seal kalinga.png Kalinga Tabuk CAR 174,023 3,119.7 55.8
Ph seal la union.png La Union San Fernando City Region I 657,945 1,493.1 440.7
Ph seal laguna.png Laguna Santa Cruz Region IV-A 1,965,872 1,759.7 1,117.2
Ph seal lanao del norte.png Lanao del Norte Tubod Region X 758,123 3,092.0 245.2
Ph seal lanao del sur.png Lanao del Sur Marawi City ARMM 800,162 3,872.9 206.6
Ph seal leyte.png Leyte Tacloban City Region VIII 1,592,336 5,712.8 278.7
Ph seal maguindanao.png Maguindanao Shariff Aguak ARMM 801,102 4,900.1 163.5
Ph seal marinduque.png Marinduque Boac Region IV-B 217,392 959.3 226.6
Seal masbate.png Masbate Masbate City Region V 707,668 4,047.7 174.8
Ph seal misamis occidental.png Misamis Occidental Oroquieta City Region X 486,723 1,939.3 251.0
Ph seal misamis oriental.png Misamis Oriental Cagayan de Oro City Region X 1,126,215 3,570.0 315.5
Ph seal mountain province.png Mountain Province Bontoc CAR 140,439 2,097.3 67.0
Ph seal negros occidental.png Negros Occidental <ref>Negros del Norte was created from Negros Occidental on January 3, 1986. Its creation was declared unconstitutional on July 11, 1986, and it was abolished on August 18, 1986.</ref> Bacolod City Region VI 2,565,723 7,926.1 323.7
Ph seal negros oriental.png Negros Oriental Dumaguete City Region VII 1,126,061 5,402.3 208.4
Ph seal northern samar.png Northern Samar Catarman Region VIII 500,639 3,498.0 143.1
Ph seal nueva ecija.png Nueva Ecija Palayan City Region III 1,659,883 5,284.3 314.1
Ph seal nueva vizcaya.png Nueva Vizcaya Bayombong Region II 366,962 3,903.9 94.0
Ph seal occidental mindoro.png Occidental Mindoro Mamburao Region IV-B 380,250 5,879.9 64.7
Ph seal oriental mindoro.png Oriental Mindoro Calapan City Region IV-B 681,818 4,364.7 156.2
Ph seal palawan.png Palawan Puerto Princesa City Region VI 755,412 14,896.3 50.7
Ph seal of pampanga.PNG Pampanga San Fernando City Region III 1,882,730 2,180.7 863.4
Ph seal pangasinan.png Pangasinan Lingayen Region I 2,434,086 5,368.2 453.4
Ph seal quezon.png Quezon Lucena City Region IV-A 1,679,030 8,706.6 192.8
Ph seal quirino.png Quirino Cabarroguis Region II 148,575 3,057.2 48.6
Ph seal rizal.png Rizal Antipolo City Region IV-A 1,707,218 1,308.9 1,304.3
Ph seal romblon.png Romblon Romblon Region IV-B 264,357 1,355.9 195.0
Ph seal samar.png Samar Catbalogan Region VIII 641,124 5,591.0 114.7
Ph seal sarangani.png Sarangani Alabel Region XII 410,622 2,980.0 137.8
Ph seal shariff kabunsuan.png Shariff Kabunsuan Datu Odin Sinsuat ARMM 365,848
Ph seal siquijor.png Siquijor Siquijor Region VII 81,598 343.5 237.5
Seal sorsogon.png Sorsogon Sorsogon City Region V 650,535 2,141.4 303.8
Ph seal south cotabato.png South Cotabato Koronadal City Region XII 1,102,550 4,489.0 245.6
Ph seal southern leyte.png Southern Leyte Maasin City Region VIII 360,160 1,734.8 207.6
Ph seal sultan kudarat.png Sultan Kudarat Isulan Region XII 586,505 4,714.8 124.4
Ph seal sulu.png Sulu Jolo ARMM 619,668 1,600.4 387.2
Ph seal surigao del norte.png Surigao del Norte Surigao City Region XIII 374,465 1,936.9 193.3
Ph seal surigao del sur.png Surigao del Sur Tandag Region XIII 501,808 4,552.2 110.2
Ph seal tarlac.png Tarlac Tarlac City Region III 1,068,783 3,053.4 350.0
Seal tawi-tawi.png Tawi-Tawi Panglima Sugala ARMM 322,317 1,087.4 296.4
Ph seal zambales.png Zambales Iba Region III 627,802 3,714.4 169.0
Ph seal zamboanga del norte.png Zamboanga del Norte Dipolog City Region IX 823,130 6,618.0 124.4
Ph seal zamboanga del sur.png Zamboanga del Sur Pagadian City Region IX 1,437,941 4,964.1 289.7
Ph seal zamboanga sibugay.png Zamboanga Sibugay Ipil Region IX 497,239 3,087.9 161.0

<references />


Island (blue) and landlocked (red) provinces.

When the United States acquired the Philippines from Spain in 1898, the islands were divided into four gobiernos, 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 restored.

  • 1901-06-11: Morong district merged with part of Manila province to form Rizal province.
  • 1902: Mindoro province merged with Marinduque; Amburayan province split from La Union; Later, Marinduque province merged with Tayabas.
  • 1903: Moro province formed, consisting of the districts of Cotabato, Davao, Lanao, Sulu, and Zamboanga. Its capital was Zamboanga.
  • 1905: Name of Paragua province changed to Palawan. Masbate province merged with Sorsogon.
  • 1907: Romblon province merged with Capiz; split from it again in 1917.
  • 1907-08-20: Agusan province split from Surigao.
  • 1908: Abra province merged with Ilocos Sur; split from it again on 1917-03-09.
  • 1908-08-13: Mountain province formed by merging Amburayan, Apayao, Benguet, Bontoc, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Lepanto province, which became its sub-provinces.
  • 1909: Batanes province split from Cagayan.
  • 1916-08-29: Name and status of Moro province changed to Mindanao and Sulu department. Status of its districts (Bukidnon, Cotabato, Davao, Lanao, Misamis, Sulu, and Zamboanga) changed to provinces.
  • 1917-03-10: Ambos Camarines province divided into Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur provinces.
  • 1920-02-21: Marinduque province split from Tayabas.
  • 1920-12-15: Masbate province split from Sorsogon.
  • 1921-02-20: Mindoro province split from Marinduque.
  • 1929-11-02: Misamis province divided into Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental provinces (implemented 1939-11-28).
  • 1945-09-26: Catanduanes province split from Albay.
  • 1946: Romblon province merged with Capiz; split from it again on 1947-01-01.
  • 1946-09-07: Name of Tayabas province changed to Quezon.
  • 1950-06-13: Mindoro province split into Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental.
  • 1952-06-06: Zamboanga province split into Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur.
  • 1956-04-25: Aklan province split from Capiz (implemented 1956-11-08).
  • 1959-05-22: Lanao province divided into Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur; Southern Leyte province split from Leyte.
  • 1960-06-19: Surigao province divided into Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur provinces.
  • 1965-06-19: Samar province divided into Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, and Western Samar.
  • 1966-06-18: South Cotabato province split from Cotabato; Benguet, Ifugao, and Kalinga-Apayao provinces split from Mountain; Camiguin province split from Misamis Oriental.
  • 1967-05-08: Davao province divided into Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and Davao Oriental provinces (implemented 1967-07-01).
  • 1967-06-17: Agusan province divided into Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur provinces (implemented 1970-01-01).
  • 1969-06-21: Name of Western Samar province changed to Samar.
  • 1971-09-10: Quirino province split from Nueva Vizcaya.
  • 1972-01-08: Siquijor province split from Negros Oriental.
  • 1972-06-17: Name of Davao del Norte province changed to Davao.
  • 1973-09-11: Tawi-Tawi province split from Sulu.
  • 1973-11-22: Cotabato province divided into Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces.
  • 1973-12-27: Status of Basilan (formerly within Zamboanga del Sur province) changed from chartered city to province.
  • 1975-11-08: Metro Manila split from Rizal province.
  • 1979-08-13: Aurora province split from Quezon, following a referendum.
  • 1983-12-19: Name of North Cotabato province changed to Cotabato.
  • 1986-01-03: Negros del Norte province split from Negros Occidental. This action was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and Negros Occidental reverted to its original status on 1986-08-18.
  • 1992-03-16: Sarangani province split from South Cotabato.
  • 1992-05-11: Biliran province split from Leyte; Guimaras province split from Iloilo.
  • 1995-02-14: Kalinga-Apayao province split into Kalinga and Apayao provinces.
  • 1998-03-07: Compostela Valley province split from Davao province. Name of Davao province changed back to Davao del Norte.
  • 2001-02-23: Zamboanga Sibugay province split from Zamboanga del Sur.
  • 2006-08-30: Shariff Kabunsuan province split from Maguindanao.
  • 2006-10-02: Dinagat Islands province split from Surigao del Norte.


The provinces are mainly named after geographic features like rivers and islands, after people or individuals, or they bear a name of older local origin.

Provinces named after:

  • Ethnic groups:
  • Presidents:
  • Heroes:
  • Other known people:
    • Aurora
    • Isabela
    • Shariff Kabunsuan
  • Sultanates: Sulu, Maguindanao
  • Rivers:
    • Agusan (root word: agasan - where the water flows)
    • Apayao (root word: apayaw - negotiable river)
    • Aklan
    • Cagayan (root word: carayan - Ilocano word for river)
    • Davao
    • Iloilo
    • Pampanga (root word: pampang - river bank)
    • Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Lakes:
  • Other bodies of water:
    • Albay (root word: albaybay - shore)
    • Dinagat Islands (root word: dagat - sea)
    • Ilocos (root word: look - bay)
  • Peninsulas:
  • Other landforms:
  • Prominent cities and towns in the province:
  • Regions in Spain:
    • Nueva Ecija
    • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Spanish words:
    • Camarines (root word: camarin - granary)
    • Abra (root word: abrir - to open)
    • La Union
    • Laguna
  • Local objects and words:
    • Basilan (root word: basilan - iron trail)
    • Benguet (root word: benget - Ibaloi term for head scarf)
    • Cebu (root word: sugbo)
    • Cavite (root word: kawit - hook)
    • Cotabato (root word: kuta bato - stone fort)
    • Sarangani (root word: sangir - the language spoken by inhabitants of Sarangani Island)
    • Sorsogon (root word: solsogon - to follow the river upstream)
  • Nature, flora and fauna:
    • Antique (from the red ants known locally as lantik-lantik)
    • Batangas (root word: 'batang' - log)
    • Biliran (root word: biliran - native grass for weaving mats)
    • Bohol (root word: bo-ol - a local tree)
    • Bulacan (root word: burac - mud, or bulaklak - flower)
    • Camiguin (root word: kamagong tree)
    • Capiz (root word: kapis - pearl shells)
    • Catanduanes (root word: tando tree abundant along Catandungan River)
    • Pangasinan (root word: asin - salt)
    • Tarlac (root word: tarlak - Ayta term for weeds)
    • Zamboanga (root word: sampaga - flower)

In addition, many Philippines provinces have Spanish and English directions in their names, such as Zamboanga del Norte (English: Northern Zamboanga).

See also

  • ISO 3166-2:PH


External links

Original Source