Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

The Philippines is an archipelago1 and is divided into regions2 since 1972.A region is an administrative division based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. Each region is further subdivided in provinces3, composed of cities4 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6, formerly called barrios, according to Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines”.7

Filipino Senior Citizens (SCs), you might ask: “Tita S, why write about this?” I’ll answer you with a question too, “Well, do you know all 17 regions of our beloved country and how many have you visited?” Besides, this post is also for the SCs and non-SCs from other countries who are curious to know more about our country, and as a Filipino, I am proud to share this information. Recall as well that I plan to travel as much as I can and explore the various regions of our beautiful country, ok? Besides, we can all be tourism ambassadors of our beloved country so we need to know this information if a foreigner asks.

This post can also help us make our SC bucket list. We can tick off our trips by region2. Or, if you like, you can also make your Philippine bucket list by province3 or by city4/town, depending on your state of health, interest and budget. Be wowed by our country before going abroad! I just wish that it will less expensive and more SC-friendly to travel domestically.

There are 17 regions in the Philippines, 16 are administrative regions8, and one is an autonomous region9, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) – see Region XV below. Allow me to briefly describe each region2, based on Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines”:

Region I, called the Ilocos Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with San Fernando (La Union) as its regional center. It has 5 local government units11 (LGUs): Dagupan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan.

Region II, called the Cagayan Valley Region, is a Philippine region located in the island groupof Luzon10, with Tuguegarao as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, Quirino, and Santiago.

Region III, called the Central Luzon Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with San Fernando (Pampanga) as its regional center. It has 9 local government units11 (LGUs): Angeles, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Olongapo, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.

Region IV-A, called the CALABARZON Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with Calamba as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Lucena, Quezon, and Rizal. NOTE: CALABARZON is an acronym for this region’s provinces: CAvite, LAguna, BAtangas, Rizal, QueZON.

Region V, called the Bicol Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Legazpi as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Naga, and Sorsogon.

Region VI, called the Western Visayas Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Iloilo City as its regional center. It has 8 local government units11 (LGUs): Aklan, Antique, Bacolod, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Iloilo City, and Negros Occidental.

Region VII, called the Central Visayas Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

Region VIII, called the Eastern Visayas Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Tacloban as its regional center. It has 8 local government units11 (LGUs): Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Ormoc, Samar, Southern Leyte, and Tacloban.

Region IX, or the Zamboanga Peninsula Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Pagadian as its regional center. It has 5 local government units11 (LGUs): Isabela City, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga de Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay.

Region X, or the Northern Mindanao Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Cagayan de Oro as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Iligan, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental.

Region XI, or the Davao Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Davao City as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Compostela Valley, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Davao Occidental.

Region XII,or the SOCCSKSARGEN Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Koronadal as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Cotabato, Cotabato City, General Santos, Sarangani, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat. NOTE: SOCCSKSARGEN is an acronym for this region’s provinces: SOuthCotabato, Cotabato, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, SARangani, GENeral Santos.

Region XIII, or the Caraga Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Butuan as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs):  Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Butuan, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

Region XIV, or the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with Baguio as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Abra, Apayao, Baguio, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.

Region XV, or theAutonomous Region9 in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), isa Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Cotabato City as its regional center. It has 5 local government units11 (LGUs): Basilan (excluding Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

The latest news regarding Region XV was on July 17, 2018 when the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, was approved by the 28-member bicameral conference committee (House of Representatives and Senate of the Philippines combined). It was ratified by both the Senate and House of Representatives on July 23 and 24, respectively, and was signed into law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on July 26, 2018, according to the Wikipedia page “Bangsamoro Organic Law”.29 The law will then be ratified through a plebiscite in November 2018. If it is ratified, the ARMM will be replaced by this new region. If not, ARMM will stay.30 Let us wait and see if there will be changes regarding this region, which might affect the composition of the other existing Mindanao regions.

The National Capital Region (NCR) is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10,with Manila as its regional center. It is the official and administrative urban area in the southwestern portion of Luzon surrounding Manila, established in 1975 through Presidential Decree No. 824. It is the capital region of the Philippines, the seat of government, and is officially called Metro Manila, composed of 16 cities4 (Caloocan, Las Piñas, Malabon, Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Novotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon City, San Juan, Taguig, Valenzuela) and the municipality5 of Pateros. It is the center of culture, economy, education and government of the Philippines.

MIMAROPA, or the Southwestern Tagalog Region (as of 2016), is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with Calapan as its regional center. MIMAROPA is an acronym for this region’s provinces: MIndoro (Occidental and Oriental), MArinduque, ROmblon, PAlawan. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Puerto Princesa (a city in Palawan), and Romblon. This region was formerly called Region IV-B (2002-2016).

Now, Senior Citizens, can you add one milestone to your travel list? Why don’t you visit even just one province3 per region2? Then, you can say that you visited all the regions of our country, right? Achieve!

Did you find this post informative? Dear Filipino SC, from what Philippine region do you come from? Please tell me and my followers the wonderful destinations, sites, or events that you recommend for SCs like us to enjoy when we visit your region. I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1An archipelago is a chain or cluster of islands or an island group. It is isolated, surrounded by bodies of water, and often volcanic, according to Wikipedia page “Archipelago”.14 Examples are the Philippines, Greece, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand, to name a few.

2A region is the first-order administrative division inthe Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces3, composed of cities and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6. The aforementioned Philippine regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”7

3A provinceis the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region2. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”15

4A city is the local government unit in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod16 (city council), which acts as the city’s legislative body. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”17

5A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU), in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province3, subdivided into barangays6, and is called town, or “bayan”. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. There are almost 1,500 municipalities in the Philippines and there are 6 income classes of municipalities in the country (based on annual income): first class municipality (with at least 400 million pesos); second class municipality (between 320,000,000-less than 400 million pesos); third class municipality (between 240 million-less than 320 million pesos); fourth class municipality (between 160 million-less than 240 million pesos); fifth class municipality (between 80 million-less than 160 million pesos); and, sixth class municipality (below 80 million). All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”18

6A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines.A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”19

7“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines.

8An administrative region in the Philippines is an administrative grouping of provinces in the Philippines, except the National Capital Region which is composed of cities4 and municipalities5, according to Wikipedia page “Administrative divisions of the Philippines”.20

9An autonomous region in the Philippines is an administrative grouping of provinces3 in the Philippines which has the authority to control the region’s culture and economy. This region2 is a minority entity that has a higher population of a particular minority ethnic group, according to Wikipedia page “Administrative divisions of the Philippines”.20

10Luzon is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the country’s largest (ranked 15th largest in the world) and most populated island, as well as its economical and political center. Luzon is composed of 8 regions2: Bicol, Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Cordillera, Ilocos, MIMAROPA and the National Capital Region. The 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Visayas12 and Mindanao13.

11A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces3 and independent cities21; component cities22 and municipalities5; and, barangays6, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.23

12Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions: Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Panay and Samar) mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.24 See the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines: Luzon10 and Mindanao13.

13Mindanao is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the second largest island of the country and covers 6 administrative regions: CARAGA Region, Davao Region, Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, Zamboanga Peninsula, and ARMM.It is composed of 22 provinces and 33 cities. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Mindanao.”25 See the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines: Luzon10 and Visayas12.

14“Archipelago,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archipelago.

15“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines.

16Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) is the legislature of cities in the Philippines, with legislative and quasi-judicial powers and functions. The vice mayor of the municipality, or city, serves as the presiding officer, with councilors as members. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Sangguniang Panlungsod”26

 17“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines.

18“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines.

19“Barangay,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay.

20“Administrative Divisions of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administrative_Divisions_of_the_Philippines.

21An independent city is a type of city4 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province3 so it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region2 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city27 or independent component city28. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”17

22A component city is a type of city4 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city27. It is under the jurisdiction of a province3. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality5.

23“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines.

24“Visayas,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas.

25“Mindanao,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindanao.

26“Sangguniang Panlungsod,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangguniang_Panlungsod.

27A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city4 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.17 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link below).

28An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city4 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city27. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”17

29“Bangsamoro Organic Law.” accessed August 8, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangsamoro_Organic_Law

30www.newsinfo.inquirer.net