The Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The Philippines is divided into three major island groups: Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. Luzon and Mindanao archipelagoes are both named after the largest island in their respective groups, while the Visayas (also referred to as the Visayan Islands) is an archipelago of roughly similar-sized islands.

Administrative divisions

The islands of the Philippines are organized into three distinct island groups according to regions:[clarification needed]

If a province is reassigned into a new region, it may also be reassigned to a new island group, as is the case with Palawan, when it was temporarily assigned from Mimaropa to Western Visayas and thus temporarily was considered part of the Visayas.

The island groups themselves do not have governments of their own, but are instead divided into provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays, which do have their own local governments. The island groups are used for statistical convenience and in some cases, there are national government agencies that have created positions that cover the island groups such as the Assistant Secretary for Regional Operations in Mindanao in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) or the Assistant Secretary for Luzon Affairs in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Although the island groups do not have local governments, hence capitals, certain cities have become the political, economic and cultural centers of the island groups. Manila is the national capital and is the de facto capital of Luzon, though neighboring Quezon City, a former capital, has more inhabitants than Manila. Cebu, on the province and island of the same name, is the chief city of the Visayas. Mindanao's main city is Davao, towards its southeast.

Group Largest city Population ±% p.a. Area Density
1 May 2020[1] 1 May 2010[1] km2 sq mi /km2 /sq mi
Luzon Quezon City 62,196,942 52,362,999 1.74% 125,863 48,596 494 1,280
Visayas Cebu 20,583,861 18,003,940 1.35% 71,503 27,607 288 746
Mindanao Davao 26,252,442 21,968,174 1.80% 104,530 40,360 251 650
Total 109,033,245 92,335,113 1.68% 301,896 116,563 361 935


For a more comprehensive list, see List of islands of the Philippines.

Luzon Visayas Mindanao
  1. Luzon
  2. Palawan Island
  3. Mindoro
  4. Masbate Island
  5. Catanduanes
  6. Marinduque
  7. Romblon Island
  8. Polillo Islands
  9. Burias Island
  10. Ticao Island
  11. Tablas Island
  12. Sibuyan Island
  13. Busuanga Island
  14. Culion Island
  15. Coron Island
  16. Balabac Island
  17. Babuyan Group of Islands
  18. Batanes
  19. Calamian Group of Islands
  20. Cuyo Islands
  21. Lubang Islands
  22. Kalayaan Group of Islands
  1. Cebu
  2. Panay
  3. Negros Island
  4. Bohol
  5. Samar
  6. Leyte
  7. Guimaras
  8. Siquijor
  9. Biliran
  10. Bantayan Island
  11. Camotes Islands
  12. Boracay
  13. Semirara Group of Islands
  14. Islas de Gigantes
  15. Panaon Island
  16. Limasawa
  1. Mindanao
  2. Camiguin
  3. Dinagat Island
  4. Bucas Grande
  5. Samal
  6. Sarangani Islands
  7. Siargao
  8. Sulu Archipelago (includes Basilan, Jolo, Tawi-Tawi, Pata, Sanga-Sanga, Mapun, and Turtle Islands)

See also


  1. ^ a b Census of Population (2020). Table B - Population and Annual Growth Rates by Province, City, and Municipality - By Region. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 8 July 2021.