Zamboanga del Norte

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Zamboanga del Norte (Chavacano: Zamboanga del Norte; Cebuano: Amihanang Zamboanga; Subanon: Utara Sembwangan; Tagalog: Hilagang Zamboanga) is a province in the Philippines situated within the Zamboanga Peninsula region in Mindanao. Its capital is Dipolog and the province borders Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay to the south, Misamis Occidental to the east, and the Sulu Sea to the west.

Zamboanga del Norte is the largest province of the Zamboanga Peninsula region by land area covering 7,301.00 square kilometers (2,818.93 sq mi).[1] Zamboanga del Norte is the 26th populous province in the Philippines.


Early history

Prior to its creation as a province, Zamboanga del Norte formed the northern portion of the historical province of Zamboanga.

The early history of Zamboanga del Norte is shared with that of Zamboanga City, which had been the center of the entire Mindanao area, most notably during the American era. When Zamboanga City became a chartered city on October 12, 1936, it encompassed the southern tip of the Zamboanga Peninsula and the island of Basilan, making it the largest city in the world in terms of land area.

Creation as a Province

Through Republic Act No. 711 issued on June 6, 1952, Zamboanga province was divided into two independent provinces, which included Zamboanga del Sur.[2]

Martial law era

Zamboanga del Norte was the site of at least one major assassination during the Marcos Martial law era - the gunning down of Human Rights lawyers Jacobo Amatong and Zorro Aguilar by two soldiers of the Marcos government, who were never caught.[3][4][5] Both lawyers have since been honored by having their names inscribed on the wall of remembrance at the Philippines’ Bantayog ng mga Bayani, which honors the heroes and martyrs who fought against Ferdinand Marcos and his martial law regime.[3]

Proposed carving out of new province

In 2017, House Bill No. 5040 was introduced in the House of Representatives seeking to carve out a new province from Zamboanga del Norte. The proposed Zamboanga Hermosa province was to consist of 12 municipalities and 2 legislative districts that make up the 3rd legislative district of Zamboanga del Norte:[6][7] Baliguian, Godod, Gutalac, Kalawit, Labason, Leon B. Postigo, Liloy (its proposed capital), Salug, Sibuco, Siocon, Sirawai, and Tampilisan. However, the bill ultimately did not pass the 16th congress.


Dakak riverside in Dapitan City

Zamboanga del Norte covers a total area of 7,301.00 square kilometers (2,818.93 sq mi) occupying the northern portion of the Zamboanga Peninsula in western Mindanao. The province is bordered on the north and west by the Sulu Sea, on the northeast by Misamis Occidental, and on the south by Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay.

It has an average elevation of 243.8 metres (800 ft), with Mount Dabiak in Katipunan as the highest peak at 2,600 metres (8,500 ft). Other parts, near the coastlines, are plains. The province's irregular coastline runs some 400 kilometres (250 mi) from north to south.


Zamboanga del Norte has a mild and moderate climate due to evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. Its southern portion has a longer dry season.

Administrative divisions

Political map of the province

Zamboanga del Norte comprises 25 municipalities and 2 cities. Dipolog City, Sindangan and Dapitan City are the top most densely populated area in the province These are further subdivided into 691 barangays, and clustered into 3 congressional districts.Template:PSGC detail

Sibuco is the largest municipality by land area, constituting Template:Percent and number of the total provincial area. Sibutad is the smallest, with Template:Percent and number.Template:PSGC detail

City or municipality District AreaTemplate:PSGC detail Density
km2 sq mi /km2 /sq mi
Baliguian 3rd 439.26 169.60 51 130 17
Dapitan 1st 390.53 150.78 210 540 50
Dipolog 2nd 241.13 93.10 540 1,400 21
Godod 3rd 190.00 73.36 92 240 17
Gutalac 3rd 492.86 190.29 70 180 33
Jose Dalman 2nd 135.00 52.12 200 520 18
Kalawit 3rd 217.89 84.13 110 280 14
Katipunan 2nd 244.12 94.26 190 490 30
La Libertad 1st 69.51 26.84 120 310 13
Labason 3rd 169.58 65.48 240 620 20
Leon B. Postigo 3rd 255.50 98.65 100 260 18
Liloy 3rd 128.43 49.59 310 800 37
Manukan 2nd 246.35 95.12 150 390 22
Mutia 1st 73.58 28.41 170 440 16
Piñan 1st 93.75 36.20 220 570 22
Polanco 1st 206.88 79.88 190 490 30
President Manuel A. Roxas 2nd 206.25 79.63 190 490 31
Rizal 1st 80.03 30.90 180 470 22
Salug 3rd 206.60 79.77 160 410 23
Sergio Osmeña Sr. 1st 556.44 214.84 54 140 39
Siayan 2nd 494.75 191.02 71 180 22
Sibuco 3rd 782.54 302.14 44 110 28
Sibutad 1st 65.57 25.32 270 700 16
Sindangan 2nd 451.00 174.13 220 570 52
Siocon 3rd 503.20 194.29 93 240 26
Sirawai 3rd 222.50 85.91 130 340 34
Tampilisan 3rd 137.75 53.19 180 470 20
Total 7,301.00 2,818.93 140 360 691


The population of Zamboanga del Norte in the 2015 census was 1,011,393 people,  with a density of 140 inhabitants per square kilometre or 360 inhabitants per square mile. Dipolog is the most populated locality in the province, followed by the town of Sindangan and city of Dapitan.

The main language spoken is Cebuano. Other languages include Chavacano, Subanon, Tagalog, and English.


The predominant religion was Islam until the Spanish regime reign over the region and spread Christianity by the help of the church's missionary congregations like the Jesuits, Augustinians, and Dominicans. The province hailed its first martyr of faith soon to be raised as a saint in the whole Mindanao island by the name of Padre Francesco Palliola, S.J. He was a jesuit missionary from Nola, Italy and was assigned to Zamboanga Peninsula. He held missionary works in Lubungan (Katipuan), Zamboanga del Norte, Iligan, Dapitan, and met his martyrdom at the barrio of Ponot now a town of Jose Dalman. Roman Catholicism is a significant majority with about 50% adherence. The province have one diocese – the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dipolog under the Archdiocese of Ozamiz, covering the entire province. There are also followers of other Christian sects.




Governor: Roberto "Berto" Y. Uy (PDP–Laban)

Vice Governor: Senen O. Angeles (PDP–Laban)

Members of the House of Representatives: Template:Main

Board Members

  • 1st District:
    • Patri "Jing" Bajamunde - Chan
    • Anacleto "Boy" H. Olvis, Jr.
  • 2nd District:
    • Crisologo "Logoy" A. Decierdo
    • Ronillo "Boy" D. Lee
    • Julius C. Napigquit
    • Romulo "Muling" P. Soliva
  • 3rd Drstrict:
    • Dra. Ruth M. Brillantes
    • Luzviminda "Bebe" E. Torrino
    • Venus A. Uy
    • Constantino "Boy" C. Soriano, Jr.


Zamboanga del Norte Medical Center in Dipolog City

About half of the province's land area is devoted to agriculture. Corn, coconut, and rice are the major crops. The province being rich in marine and mineral sources, its fish production has accelerated through the development of fishponds. Commercial fishing has steadily increased through the years, with the yellow fin tuna as the primary species.

In 2006, a study by National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB), found Zamboanga del Norte Province to be the Philippines' poorest province with a poverty incidence rate of 64.6%, an increase from 47% in year 2000 statistical figures.[8]

As of 2015, the province's poverty incidence has dropped to 51.6% (ranking 8th).[9] Large foreign mining companies operating within the province such as Canadian company TVI Resource Development and Philex Mining Corp. cause adverse effects to the culture and traditions of the indigenous Subanon and other poor settlers.[10][11][12]


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named nscblist
  2. Republic Act No. 711 - An Act to Create The Provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur. Chan Robles Virtual Law Library.
  3. 3.0 3.1 HEROES AND MARTYRS: AGUILAR, Zorro C. (en-US) (2015-10-09).
  4. La Viña, Tony. "Lesser known, just as heroic", Manila Standard, September 22, 2015. (in en) 
  5. "Judges under the gun". 
  6. House Bill No. 5040: An Act Creating the Province of Zamboanga Hermosa from the Province of Zamboanga Del Norte. Republic of the Philippines - House of Representatives (February 14, 2017).
  7. "Seventeenth Congress First Regular Session 2016 - 2017" (PDF). Journal of the House of Representatives. Journal Service Plenary Affairs Bureau. No. 73. February 21, 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  8. Ten poorest provinces in 2003. Press Release. National Statistical Coordination Board (6 June 2006).
  9. Philippine Statistics Authority | Republic of the Philippines.
  10. "Open pit mine ban to hit TVI projects, Philex plan in Zamboanga Norte", Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1 November 2011. “Zamboanga del Norte has issued an ordinance banning open-pit mining in the province, threatening projects of mining firms operating in the area, such as those of TVI Resource Development.” 
  11. "Zamboanga del Norte ban on open-pit mining stands", Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inquirer Mindanao, 12 November 2011. “The provincial government of Zamboanga del Norte stands fast on its ban on open-pit mining and will fight in court the Canadian-mining company TVI Resources’ efforts to have the ordinance declared unconstitutional.” 
  12. "TVI Pacific closes Zamboanga mine", ABS-CBN News, 21 January 2014.