Discover the 6 Largest Cities in the Philippines

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: April 24, 2023
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The Philippines lies in the Pacific Ocean as an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. 113 million people call this country home, and it receives over seven million tourists each year on average. From underground rivers to some of the world’s largest shopping malls, the Asian country has much to offer its residents and visitors. Discover the six largest cities in the Philippines by area and learn what they offer.

Note: This article is about the largest cities in the Philippines by land size. Check out this article for the most populated cities.

Davao City

Davao City, Philippines, Above, Aerial View, Architecture
Davao City is the largest city in the Philippines by area and population.


Land Size: 943 sq. miles (city), 1,530 sq. miles (metro)

Population: 1.7 million (city), 2.7 million (metro)

Location/Geography: Davao City is the largest city in the Philippines by area and the second largest by population. It is in the Davao del Sur province and features hilly areas in the west, which slope into the southeastern shore.

Notable For: Davao City is a first-class city and is notable for its shopping centers, museums, skewered meat dishes, natural beauty, festivals, wildlife, cockfighting, and ferry boats.

Best Tourist Attractions: People’s Park, Davao Crocodile Park & Zoo, Philippine Eagle Center, San Pedro Metropolitan Cathedral, Roxas Night Market, SM Lanang Premier, D’Bone Collector Museum, Museo Dabawenyo, and Malagos Garden Resort

Puerto Princesa

Puerta Princesa, Philippines
Cave entrance of Puerto Princesa subterranean underground river with longtail boat. This city is a hotspot for tourism.

©View Apart/

Land Size: 919 sq. miles (total)

Population: 307,000 (total)

Location/Geography: Puerto Princesa is the westernmost city in the Philippines. It is a highly urbanized area in the Palawan province in the Mimaropa region. It is located in the middle of Palawan Island, with the Sulu Sea to the east and the South China Sea to the west.

Notable For: This city is a hot spot for tourism and has an underground river, restaurants, shopping malls, luxury hotels, national parks, and beaches.

Best Tourist Attractions: Subterranean River National Park, City Baywalk Park, Baker’s Hill, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Mitra’s Ranch, Plaza Cuartel, Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village, and Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center

Zamboanga City

Zamboanga City, Philippines
Zamboanga City is known for its sardine industry, shopping malls, pink sand beaches, and gardens.

©Alex Traveler/

Land Size: 561 sq. miles (city)

Population: 977,000 (city), 4.7 million (metro)

Location/Geography: Zamboanga City is located in the Zamboanga Peninsula. It is an independent and chartered city but grouped in Zamboanga del Sur province for statistical purposes. 

Notable For: Visitors know Zamboanga City for its sardine industry, shopping malls, pink sand beaches, lagoons, sports, and gardens.

Best Tourist Attractions: Paseo del Mar, Fort Pilar Shrine, Pasonanca Park, KCC Mall De Zamboanga, Merloquet Falls, Grande Santa Cruz Island, Canelar Barter Trade, and the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception


Isabela Province, Philippines
Ilagan is the capital of Isabela Province. The area features mainly agricultural land.


Land Size: 450 sq. miles (total)

Population: 158,000 (total)

Location/Geography: Ilagan is the capital of Isabela province in the Cagayan Valley. Most of the area contains agricultural land, forests, grasslands, residential areas, and city centers.

Notable For: Ilagan is a smaller tourist destination featuring caves, falls, war tunnels, sports complexes, ping-pong, and education.

Best Tourist Attractions: Queen Isabela Park, Abuan River, Fuyot Springs National Parks, Ilagan Sanctuary, Bonifacio Park, Ilagan Japanese Tunnel, and Rizal Park


Malaybalay, Philippines
Pineapple plantation at Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Philippines. Malaybalay is the capital city of Bukidnon Province.


Land size: 374 sq. miles (total)

Population: 190,000 (total)

Location/Geography: Malaybalay is the capital city of Bukidnon province, a landlocked province in the Northern Mindanao region. The area features steep hills, mountains, and streams.

Notable For: People know Malaybalay for its agricultural industry, festivals, natural areas, monasteries, World War history, monuments, resorts, and farms.

Best Tourist Attractions: Abbey of Transfiguration Monastery, Kaamulan Park, Nasuli Spring, Mt. Capistrano, Ereccion de Pueblo, Mount Dulang-Dulang, and Capitol Grounds.


Calbayog, Philippines
Calbayog City sits along a coastal region in the Samar Province. It is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation.

©MDV Edwards/

Land Size: 340 sq. miles (total)

Population: 186,000 (total)

Location/Geography: Calbayog sits along a coastal region in the Samar province located in the Eastern Visayas region. The city features plains, hilly terrain, rugged mountains, rivers, brooks, and streams.

Notable For: Calbayog is a city of natural beauty and notable for its falls, parks, caves, cathedrals, outdoor recreation, and museums.

Best Tourist Attractions: Tarangban Falls, Nijaga Park, Guinogo-an Cave, Daraga Island, Malajog Zipline and Ridge Nature Park, Samar Archaeological Museum, St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, and Gaisano Grand Mall

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Davao City, Philippines, Above, Aerial View, Architecture

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer and content creator focusing on nature, wildlife, food, and travel. She graduated Kappa Beta Delta from Florida State College with a business degree before realizing writing was her true passion. She lives in the Triangle area and enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking!

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