David Short informed me of the creation of the Negros Island Region. I made the appropriate updates. The
capital of the new region has not yet been chosen; Bacolod City is the largest city in the region. The ISO
code has also not yet been designated. New PSGC codes have been assigned. Mr. Short also noted that I had
assigned Corregidor Island to the wrong province under Territorial extent. That is fixed now.
"Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes, Edition 2" (GENC), a U.S. standard that's supposed to correspond
to ISO 3166-2, was issued on 2014-03-31. It used the same codes as ISO for all the provinces, except for
Davao Occidental, which was new at the time. On 2015-11-27, ISO issued the code
Davao Occidental. GENC gives Manila the code
PH-MAN, but that's for the "highly urbanized
city" Manila; it's not clear whether that is equivalent to the region of Metropolitan Manila, which is the
same as National Capital Region. The GENC region codes are also the same as the corresponding ISO codes. (As
a region, the ISO/GENC code for National Capital Region is
PH-00.) GENC also has codes for
"highly urbanized cities" and "independent component cities." For independent cities, the correspondence
between GENC codes and ISO codes is haphazard at best.
Update 12 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes (formerly FIPS 10-4) is dated 2013-06-30. It reconciles some
name and code changes that were made incorrectly when the GEC document was recompiled. I have already noted
the difficulty I had with discrepancies in earlier updates. I made three code changes in the main table to
reflect this latest update. The update also changes the status of some of the independent cities. Some
chartered cities have become highly urbanized cities; others have become independent component cities.
Update 11 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes (formerly FIPS 10-4) is dated 2013-04-30. It assigns a code to
Mr. Short has prepared a database called Phillipine Geographies, Areas and Codes (PGAC). It covers
regions, provinces, municipalities, barangays, and other civil and ecclesiastical geographies. He
distributes it in a .zip file (Download) that packs in two files: one for the data,
the other for documentation. Last updated 2011-07-27.
The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency issued a document in 2010-04 titled "Geopolitical Entities
and Codes" (GEC), intended to replace the discontinued federal standard FIPS 10-4. There have been two
updates to this document that affect the Philippines: Update 8 (2012-05-01) and Update 10 (2012-12-31).
There were some mistakes made along the way, but the codes have been straightened out.
Note that on this site, I don't attempt to maintain a list of chartered cities. I treat them as belonging to
the province that surrounds them.
Newsletter II-2, an update to the ISO 3166-2 standard, is dated 2010-06-30. It assigns ISO codes to two
somewhat-new regions. It also changes the spelling of Zamboanga-Sibugay and assigns the code
to Dinagat Islands.
Edward Jassen dela Peña sent me a pdf file containing the data for the 2007 Philippine census. I have
incorporated the populations in the table below (after checking that they agree with data on the
Philippines National Statistics Office site). A few points deserve mention.
- The pdf file contains a table of regions, provinces, and muncipalities, organized in outline form, so
that you can tell which municipalities fall under which provinces, and which provinces under which regions.
Fifteen independent cities are listed under the provinces with which they're associated, but their
populations are split out. That is, the sum of the populations of all of the municipalities in the province
is greater than the population reported for the province; if you omit the populations of one or more
independent cities, the remaining populations add up as expected. To compensate for this anomaly, I added
the populations of the excluded independent cities to their associated provinces.
- The excluded independent cities are a small subset of all independent cities in the Philippines. I
don't know how they were chosen, although they tend to be the larger ones.
- Two other independent cities, Isabela and Cotabato, are listed at province level in the outline. The
reason for this is probably that they are associated with provinces in ARMM, but they actually belong to
other regions. In the tables below, the populations of these cities are included in the populations of
Basilan and Maguindanao provinces, but regions 9 and 12, respectively. As a side effect, the populations
of the provinces in regions 9, 12, and ARMM don't add up to the populations of those regions.
- Shariff Kabunsuan province is listed in the file, because it was thought to be a province at the time
the census was taken. I have combined its population with Maguindanao's. (See change history for provinces,
- Palawan province is listed under region 4-B, not 6 (this is consistent with information shown below
under change history for regions, 2005).
- The total of all the province populations equals the total of all the region populations, but falls
short of the population given for the Philippines as a whole. The NSO website explains the discrepancy as
being due to territorial disputes within the Philippines, and the omission of members of the foreign
service living abroad (source ).
- The file also lists population data for each entity as of 2000-05-01 and 1995-09-01. The provincial
populations for 2000 match the ones I had previously listed for 71 provinces, and differ for 10 provinces.
The largest difference is 18,989 people for Rizal province. I still display the original figures.
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-2 was published on 2002-05-21. It shows one new region and six new provinces.
They were all created between 1992-03-16 and 2001-02-23. There are also some minor spelling changes, and the
code for one of the old regions is changed. The new ISO codes for provinces appear in the table below.
|Language||English (en), Pilipino|
The United States acquired the Philippines from Spain by conquest and purchase in 1899. Rebels against
Spain declared a Philippine Republic upon Spain's defeat. U.S. forces overcame the nationalists as well.
The islands became an insular area of the United States. On 1934-03-24, this status was changed to
commonwealth. The archipelago was invaded by Japan during World War II. After the war, the United States
granted independence on 1946-07-04.
Other names of country:
- Danish: Filippinerne
- Dutch: Filipijnen, Republiek Filipijnen (formal)
- English: Republic of the Philippines (formal)
- Finnish: Filippiinit
- French: Philippines fp
- German: Philippinen fp
- Icelandic: Filippseyjar
- Italian: Filippine fp
- Norwegian: Filippinene, Republikken Filippinene (formal) (Bokmål), Filippinane, Republikken Filippinane (formal) (Nynorsk)
- Pilipino: Republika ng Pilipinas (formal)
- Portuguese: Filipinas, República f das Filipinas fp (formal)
- Russian: Республика Филиппины (formal)
- Spanish: Filipinas, República f de Filipinas (formal)
- Swedish: Filippinerna
- Turkish: Filipinler, Filipinler Cumhuriyeti (formal)
Origin of name:
Named after King Philip II of Spain (1527-1598)
The Philippines is divided into 81 provinces and one region.
|Agusan del Norte |
|Agusan del Sur |
|6||546,031||471,088||2,522||974||San Jose (de Buenavista)|
|2||16,604||16,467||209||81||(Santo Domingo de) Basco|
|Camarines Norte |
|Camarines Sur |
|Compostela Valley |
|Davao del Norte |
|Davao del Sur |
|Davao Occidental |
|Davao Oriental |
|Dinagat Islands |
|Eastern Samar |
|Ilocos Norte |
|Ilocos Sur |
|Lanao del Norte |
|Lanao del Sur |
|La Union |
|ARMM||1,216,504||964,951||5,078||1,961||Shariff Aguak (1)|
|Misamis Occidental |
|Misamis Oriental |
|10||1,415,944||1,126,215||3,570||1,378||Cagayan de Oro|
|Negros Occidental |
|Negros Oriental |
|Northern Samar |
|Nueva Ecija |
|Nueva Vizcaya |
|Occidental Mindoro |
|Oriental Mindoro |
|South Cotabato |
|Southern Leyte |
|Sultan Kudarat |
|Surigao del Norte |
|Surigao del Sur |
|Zamboanga del Norte|
|Zamboanga del Sur |
|9||584,685||497,257|| || ||Ipil|
- Province: except for Metropolitan Manila, which is a region.
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
- ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
- FIPS: Codes from "Geopolitical Entities and Codes".
- PSGC: The National Statistical Coordination Board has defined a
Philippine Standard Geographic Code
published in 1977, and frequently updated, it's a set of nine-digit codes uniquely identifying
administrative division of the Philippines. I have omitted trailing zeros from all codes. Regions have
seven trailing zeros, provinces have five, chartered cities and municipalities have three, and barangays use
all nine digits. Metropolitan Manila has the code for its region; its subdivisions are four districts (not
provinces), and their codes have five trailing zeros. The codes are hierarchical: for example, the first
digits of a barangay code show what province the barangay is in.
- Reg: Region code. Exceptions: Cotabato and Marawi chartered cities
are in Central
Mindanao region, but they also belong to Maguindanao province and Lanao del Sur province,
Those provinces, excluding the chartered cities, are in the Autonomous Region in Muslim
- Pop-2010: 2010-05-01 census.
- Pop-2000: 2000-05-01 census.
- Capital: Note that the capitals of La Union and Pampanga are two different cities with
the same name.
Formal names include the parenthesized portions.
Note 1: I reported in "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries" that the
capital of Maguindanao moved from Maganoy to Sultan Kudarat in ~1978. I stated on this page that it moved from
Sultan Kudarat to Maganoy in ~1997. Both statements may have been true, but the underlying situation is more
complicated. David Short informs me that when the governor of Maguindanao province is from the Upper Valley,
the capital is Shariff Aguak (formerly known as Maganoy); when the governor is from the Lower Valley, Sultan Kudarat
becomes the capital. For most purposes it should suffice to say that Shariff Aguak and Sultan Kudarat are co-capitals.
Note 2: This is the code for Manila, considered as a chartered city, that
was given in the draft standard ISO/DIS 3166-2 (1996). ISO 3166-2 has not had a code on this level for the
Metropolitan Manila region since the official standard came out in 1998.
The Philippines uses four-digit postal codes. The first two digits represent a province, district, or city.
See the Municipalities of the Philippines page.
The Philippines have been divided into provinces since they were a Spanish colony, although there have been
many changes in the division. Since 1972-09-24, the provinces have been grouped into regions. The regions have
no government of their own, but are for administrative convenience. In addition, over the years, certain cities
have been designated as chartered cities. Technically, the chartered cities are no longer part of the province
within which they are located. Most of the provinces are further subdivided into numbered districts. There are
also some sub-provinces, which generally split off and form separate provinces in due course. All provinces are
subdivided into municipalities. The municipalities are similar in size to the chartered cities, but generally
lower in population. Municipalities and chartered cities are subdivided into barangays. The divisions I have
used are the provinces, each one combined with the chartered cities located within its limits, because it's
easiest to get statistics or maps for those units.
For more about the regions, see the end of the Change history section, below.
International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on December 15, 1998. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft
international standard), which came out in fall 1996. Both documents showed the Philippines divided into
fifteen regions, which are further subdivided into 73 provinces. The draft standard showed, in addition,
sixty-one chartered cities.
I believe that the divisions shown in "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries" were correct, and not the ISO
standard. The book listed 78 provinces (including Metropolitan Manila) as the primary subdivisions of the
Philippines. It listed sixteen regions, which are groupings of provinces. It listed sixty chartered cities.
The chartered cities are technically distinct from the provinces, and have a province-like status. The book
identified the chartered cities as sub-units of the provinces in which they're located, for several reasons.
On maps and in statistical lists, they're usually grouped with their provinces. If they were kept as separate
entities, that would have given the Philippines a total of 138 primary divisions, which is an excessive number
to deal with. The chartered cities were dropped from the final version of the ISO standard, showing that ISO
apparently agreed with this judgment. Also, consider how the chartered cities are handled by the PSGC. Their
codes show them to be subordinate to provinces in the hierarchy.
There were 61 chartered cities in 1996. According to the National Statistical Coordination Board, there were
84 of them by 2000-06-31. On 2000-12-31 there were 96; on 2004-12-31, 117; and on 2008-06-30, 136. If chartered
cities were treated as primary subdivisions of the Philippines, it would be a big maintenance chore to keep up
with the new ones. (See source .) Since the draft ISO standard and the FIPS standard both had codes for sixty
chartered cities, I present those sixty here for reference.
|Agusan del Norte|
|Cagayan de Oro|
|Zamboanga del Norte|
|Davao del Sur|
|Zamboanga del Norte|
|Lanao del Norte|
|Lanao del Sur|
|Zamboanga del Sur|
|Surigao del Norte|
|Zamboanga del Sur|
- ISO: Codes from ISO/DIS 3166-2 (superseded).
- FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
- Province: province in which the city is situated.
Aside from the omission of the chartered cities, there are a few other changes between the draft ISO standard
and the final version.
In the draft standard, twelve regions are coded using Roman numerals
I-XII, and three regions are
just identified by name. In the final standard, each region has a two-digit numeric code, as shown in the
table above. Caraga region is omitted from both versions.
Between the two documents, all the provinces and province codes remain the same, except that Samar
SAM) in the draft standard is replaced by Western Samar (
WSA) in the final
standard. In fact, the name of this province was changed from Western Samar to Samar in 1969, although the
former name is sometimes used.
The assignment of provinces to regions has remained the same, except for one thing: all the provinces that
were in Cordillera Administrative Region according to the draft standard have been put in Eastern Visayas
region, leaving Cordillera empty - obviously a mistake.
The Philippines claims part of the Spratly Islands, north of about 7.5° N. latitude in the South China Sea.
The group as a whole has been given the FIPS 10-4 country code
There is a single point in Mindanao where four provinces (Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and
As a rule, Philippine provinces are either part or all of a large island, along with some number of entire
smaller nearby islands. In the following list, the large island is mentioned first. A slash (/) before its
name indicates that the province only covers part of this island.
- Abra: /Luzon
- Agusan del Norte: /Mindanao
- Agusan del Sur: /Mindanao
- Aklan: /Panay, Borocay
- Albay: /Luzon, Batan, Cagraray, Rapu Rapu, San Miguel
- Antique: /Panay, Semirara Islands (Semirara, Sibay, Caluya), Batbatan, Maniquin, Seco
- Apayao: /Luzon
- Aurora: /Luzon
- Basilan: Basilan, Pilas Group, Tapiantana Group
- Bataan: /Luzon
- Batanes: Batan, Itbayat, Sabtang, Y'ami (northernmost point in Philippines)
- Batangas: /Luzon, Maricaban, Verde
- Benguet: /Luzon
- Biliran: Biliran, Maripipi
- Bohol: Bohol, Panglao, Lapinin, Mahanay
- Bukidnon: /Mindanao
- Bulacan: /Luzon
- Cagayan: /Luzon, Babuyan Islands (Camiguin, Calayan, Babuyan, Fuga, Dalupiri), Palaui
- Camarines Norte: /Luzon, Calagua Islands (Tinaga, Maculabo, Guintinua)
- Camarines Sur: /Luzon, Quinasalag, Lahuy, Butauanan
- Camiguin: Camiguin
- Capiz: /Panay, Olutayan
- Catanduanes: Catanduanes, Panay, Palumbanes, Parongpong, Calbagio
- Cavite: /Luzon, Corregidor
- Cebu: Cebu, Camotes Islands (Pacijan, Poro, Ponson), Bantayan, Mactan, Guintacan, Olango
- Compostela Valley: /Mindanao
- Cotabato: /Mindanao
- Davao del Norte: /Mindanao, Samal, Talikud
- Davao del Sur: /Mindanao, Sarangani Islands (Balut, Sarangani)
- Davao Oriental: /Mindanao
- Eastern Samar: /Samar, Homonhon, Hilaban, Manicani, Calicoan, Suluan
- Guimaras: Guimaras, Inampulugan
- Ifugao: /Luzon
- Ilocos Norte: /Luzon
- Ilocos Sur: /Luzon
- Iloilo: /Panay, Calagnaan, Tagubanhan, Sicogon, Pan de Azucar, Gigante Islands
- Isabela: /Luzon
- Kalinga: /Luzon
- La Union: /Luzon
- Laguna: /Luzon, Talim Island in Laguna de Bay (lake)
- Lanao del Norte: /Mindanao
- Lanao del Sur: /Mindanao
- Leyte: /Leyte
- Maguindanao: /Mindanao
- Marinduque: Marinduque, Mompog, Tres Reyes Islands
- Masbate: Masbate, Burias, Ticao, Naro, Jintotolo, Deagan
- Metropolitan Manila: /Luzon
- Mindoro Occidental: /Mindoro, Lubang Islands (Lubang, Ambil, Cabra, Golo), Ilin, Ambulong
- Mindoro Oriental: /Mindoro
- Misamis Occidental: /Mindanao
- Misamis Oriental: /Mindanao
- Mountain: /Luzon
- Negros Occidental: /Negros, Molocaboc
- Negros Oriental: /Negros
- Northern Samar: /Samar, Balicuatro Islands, Batag, Laoang, Capul, Dalupiri, Destacado, Cabaun
- Nueva Ecija: /Luzon
- Nueva Vizcaya: /Luzon
- Palawan: Palawan, Calamian Group (Busuanga, Culion, Coron, Calauit), Dumaran, Balabac, Linapacan, Bugsuk,
Pandanan, Maytiguid, Batas, Boayan, Cuyo Islands (Cuyo, Agutaya, Canipo), Cagayan Islands (Cagayan, Calusa),
Quiniluban Islands, San Miguel Islands, and the Philippines' claim to the Spratly Islands
- Pampanga: /Luzon
- Pangasinan: /Luzon, Cabarruyan, Santiago
- Quezon: /Luzon, Polillo Islands (Polillo, Patnanongan, Jomalig), Alabat, Cabalete, Pagbilao Grande
- Quirino: /Luzon
- Rizal: /Luzon
- Romblon: Tablas, Sibuyan, Romblon, Carabao, Banton, Maestre de Campo, Simara
- Samar: /Samar, Daram, Buad, Santo Niño, Almagro, Tagapula, Camandag, Libucan
- Sarangani: /Mindanao
- Siquijor: Siquijor
- Sorsogon: /Luzon
- South Cotabato: /Mindanao
- Southern Leyte: /Leyte, Panaon, Limasawa
- Sultan Kudarat: /Mindanao
- Sulu: Jolo Group (Jolo, Pata, Capual), Tapul Group (Siasi, Lugus, Tapul, Lapac), Pangutaran Group
(Pangutaran, Kulassein, North Ubian), Samales Group (Tungkil, Balanguingui), Laparan
- Surigao del Norte: /Mindanao, Dinagat, Siargao, Bucas Grande, Nonoc, East Bucas, Hibuson, Poneas, Hikdop,
Zaragosa, Sumilon, Basul, San Jose, Nasapilid
- Surigao del Sur: /Mindanao, General
- Tarlac: /Luzon
- Tawi-Tawi: Tawi Tawi, Sibutu Group (southernmost point in Philippines), Tandubatu, Sanga Sanga
- Zambales: /Luzon, Salvador
- Zamboanga del Norte: /Mindanao
- Zamboanga del Sur: /Mindanao
- Zamboanga-Sibugay: /Mindanao, Olutanga, Sacol, Great Santa Cruz, Malanipa, Lanhil, Sibago
The UN LOCODE page for Philippines lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.
Origins of names:
Most place names in the Philippines are native words that were sometimes misapplied, and always corrupted
in transmission from the natives to the Spanish explorers and colonists. There are also some Spanish names
bestowed by the colonists, and a few that have been translated into English. Usually the compass points are
identified as del Norte (Northern), del Sur (Southern), Occidental (Western), and Oriental (Eastern), but the
nomenclature is not consistent.
- Agusan: Malay agasan: where the water flows, originally a river name
- Albay: from former name of its capital, Albaybay, which means "by the bay"
- Antique: from hantic-hantic, native name of a species of ant
- Aurora: named for Doña Maria Aurora Quezon, wife of President Manuel Quezon
- Basilan: = iron trail
- Bohol: named after Bool, a village on the island
- Bukidnon: natives were called bukidnon: mountain people
- Bulacan: native word bulaklakan, freely translated "many flowers," or from Tagalog bulak:
- Cagayan: Ilocano carayan: big river, or catagayan: where the tagay trees grow
- Camarines: Spanish adaptation of a native place name Kamalig: granaries
- Camiguin: from kamagong, a tree in the ebony family
- Capiz: from kapid: twins, named by Spanish conquistadores when the local chief's wife had twins
- Caraga: Calagan, from Bisayan calag: soul, people + an: land
- Catanduanes: from catanduan: where the tando trees grow
- Cavite: Tagalog kawit: hook, after the shape of the city's peninsula
- Cotabato: Maguindanao kota wato: stone fort
- Davao: from Daba-o Daba-o: justice to the Bagobos, an epithet of ancient chieftain Datu Duli
- Ifugao: from pugo: hills
- Iloilo: from ilong-ilong: nose-shaped, referring to promontory between two rivers
- Isabela: named for Queen Isabela II of Spain
- Kalinga: Ibanag kalinga: headhunters
- Laguna: province contains part of Laguna de Bay (Spanish laguna: lake; Bay is a city name)
- La Union: = the union; province was formed by the union of towns from Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan
- Lanao: from ranao: lake, because of Lake Lanao
- Maguindanao: means "people of the flooded plains" (danao: flood)
- Manila: contraction of Maynilad, place of the nilad plant
- Masbate: supposedly, an explorer asked a local woman what the place was called. She thought he asked what
she was doing, and replied, "Masa bati": mix and beat more
- Mindanao: native name for "that which has been flooded"
- Mindoro: Spanish mina de oro: gold mine
- Misamis: from kuyamis, a variety of coconut found there
- Mountain: Spanish la montañosa: the mountainous [province]
- Negros: Spanish negros: blacks, referring to Negrito natives
- Nueva Ecija: = New Ecija, named by Governor Cruzar after Ecija, Spain, where he was born
- Nueva Vizcaya: = New Biscay, named by Governor Luis Lardizabal after his home province in Spain
- Palawan: Chinese pa-lao-yu: "land of beautiful harbors"
- Pampanga: from pangpang: river banks; explorers found natives mostly living by rivers
- Panay: Spanish pan: bread + hay: there is ("there is bread")
- Pangasinan: = the place where salt is made
- Quezon: named for Manuel Quezon (1878-1944), President of the Philippine Commonwealth
- Quirino: named for President Elpidio Quirino (1890-1956)
- Rizal: named for independence hero Dr. José P. Rizal (1861-1896)
- Shariff Kabunsuan: named for 16th-century Muslim missionary Shariff Mohammed Kabunsuan (an ancestor of
- Siquijor: supposedly, an explorer asked a native for the name of the island. He replied quipjod:
the tide is ebbing.
- Sorsogon: supposedly, an explorer asked a native where they were. He directed them to proceed upstream,
saying the Bicol word solsogon: "follow the river upstream."
- Sultan Kudarat: named after Sultan Mohammed Dipatuan Kudarat, 17th-century ruler of Mindanao and Sulu
- Sulu: from sug: water current (inhabitants were good navigators)
- Surigao: said to be named for an inhabitant named Saliagao
- Tawi-Tawi: from Malay jaui-jaui: far away, referring to the trip from the Asian mainland
- Zambales: from Malay sambali: worshippers, samba: to worship; natives worshipped a spirit
- Zamboanga: Malay jambangan: place of flowers
- Zamboanga-Sibugay: for the Sibuguey River
When the United States defeated Spain in 1898, the Philippine Islands were divided into four gobiernos
(governments): Bisayas, Islas Adjacentes (present-day Palawan), Luzon, and Mindanao. These were further
subdivided into provinces and districts. The American administration initially inherited the Spanish
divisions, placing them under military government. As the rebels were pacified, civil government was
established in the provinces, one by one.
This is the history of the division of the Philippines into provinces since 1900.
- 1901-06-11: Morong district (capital Tanay) merged with part of Manila province to form Rizal province.
- 1902: Mindoro province merged with Marinduque; Amburayan province split from La Union; Mindoro province,
including Lubang Island, merged with Marinduque province; 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, and capital moved from Cuyo to Puerto Princesa;
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.
- 1912: Capital of Nueva Ecija moved from San Isidro to Cabanatuan.
- ~1914: Capital of Bulacan moved from Bulacan to Malolos.
- 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. (Spanish
ambos: both. They had also been divided at various times in the 19th century, most recently 1857-1893.)
- 1920-02-21: Marinduque province split from Tayabas.
- 1920-12-15: Masbate province split from Sorsogon.
- 1921-02-20: Mindoro province split from Marinduque.
- 1925: Name of capital of Albay province changed from Albay to Legaspi (sometimes spelled Legazpi).
- 1929-11-02: Misamis province divided into Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental provinces (implemented
- 1934-03-24: Philippines became a commonwealth of the United States.
- 1945-09-26: Catanduanes province split from Albay.
- 1946: Romblon province merged with Capiz; split from it again on 1947-01-01.
- 1946-07-04: Philippines became independent.
- 1946-09-07: Name of Tayabas province changed to Quezon.
- 1948: Capital of country moved from Manila to Quezon City.
- ~1950: Name of capital of Capiz changed from Capiz to Roxas, in honor of President Manuel Roxas.
- 1950-06-13: Mindoro province (capital Calapan) split into Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental.
- 1952-06-06: Zamboanga province (capital Zamboanga) split into Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur.
- 1954: Capital of Cavite province moved from Cavite to Trece Martires.
- 1955-06-16: Capital of Camarines Sur province moved provisionally from Naga (formerly Nueva Caceres) to
Pili; change made permanent ~1962.
- 1956: Name of capital of Lanao changed from Dansalan to Marawi.
- 1956-04-25: Aklan province split from Capiz (implemented 1956-11-08).
- 1959-05-22: Lanao province (capital Marawi) divided into Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur; Southern
Leyte province split from Leyte.
- 1960-06-19: Surigao province (Surigao) divided into Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur provinces.
- 1965-06-19: Samar province (capital Catbalogan) divided into Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, and Western
- 1966-06-18: South Cotabato province (capital Koronadal) split from Cotabato (capital Cotabato, moved to
Pagalungan after the split); Benguet, Ifugao, and Kalinga-Apayao provinces split from Mountain; Camiguin
province split from Misamis Oriental.
- 1967-05-08: Davao province (capital Davao) 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
- ~1968: Capital of Nueva Ecija moved from Cabanatuan to Palayan.
- 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, following a referendum.
- 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
- 1975-11-08: Metropolitan Manila area split from Rizal province.
- 1976: Capital of country returned from Quezon City to Manila.
- 1979-08-13: Aurora province split from Quezon, following a referendum.
- 1982-06-24: Capital of Lanao del Norte moved from Iligan to Tubod.
- 1983-12-19: Name of North Cotabato province changed to Cotabato.
- 1986-01-03: Negros del Norte province (capital Cadiz) split from Negros Occidental, following a
referendum. This action was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. 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, following a referendum; Guimaras province split from
Iloilo, following a referendum.
- 1995-02-14: Kalinga-Apayao province split into Kalinga and Apayao provinces.
- ~1997: Capital of Tawi-Tawi province moved from Balimbing to Bongao. [This is a perplexing case. All of
my printed sources agree that the capital of Tawi-Tawi is Balimbing or Bato-Bato, which is another name for the
same place. Internet sources are nearly unanimous in naming Bongao as the capital. One of them explicitly
states that Bongao was capital from the beginning.]
- 1998-03-07: Compostela Valley province split from Davao province. It consists of the municipalities of
Nabunturan, Compostela, Laak (San Vicente), Mabini (Dona Alicia), Maco, Maragusan (San Mariano), Mawab,
Monkayo, Montevista, New Bataan, and Pantukan. Name of Davao province changed back to Davao del Norte.
- 2001-02-23: Zamboanga-Sibugay province split from Zamboanga del Sur by a plebiscite. The new province is
sometimes spelled Sibuguey, or other variants. Sibuguey was apparently the
name of the whole area during the period of Muslim rule. Zamboanga-Sibugay consists of sixteen of the 44
municipalities of Zamboanga del Sur: Alicia, Buug, Diplahan, Imelda, Ipil, Kabasalan, Mabuhay, Malangas,
Naga, Olutanga, Payao, Roseller T. Lim, Siay, Talusan, Titay, and Tungawan. Its capital is Ipil. According
to the 2000 census figures, the population of old Zamboanga del Sur province includes 497,239 people in the
municipalities which went to form Zamboanga-Sibugay; 1,437,941 people in the 28 municipalities which remained
in Zamboanga del Sur province; and 70 people living in disputed areas, so that it wasn't definitely known
which municipality they lived in. (In the main table, I arbitrarily divided these 70 people up in proportion
to the known populations, coming to 18 in Zamboanga-Sibugay and 52 in Zamboanga del Sur.)
- 2006-10-30: Shariff Kabunsuan province split from Maguindanao (former HASC code
PH.MG) by a
referendum conducted on October 28 and 29. The new province consisted of 11 of the 29 municipalities of
Maguindanao: Barira, Buldon, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Matanog, Northern Kabuntalan,
Parang, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, and Upi, constituting District 1 (out of 2) of the former Maguindanao
province. Based on the 2000 population of those municipalities, the population of Shariff Kabunsuan would be
529,697. Its capital was Datu Odin Sinsuat. Its PSGC code was
1584, and I assigned it the HASC
PH.SF, simultaneously changing Maguindanao's code to
PH.MA. This action was
found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Shariff Kabunsuan reverted to its original status on 2008-07-16.
- 2006-12-02: Dinagat Islands province formed by splitting Basilisa (Rizal), Cagdianao, Dinagat, Libjo
(Albor), Loreto, San Jose (the capital), and Tubajon municipalities from Surigao del Norte. On 2010-02-11, the
Supreme Court ruled that it had been formed in violation of the constitution. On 2011-03-30, the Court reversed
itself. I have changed the listings in the main table back and forth, reflecting each new development as it
occurred. Source , among others, confirms the latest change.
- 2013-10-28: Davao Occidental province split from Davao del Sur (former HASC code
plebiscite. The new province consists of Don Marcelino, Jose Abad Santos, Malita, Santa Maria, and Sarangani
municipalities. Malita is its capital.
This is the history of the division of the Philippines into regions.
- 1972-09-24: The provinces were grouped into eleven regions under Integrated Reorganization Plan. The
regions were Ilocos (I, San Fernando), Cagayan Valley (II, Tuguegarao), Central Luzon (III, San Fernando),
Southern Tagalog (IV, Quezon), Bicol (V, Legazpi), Western Visayas (VI, Iloilo), Central Visayas (VII, Cebu),
Eastern Visayas (VIII, Tacloban), Western Mindanao (IX, Jolo), Northern Mindanao (X, Cagayan de Oro), and
Southern Mindanao (XI, Davao). In parentheses are the region numbers, and the regional centers, or capitals.
(Presidential Decree No. 1)
- 1975-07-07: Zamboanga del Norte province moved from Western Mindanao region to Northern Mindanao.
Surigao del Sur province moved from Northern Mindanao region to Southern Mindanao. Central Mindanao region
(XII, Cotabato) created by taking Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur provinces from Northern Mindanao region
and Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces from Southern Mindanao region. (Presidential
Decree No. 742)
- 1975-08-21: Zamboanga del Norte moved back from Northern Mindanao region to Western Mindanao. Two
sub-regions created within Western Mindanao region. (Presidential Decree No. 773)
- 1976-01-23: Metropolitan Manila region (IV, Manila) created, consisting of the newly formed Metropolitan
Manila province-level area. At the same time, Southern Tagalog region was renumbered IV-A. (Presidential
Decree No. 879). Later, Metropolitan Manila region was renamed National Capital Region and designated NCR
in place of a number, while Southern Tagalog became IV once more.
- 1978-06-11: Center of Western Mindanao moved from Jolo to Zamboanga. (Presidential Decree No. 1555)
- 1979-07-25: Status of Central Mindanao and Western Mindanao regions changed to autonomous regions.
(Presidential Decree No. 1618)
- 1989-08-01: Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) created by taking Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao
provinces from Western Mindanao region and Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces from Central Mindanao, following a
referendum. However, the chartered cities of Cotabato and Marawi, although they lie within Maguindanao and
Lanao del Sur, respectively, voted not to become part of ARMM, and so remained in Central Mindanao region.
Autonomous status of Central Mindanao and Western Mindanao regions was rescinded. (Republic Act No. 6734)
- 1989-10-23: Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR, Baguio) created by taking Abra, Benguet, and
Mountain provinces from Ilocos region and Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao provinces from Cagayan Valley. It
was intended to become Cordillera Autonomous Region, but that move required a favorable vote by the
inhabitants, which has not yet been obtained. (Republic Act No. 6766)
- 1995-02-23: Caraga region (XIII, Butuan) created by taking Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Surigao
del Norte provinces from Northern Mindanao region and Surigao del Sur province from Southern Mindanao. Sultan
Kudarat province moved from Central Mindanao region to Southern Mindanao. (Republic Act No. 7901.) These were
the regions at that time:
|Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao||ARMM|
|Cordillera Administrative Region||CAR|
|National Capital Region||NCR|
|2,483,272||14,033||Cagayan de Oro|
|16 regions||68,616,536||300,077|| |
- Reg: region number or abbreviation
- ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
- PSGC: See explanation above.
- Population: 1995-09-01 census
- 1997: Sultan Kudarat province moved from Southern Mindanao region to Central Mindanao region, reversing
the change of 1995-02-23.
- 2001-09-19: Basilan province moved from Western Mindanao region to Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,
except for Isabela city, which remained in Western Mindanao. Lanao del Norte province and Marawi chartered
city moved from Central Mindanao region to Northern Mindanao. Sarangani and South Cotabato provinces moved
from Southern Mindanao region to Central Mindanao. Central Mindanao region renamed to SOCCSKSARGEN, an acronym
for SOuth Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and SARangani provinces and GENeral santos chartered city.
Southern Mindanao region renamed to Davao Region. Western Mindanao region renamed to Zamboanga Peninsula.
(Executive Order No. 36)
- 2002-05-17: Aurora province moved from Southern Tagalog region to Central Luzon. The remainder of Southern
Tagalog region split into CALABARZON (IV-A, no center designated) and MIMAROPA (IV-B, Quezon City). The names
of the new regions are acronyms for the provinces they contain (CAvite, LAguna, BAtangas, Rizal, queZON; MIndoro,
MArinduque, ROmblon, PAlawan). (Source ).
- 2002-05-21: ISO 3166-2 code for Cordillera Administrative Region changed from
15. Caraga received code
- 2003-10-28: Calamba was designated as the regional center of CALABARZON. (Executive Order No. 246)
- 2004-03-30: Center of Soccsksargen region moved from Cotabato to Koronadal. (Executive Order No. 304)
- 2004-11-12: Center of Zamboanga Peninsula moved from Zamboanga to Pagadian. (Executive Order No. 429)
- 2005-05-23: Palawan province moved from MIMAROPA region to Western Visayas. (Executive Order No. 429)
- 2005-08-19: Transfer of Palawan suspended, pending further preparation. Therefore, Palawan is still
effectively part of region IV-B. (Administrative Order No. 129)
- ~2005: Some PSGC region codes changed. The new list doesn't show a code for Metropolitan Manila. I'm
assuming that its code is unchanged.
- 2010-06-30: ISO 3166-2 standard update assigned separate ISO codes to CALABARZON and MIMAROPA, formerly both
- 2010-06-30: ISO 3166-2 code for several regions changed.
- 2015-05-30: Negros Island Region formed by taking Negros Occidental province from Western Visayas region and
Negros Oriental province from Central Visayas region (see reference ). Now the list of regions looks like this.
|Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao||ARMM|
|Cordillera Administrative Region||CAR|
|National Capital Region||NCR|
|Negros Island Region||NIR|
|4,297,323||2,747,585||14,033||Cagayan de Oro|
- Reg: Region number or abbreviation. Numbers are often displayed as Roman numerals.
- ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
- PSGC: See explanation above.
- Pop-2010: 2010-05-01 census (proleptic).
- Pop-2000: 2000-05-01 census (proleptic).
- Area: Areas for new regions calculated by adding the areas of their provinces, and do
not agree with
- Capitals: Note that the capitals of regions 1 and 3 are two different cities with the
Other names of subdivisions:
The names ending with Occidental and Oriental have variants with the words interchanged, such as Occidental
Mindoro for Mindoro Occidental.
- Compostela Valley: Compostella Valley (variant)
- Cotabato: North Cotabato (obsolete)
- Davao del Norte: Davao (obsolete)
- Eastern Samar: Samar Oriental (variant)
- Manila: Manilha (Portuguese); Manille (French)
- Mountain: Mountain Province (variant)
- Nueva Vizcaya: Nueva Viscaya (variant)
- Samar: Western Samar (obsolete)
- Sulu: Jolo (obsolete)
- SOCCSKSARGEN: Central Mindanao (variant)
- Davao Region: Southern Mindanao (obsolete)
- Zamboanga Peninsula: Western Mindanao (obsolete)
-  National Statistics Office (NSO)
-  NSO table
(see footnotes; retrieved 2008-10-12).
-  Republic Act No.
9355 (retrieved 2007-05-13) authorized a referendum to be held on 2006-12-02 for
the creation of Dinagat Islands province.
-  2002 Factsheet 2, National
Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Website (retrieved 2002-11-18).
-  2001 Factsheet 1 ,
2001 Factsheet 6 ,
2001 Factsheet 9 ,
2002 Factsheet 1 ,
2003 Factsheet 2 ,
2004 Factsheet 1 ,
2005 Factsheet 5 .
-  Philippine Standard Geographic
Code page on the NSCB website (retrieved 2001-06-10).
-  "1992 Philippine Statistical Yearbook". National Statistical Coordination Board, Manila, 1992.
-  NSO Index of Demographic
Statistics (retrieved 1997).
-  Planet
Naga site (retrieved 2008-01-31) has local news items.
-  GMA
News Online reported the Supreme Court's 2011 decision on Dinagat Islands
-  Executive Order No.
183 (retrieved 2015-06-20).