Discover the 3 Most Populated Cities in the Philippines

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Published: December 5, 2022
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Officially the Republic of the Philippines, the Philippines is an island country in Southeast Asia, consisting of over 7,600 islands which are split into three main geographical divisions. With a total area of 115,831 square miles, the country is home to over 115 million people. The country is the 7th most populated in Asia and the 13th most populous country in the world. As mentioned earlier, the Philippines is an island country, an archipelago created by volcanic eruptions at least 50 million years ago.

After confirming that the eruptions had stopped, inhabitants of mainland Asia slowly began to migrate, filling up the region. About 30,000 years ago, the region had almost been completely inhabited, and most of the people who settled there were Chinese merchants. Considering the current population of the country, this article will discuss some of the most populated cities in the Philippines.

1. Quezon City – 2,960,048

Philippines, Office Building Exterior, Quezon City, Urban Skyline, Aerial View
With around 2.9 million residents, Quezon City is the most populated city in the Philippines.

© Edwards

Quezon City is the most populated city in the Philippines, with around 2.9 million inhabitants. Also known as the City of Quezon or Q.C., the city was founded in 1939, and it was supposed to be named Balintawak City, but was instead named after the second Philippines president, Manuel L. Quezon. The city covers an area of 62.20 square miles, making it the largest by land area in Metro Manila. Before the city was created as it is, the region comprised smaller towns scattered around, and the president at the time saw a need for a new city that could become the country’s capital. The need to replace the country’s capital arose from the fact that the capital at the time was overcrowded. 

Just like the president at the time had wanted, the city became the capital of the Philippines from 1946 until 1972. Also known as the “City of The Star,” the city is popular for its urban infrastructure and role in the country’s political scene by housing several national government offices. Because of its interesting architecture and tons of attractions, from parks to museums, to animal centers, the city draws in a lot of tourists from other parts of Asia and around the world. Another thing that also attracts tourists to the city is its rich history and diverse cuisine and dining options. 

Quezon City sits in the northeast part of Metro Manila. While there are a lot of big companies and emerging industries changing the city’s economic scene, Quezon’s economy is still dominated by small and medium-scale businesses. Apart from the numerous small businesses present, Quezon City’s economy is also supported by various malls, farmers’ markets, amusement parks, a local supermarket chain, and more.

2. City of Manila – 1,850,000

Manila - Philippines, Philippines, Urban Skyline, Greater Manila Area, City
The City of Manila is the capital city of the Philippines.


Manila, officially known as the City of Manila, is the capital city of the Philippines and also the second-largest city in terms of population. With over 1.8 million inhabitants, the city is very urbanized and won the award for the world’s most densely populated city a few years ago. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, Manila was referred to by surrounding communities as Ginto (meaning land of gold) or Suvarnadvipa, and became formally known as the Kingdom of Maynila or the “Kota Seludong.” After the arrival of the Spaniards, the name Maynila was hispanized and became Manila. 

The city serves as the nation’s commercial, political, social, and cultural hub. For more than four centuries, Manila has served as the capital of the Philippines and as both the country’s main port of entry and the hub of its economic growth. It only ever lost the title of the capital city to Quezon but got it back after a few years. Since the city’s devastation during World War II and its reconstruction, it has had tremendous economic growth; nevertheless; as a result, it is also afflicted with the typical urban issues of pollution, traffic congestion, and overpopulation. The overpopulation faced by the city is caused by the constant rural-urban migration of the inhabitants of the Philippines. 

Manila’s architectural styles reflect American, Spanish, Chinese, and Malay influences, a testament to how diverse the city truly is. The city is also the Philippines’ center for trade and finance, as most of the imports and exports of the country pass through the city’s port. Tourism is also an important part of the city’s economy, welcoming over a million tourists each year. The city is home to several museums and buildings that explain its history, malls and shopping centers to find the perfect souvenirs, parks, beaches, volcanoes, good food, and a very exciting street life.

3. Davao City – 1,776,949

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


As the third most populated city in the Philippines, Davao City has a total of over 1.7 million inhabitants. The city has a total land area of 943.48 square miles, making it the largest city in the Philippines by land area. With over 50 small ports included in its commercial area, the city serves as the primary regional hub for southeast Mindanao. Despite being a budding commercial hub, the outer areas of the city are still very rural. It is connected to other major cities in the Philippines by a series of highways and has local and international airports. 

The city was built as a Japanese colony before World War II. However, the city was destroyed during the war. The reconstructed city features a charming fusion of Spanish, American, and Moorish influences. Davao City is one of the island’s most significant economies and the third-most significant metropolitan hub in the Philippines. It is also known for its lively economic activity, urban development, and modern facilities. 

Apart from being a strong contributor to the advancement of the Philippines’ economy, Davao City is also an attractive tourist spot. Thanks to the airport in the city, it is accessible to tourists from other parts of the country and other countries also. The city is home to several man-made and natural attractions that keep tourists busy for hours; stunning architecture, beaches, conservation centers, amazing cuisine, etc. Apart from these attractions, tourists also visit the city a lot because it is one of the safest in the country. 

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Manila - Philippines, Philippines, Urban Skyline, Greater Manila Area, City

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  1. Philippine Statistics Authority, Available here:
  2. WorldAtlas, Available here:
  3. World Population Review, Available here: