Top 20 Biggest Philippine Cities Outside Greater Manila Area

There are 145 cities of the Philippines as of September 30, 2016. Thirty-three of these are Highly Urbanized Cities (HUC), five are Independent Component Cities (ICC), with the rest being Component Cities (CC) of their respective provinces.

Of 33 component cities, 12 located in Negros Occidental and one of five independent cities – the Bacolod City.

The following is the top 20 biggest cities outside the Greater Manila Area (GMA).

GMA includes parts of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas to the South, and parts of Rizal, Bulacan, and Pampanga to the North.

Davao City

#1. Davao City

The home of President Rodrigo Duterte has a total population of 1.65 million 2,443.61 km2. Davao City topped in population and land area. Davao is considered a highly-urbanized city.

#2. Zamboanga City

Zamboanga City is the biggest city in the Southernmost part of the Philippines. It has a population of 861,800 and a total land area of 1,414.70 km2. Zamboanga is also the centre of trade in Southern Mindanao. Zamboanga City is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

#3. Cagayan De Oro City

Cagayan de Oro City is a 1st class highly urbanized city in Northern Mindanao, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 675,950 people. It is a chartered city and capital of the province of Misamis Oriental where governance is independent and separate from the province. It also serves as the regional centre and business hub of Northern Mindanao (Region X).

#4. General Santos City

General Santos City or GenSan, is a 1st class highly urbanized city in Soccsksargen, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 594,446 people.

Located on the island of Mindanao, it is the southernmost and 15th-most populous city in the Philippines. It is the regional centre for commerce and industry of the Soccsksargen region, and is geographically located within the province of South Cotabato but administered independently of it.

#5. Bacolod City

Bacolod City is a highly urbanized city in the Philippines. It is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental where it is geographically situated but governed administratively independent from it.

Having a total of 561,875 inhabitants as of 2015 census, it is the most populous city in the Western Visayas and the second most populous city in the Visayas after Cebu City.

Bacolod is always ranked on top 5 of the most livable cities in the Philippines, toping the list on 2012, 2014, and 2015 according to Moneysense Magazine.

#6. Iloilo City

Iloilo City is a highly urbanized city on the southeastern tip of Panay island in the Philippines. It is the capital city of the province of Iloilo where it is geographically situated but, in terms of government and administration, it is politically independent

In the 2015 census, Iloilo City had a population of 447,992 inhabitants, with a 1.02% population annual growth rate

#7. Lapu-Lapu City

Lapu-Lapu and formerly called Open, is a highly urbanized city in the region of Central Visayas, Cebu, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 408,112. In the 2016 electoral roll, it had 188,815 registered voters.

#8. Mandaue City

Mandaue City, is a highly urbanized city in the region of Central Visayas (Region VII), Philippines. The city has an area of 2,518 ha (6,220 acres). According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 362,654. In the 2016 electoral roll, it had 189,712 registered voters.

#9. Baguio City

Baguio City is a mountain resort city located in Northern Luzon, Philippines. It is known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, owing to its cool climate since the city is located approximately 1,540 meters (5,050 feet) above sea level in the Luzon tropical pine forests ecoregion, which also makes it conducive for the growth of mossy plants and orchids.

Baguio is classified as a Highly Urbanized City (HUC). According to the 2015 census, Baguio has a population of 345,366.

#10. Iligan City

Iligan City, is a 1st class highly urbanized city in Northern Mindanao, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 342,618 people. Iligan has a total land area of 813.37 square kilometres (314.04 sq mi), making it one of the 10 largest cities in the Philippines in terms of land area.

#11. Tarlac City

The City of Tarlac is a 1st class city and capital of the province of Tarlac, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 342,493 people. Tarlac City was proclaimed a Highly Urbanized City under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but the decision was opposed by the provincial government.

#12. Butuan City

Butuan City is a highly urbanized city in the Philippines and the regional centre of Caraga. It is located at the northeastern part of the Agusan Valley, Mindanao, sprawling across the Agusan River. It is bounded to the north, west and south by Agusan del Norte, to the east by Agusan del Sur and to the northwest by Butuan Bay. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 337,063 people.

#13. Cabanatuan City

Cabanatuan City is a 1st class city in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 302,231 people, making it as the most populous city in Nueva Ecija and the 5th populous in Central Luzon.

#14. Cotabato City

Cotabato City, officially the City of Cotabato is a city in the Philippines in the province of Maguindanao, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 299,438.

Although Cotabato City is the regional centre of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), but the city is administratively part of the Soccsksargen region, which is composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, (North) Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani, as well as the highly urbanized city of General Santos. Cotabato City is an independent component city, not subject to regulation from the Provincial Government of Maguindanao where it is geographically located.

#15. Lucena City

Lucena, officially the City of Lucena is a first-class highly urbanized city and it is the capital city of the province of Quezon, Philippines and the only first-class Highly Urbanized City located in the Calabarzon Region. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 266,248 people, making it the most populous area in the province.

#16. Tagum City

Tagum City is a 1st class city and capital of the Davao del Norte, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 259,444 people. It is the most populous component city in Mindanao.

Tagum City one of the topmost livable cities in the Philippines, and was one of the finalists in Most Child-Friendly City in the Philippines – Component Category along with Laoag, and Talisay, Cebu.

#17. Puerto Princesa City

Puerto Princesa, officially the City of Puerto Princesa, and often referred to as Puerto Princesa City, is a 1st class Highly Urbanized City in the Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 255,116 people.

It the least densely populated city in the Philippines. In terms of land area, the city is the second-largest geographically after Davao City with an area of 2,381.02 square kilometres (919.32 sq mi). Puerto Princesa is the location of the Philippines’ Western Command headquarters.

#18. Tacloban City

Tacloban City is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the Philippines. It serves as the regional centre of the region of Eastern Visayas. The city is autonomous from the province of Leyte, although it serves as its provincial capital.

According to the 2015 census, Tacloban has a population of 242,089, making it the most populous city in the Eastern Visayas. In the 2016 electoral roll, it had 124,777 registered voters. The city is located 360 miles (580 km) southeast from Manila.

#19. Talisay City

Talisay City is a 3rd city income class component city in the province of Cebu, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 227,645. In the 2016 electoral roll, it had 120,240 registered voters. Primarily a residential and trading centre, Talisay lies within the Metro Cebu area. Talisay is the most populous component city in the Philippines.

#20. Ormoc City

Ormoc City is a 1st class independent component city in the province of Leyte in the region of Eastern Visayas of the Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 215,031 inhabitants, making it the second-most-populous city in the province after the provincial capital, Tacloban City. Ormoc is the economic, cultural, commercial and transportation hub of western Leyte.

 
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