Island groups

Map of the Philippines highlighting the island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao

There are three main island groups in the Philippines; Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The largest islands by island group are a follows: the island of Luzon, followed by Palawan, Mindoro, Masbate, and Catanduanes for the Luzon group; Samar, Negros, Panay, Leyte, Cebu, and Bohol for the Visayas group; and the island of Mindanao, Basilan, Jolo, Tawitawi, and Dinagat for the Mindanao group.

These also serve to organize the regions by geographic location. The regions of I, II, III, IV‑A, MIMAROPA, V, NCR, and CAR are covered by Luzon, VI, VII, and VIII by the Visayas, and IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, and ARMM by Mindanao.

Island groups and component regions

Population

According to the 2015 Census, the most populated of these three island groups is Luzon having 57,470,097 inhabitants representing 56.91% of the entire population of the Philippines, followed by Mindanao with 24,135,775 or 23.90% of the national total population, and lastly, the Visayas with 19,373,431 or 19.19% of the Philippine population. What is noteworthy from the following table is that Mindanao slightly surpassed the bigger island of Luzon where the capital city of Manila is located, in terms of annual population growth rate (1.81% and 1.79% respectively) based on the Census figures of 2010 and 2015. The most populated cities in the three island groups are Quezon City (2,936,116) for Luzon, Cebu City (922,611) for the Visayas, and Davao City (1,632,991) for Mindanao.

Island groupPopulation (2015)Population (2010)Annual Population Growth Rate (2010-2015)Most populated city/town (2015)Least populated city/town (2015)
Luzon57,470,09752,362,9991.79%Quezon City (2,936,116)Kalayaan, Palawan (184)
Visayas19,373,43118,003,9401.41%Cebu City (922,611)Maslog, Eastern Samar (5,407)
Mindanao24,135,77521,968,1741.81%Davao City (1,632,991)Burgos, Surigao del Norte (4,034)

Extreme points (town center)

Map of the Philippines highlighting the island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao and their extreme points

The extreme points of the Philippines are situated at Itbayat (the northernmost town of the Luzon group), Caraga (the easternmost of the Mindanao group), Kalayaan (the westernmost of the Luzon group), and Sitangkai (the southernmost of the Mindanao group). In other words, the northernmost tip and the southernmost tip of the Philippines are found in the towns of Itbayat in Batanes, and Sitangkai in Tawi-Tawi, and definitely not in Aparri and Jolo as oftentimes erroneously stated. The following table shows the extreme points (based on city/town center) by island group.

Island groupNorth ↑East →South ↓West ←
LuzonItbayat (Batanes) 20° 47' N, 121° 50' EGigmoto (Catanduanes) 13° 47' N, 124° 24' EBalabac (Palawan) 7° 59' N, 117° 4' EKalayaan (Palawan) 11° 3' N, 114° 17' E
VisayasBiri (Northern Samar) 12° 41' N, 124° 22' EGuiuan (Eastern Samar) 11° 2' N, 125° 43' ESiaton (Negros Oriental) 9° 4' N, 123° 2' ECaluya (Antique) 11° 56' N, 121° 33' E
MindanaoLoreto (Dinagat Islands) 10° 22' N, 125° 35' ECaraga (Davao Oriental) 7° 20' N, 126° 34' ESitangkai (Tawi-Tawi) 4° 40' N, 119° 24' ETurtle Islands (Tawi-Tawi) 6° 4' N, 118° 19' E

List of islands in the Philippines by approximate area

Sources

  1. Data on population derived from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
  2. Maps utilize OpenStreetMap data available under the Open Data Commons Open Database License.
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