Mindanao (/mɪndəˈnaʊ/ (listen)) or still commonly known as Southern Philippines, is the second largest island in the Philippines. Mindanao and the smaller islands surrounding it make up the island group of the same name. Located in the southern region of the archipelago, as of the 2010 census, the main island was inhabited by 20,281,545 people, while the entire Mindanao island group had an estimated total of 25,537,691 (2018) residents.

According to the 2015 Philippine Population Census, Davao City is the most populous city on the island, with a population of 1,632,991 residents, followed by Zamboanga City (pop. 861,799), Cagayan de Oro City (pop. 675,950), General Santos City (pop. 594,446), Iligan City (pop. 342,618), Butuan City (pop. 337,063) and Cotabato City (pop. 299,438).[3] About 70% of residents identify as Christian, and 20% identify as Muslim.[4] Mindanao is divided into six regions: the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, the Caraga region, the Davao region, Soccsksargen, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Native ethnic groups in Mindanao include the Lumads (namely the Subanons of the Zamboanga Peninsula;[5] the Bukidnon, the Ata Manobos, the Mamanwas, the Matigsalugs, the Agusan Manobos, the Talaandigs, the Kamigins, and the Higaonons of Northern Mindanao and the region of Caraga;[6][7] the T'bolis, the Tirurays, the B'laans, the Sarangani, and the Cotabato Manobos of the region of SOCCSKSARGEN; and the Obo, the Mandayas, the Giangans, the Tagabawas, the Kalagans, the Sangirese, and the Mansaka of the Davao region[8]) and the Moros (namely the Maguindanaos, the Maranaos, the Tausugs, the Yakans, the Iranuns, and the Sama, mainly concentrated within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Joining them are the equally indigenous Butuanons and the Surigaonons of the Caraga region as well as the Zamboangueños of the eponymous peninsula, along with descendants of settlers from the Visayas and Luzon (chiefly from the former), among them the Cebuanos and the Hiligaynons.

Mindanao is considered the major breadbasket of the Philippines,[9] with eight of the top 10 agri-commodities exported from the Philippines coming from the island group itself.[10]

Mindanao is known for its moniker being The Philippines' Land of Promise.[11]

Spanish map of Mindanao
An old Spanish map of Mindanao island.
Krieger 1926 Philippine ethnic weapons Plate 20
A 1926 photograph of Bagobo (Manobo) warriors
Two Spanish missionaries baptise a Moro convert to Roman Catholic, circa 1890
Two Spanish missionaries baptizing a Moro convert to Roman Catholicism, circa 1890.
Chinatown Davao City
Davao City's Chinatown is said to be the Philippines' biggest in terms of land area.
Mindanao Red
Mindanao mainland in red;
its associated islands in maroon
Mindanao is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates8°00′N 125°00′E / 8.000°N 125.000°ECoordinates: 8°00′N 125°00′E / 8.000°N 125.000°E
Adjacent bodies of water
Major islands
Area97,530 km2 (37,660 sq mi)[1]
Area rank19th
Highest elevation2,954 m (9,692 ft)
Highest pointMount Apo
Largest settlementDavao City (pop. 1,632,991)
Population25,537,691 (2018) (Mindanao island group) (2010)[2]
Pop. density243 /km2 (629 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups



Archaeological findings on the island point to evidence of human activity dating back to about ten thousand years ago. At around 1500 BC Austronesian people spread throughout the Philippines.

The Subanon are believed to have established themselves on Mindanao Island during the Neolithic Era, or New Stone Age, the period in the development of human technology beginning around 10,000 BC according to the ASPRO chronology (between 4,500 and 2,000 BC).[12] The evidence of old stone tools in Zamboanga del Norte may indicate a late Neolithic presence. Ceramic burial jars, both unglazed and glazed, as well as Chinese celadons, have been found in caves, together with shell bracelets, beads, and gold ornaments. Many of the ceramic objects are from the Yuan and Ming periods. Evidently, there was a long history of trade between the Subanon and the Chinese long before the latter's contact with Islam.

Rajahnates and Hindu-Buddhism

In the classic epoch of Philippine history (900 AD onwards), the people of Mindanao were heavily exposed to Hindu and Buddhist influence and beliefs from Indonesia and Malaysia. Indianized abugida scripts such as Kawi and Baybayin was introduced via Sulawesi and Java, and the cultural icons of the sarong (known as malong or patadyong), the pudong turban, silk, and batik and ikat weaving and dyeing methods were introduced. Artifacts found from this era include the Golden kinnara, Golden Tara, and the Ganesh pendant. These cultural traits passed from Mindanao into the Visayas and Luzon, but were subsequently lost or heavily modified after the Spanish arrival in the 16th century.

The Hindu-Buddhist cultural revolution was strongest in the coastal areas of the island, but were incorporated into local animist beliefs and customs tribes that resided more inland. The Rajahnate of Butuan, a fully Hindu kingdom mentioned in Chinese records as a tributary state in the 10th century AD, was concentrated along the northeastern coast of the island around Butuan.[13] The Darangen epic of the Maranao people harkens back to this era as the most complete local version of the Ramayana. The Maguindanao at this time also had strong Hindu beliefs, evidenced by the Ladya Lawana (Rajah Ravana) epic saga that survives to the modern day, albeit highly Islamized from the 17th century on wards.

Sultanates and Islam

The spread of Islam in the Philippines began in the 14th century, mostly by Muslim merchants from the western part of the Malay Archipelago. The first Mosque in the Philippines was built in the mid-14th century in the town of Simunul.[13] Around the 16th century, Muslim sultanates: Sulu, Lanao and Maguindanao were established from formerly Hindu-Buddhist Rajahnates.

As Islam gained a foothold over most of Mindanao, the natives residing within the Sultanates were either converted into Islam or obligated to pay tribute to their new Muslim rulers. The largest of the Muslim settlements was the Sultanate named after the Maguindanaoans. Maps made during the 17th and 18th centuries suggest that the name Mindanao was used by the natives to refer to the island, by then Islam was well established in Mindanao and had influenced groups on other islands to the north.

Spanish Colonization and Christianity

On 2 February 1543, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos was the first Spaniard to reach Mindanao,[14] he called the island "Caesarea Caroli" after Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (and I of Spain). Shortly after Spain's colonization of Cebu, they moved on to colonize Butuan and the surrounding Caraga region in northeast Mindanao and discovered significant Muslim presence on the island. Over time a number of tribes in Mindanao converted to Roman Catholicism and built settlements and forts throughout the coastal regions of the island. These settlements endured despite incurring attacks from neighboring Muslim Sultanates. The most heavily fortified of these settlements, apart from a short period in 1662 when Spain sent soldiers from the city to Manila after receiving a threat of invasion from the Chinese general Koxinga, was Zamboanga City.[15]

By the late 18th century Spain had geographic dominance over the island, having established settlements and forts in most of Mindanao; including Zamboanga City (Which was then settled by Peruvian soldiers)[16] and Misamis Occidental to the northwest, Iligan City, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, and Camiguin Island to the north, Butuan and the Caraga region to the east, and Davao in the island's gulf coast. Spain continued to engage in battles with Muslim Sultanates until the end of the 19th century.[15]

American Occupation

In the Treaty of Paris in 1898 Spain sold the entire Philippine archipelago to the United States for $20 million. The 1900 Treaty of Washington and the 1930 Convention Between the United States and Great Britain clarified the borders between Mindanao and Borneo.

Philippine Commonwealth

In 1939 the Philippine government encouraged citizens from Luzon and Visayas to migrate to Mindanao. Consisting mostly of Ilocanos, Cebuanos, and Illongos. Filipino settlers streaming into Soccsksargen led to the displacement of the Blaan and Tboli tribes.

World War II

Davao City was among the earliest to be occupied by the invading Japanese Forces. They immediately fortified the city as a bastion of the Japanese defense system. It was subjected by the returning forces of Gen. Macarthur to constant bombing, before the American Liberation Forces landed in Leyte in October 1944.

In April 1942 Mindanao, along with the rest of the Philippines, officially entered World War II after Japanese soldiers invaded key cities in the islands.[17] Many towns and cities were burned to the ground in Mindanao, most notably Davao City, Zamboanga City, Lanao, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan City, and Butuan.[18] In the months of April and May 1942, Japanese forces defeated US troops commanded by Gen. William F. Sharp and Gen. Guy O. Fort, in a battle that started at Malabang (a town close to Gandamatu Macadar, Lanao) and ended close to the town of Ganassi, Lanao. Filipino soldiers and local guerrilla fighters were actively fighting Japanese forces until liberation at the conclusion of the Battle of Mindanao.[19]

Recent conflicts

Violent conflicts in the southwestern regions of Mindanao, that began in the 1960s, led to the 1971 Manili Massacre, Pata Island Massacre, the founding of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the formation of the Ilaga.[20]

Under President Ferdinand Marcos's administration, the government was said to have encouraged Christian settlers in Mindanao, causing many locals to be displaced. The forced land seizures by Luzon and Visayan settlers have resulted in ongoing conflict as the original owners seek ancestral land reclamation.[21][22]

In March 2000 President Estrada declared an "All Out War" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), after the militant group committed a series of terrorist attacks on government buildings, civilians, and foreigners. A number of livelihood intervention projects, from organisations such as USAID and the Emergency Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP), aided in the reconstruction of areas affected by constant battles on the island.[23]

In December 2009, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo officially placed Maguindanao under a state of martial law following the Maguindanao Massacre.

In May 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the entire island group of Mindanao following the Marawi Siege by the Maute terrorist group. Thousands of civilians were killed by the terrorist group during the siege, and more than 180,000 people were forced to evacuate Marawi City.[24]

Typhoon Sendong

Tropical storm Sendong (international name, Washi) made landfall on 15 December 2011 in Mindanao. The recorded 24-hour rainfall in Lumbia station of PAGASA reached 180.9 mm causing the overflow of the Cagayan de Oro River. The deadly storm killed 1,268 people with 49 others listed as missing. Most of the casualties were from the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. Those who survived were rendered homeless, seeking shelter in evacuation centers.[25]


Metro Davao
CAG Skyline Jan 2018
Metro CDO

Mindanao’s economy accounts for 14% of the country’s gross domestic product. The region grew 4.9% in 2016 against Luzon’s 5.5% and Visayas’ 9.1%.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing make up more than 40% of Mindanao’s market, being the country’s largest supplier of major crops such as pineapples and bananas.[26]

There are 2 defined growth corridors in the island namely Metro Davao and Metro CDO. Other regional centers are: Zamboanga City, General Santos City, Butuan City, Cotabato City, Dipolog City, Jolo, Surigao City, Pagadian City, Koronadal City, and Tagum City.[27]

Being the top performing economy in Mindanao, Davao Region has the 5th biggest economy in the country and the second fastest growing economy next to Cordillera Autonomous Region.[28] While the region’s economy is predominantly agri-based, it is now developing into a center for agro-industrial business, trade and tourism. Its competitive advantage is in agri-industry as its products, papayas, mangoes, bananas, pineapples, fresh asparagus, flowers, and fish products are exported internationally. The region can be a vital link to markets in other parts of Mindanao, Brunei Darussalam and parts of Malaysia and Indonesia[29].

There is also a growing call center sector in the region, mostly centered in Davao City.

Upcoming developments

Some 2,130 government-led infrastructure projects worth P547.9 billion have also been lined up for Mindanao until 2022.

NEDA official said that 68% of that budget will be allotted for the transportation sector, while 16% will go to water resources, and 6% to social infrastructure.

Of this amount, 18 infrastructure projects have been identified as "flagship projects," five of them have already been approved by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The projects include the P35.26-billion Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment of the Mindanao Railway, the P40.57-billion Davao airport, the P14.62-billion Laguindingan airport, the P4.86-billion Panguil Bay Bridge Project, and the P5.44-billion Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project, Phase II.

Projects in the pipeline are the second and third phases of the Mindanao Railway; the Agus-Pulangi plant rehabilitation; the Davao expressway; the Zamboanga Fish Port Complex rehabilitation; the Balo-i Plains Flood Control Project; Asbang Small Reservoir Irrigation Project; the Ambal Simuay Sub-Basin of the Mindanao River Basin Flood Control and River Protection Project; as well as the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao project.[30]

Administrative divisions

The island consists of 6 administrative regions,[31] 22 provinces, and 30 cities (27 provinces and 33 cities if associated islands are included).

Mindanao blank map
Location Region
Area[i][32][33] Density Regional
Ph fil zamboanga peninsula Zamboanga

(Region IX)
17,056.73 km2
(6,585.64 sq mi)
(520/sq mi)
Pagadian City
Ph fil northern mindanao Northern

(Region X)
20,496.02 km2
(7,913.56 sq mi)
(540/sq mi)
Cagayan de Oro City
Ph fil davao region Davao Region
(Region XI)
20,357.42 km2
(7,860.04 sq mi)
(570/sq mi)
Davao City
Ph fil soccsksargen Soccsksargen
(Region XII)
22,513.30 km2
(8,692.43 sq mi)
(470/sq mi)
Ph fil caraga Caraga Region
(Region XIII)
21,478.35 km2
(8,292.84 sq mi)
(280/sq mi)
Ph fil barmm Bangsamoro Autonomous Region
in Muslim

12,535.79 km2
(4,840.10 sq mi)
(670/sq mi)
Cotabato City[vi]
Region 2010 census Area Density Regional center Component LGUs

Table notes

  1. ^ Land area figures are the sum of each region's component provinces (and/or independent cities), derived from the National Statistical Coordination Board (Philippine Statistics Authority) official website.
  2. ^ The provinces of Basilan, Camiguin, Dinagat Islands, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi are separate islands and/or island groups themselves, but are included under the island group of Mindanao.
  3. ^ A component city, part of the province of Basilan, but whose regional services are provided by the offices of Region IX.
  4. ^ a b c d e f A highly urbanized city, independent from any province
  5. ^ An independent component city, not under the jurisdiction of any provincial government.
  6. ^ Cotabato City, although administratively under Soccsksargen, is considered the regional center of ARMM.
  1. ^ Land area figures are the sum of each region's component provinces (and/or independent cities), derived from the National Statistical Coordination Board (Philippine Statistics Authority) official website.
  2. ^ The provinces of Basilan, Camiguin, Dinagat Islands, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi are separate islands and/or island groups themselves, but are included under the island group of Mindanao.
  3. ^ A component city, part of the province of Basilan, but whose regional services are provided by the offices of Region IX.
  4. ^ a b c d e f A highly urbanized city, independent from any province
  5. ^ An independent component city, not under the jurisdiction of any provincial government.
  6. ^ Cotabato City, although administratively under Soccsksargen, is considered the regional center of ARMM.

Largest cities and municipalities in Mindanao

The list of largest cities and municipalities in Mindanao in terms of population is shown in the table below.


Mindanao is the second largest island in the Philippines at 97,530 square kilometers,[1] and is the eighth most populous island in the world. The island of Mindanao is larger than 125 countries worldwide, including the Netherlands, South Korea, Austria, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Ireland. The island is mountainous, and is home to Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the country. Mindanao is surrounded by four seas: the Sulu Sea to the west,[34] the Philippine Sea to the east, and the Celebes Sea to the south, and the Mindanao Sea to the north. Of all the islands of the Philippines, Mindanao shows the greatest variety of physiographic development. High, rugged, faulted mountains; almost isolated volcanic peaks; high rolling plateaus; and broad, level, swampy plains are found there.

The Mindanao island group is an arbitrary grouping of islands in southern Philippines which comprises the Mindanao mainland, the Sulu Archipelago (consisting of the islands of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi), and the outlying islands of Camiguin, Dinagat, Siargao, and Samal. Platycerium grande is endemic to the island


The mountains of Mindanao can be grouped into ten ranges, including both complex structural mountains and volcanoes. The structural mountains on the extreme eastern and western portions of the island show broad exposures of Mesozoic rock, and Ultrabasic rocks at the surface in many places along the east coast. Other parts of the island consist mainly of Cenozoic and Quaternary volcanic or sedimentary rocks.

In the eastern portion of the island, from Bilas Point in Surigao del Norte to Cape San Agustin in Davao Oriental, is a range of complex mountains known in their northern portion as the Diwata Mountains. This range is low and rolling in its central portion. A proposed road connecting Bislig on the east coast with the Agusan River would pass through 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) of broad saddle across the mountains at a maximum elevation of less than 250 metres (820 ft); while the existing east–west road from Lianga, 48 kilometres (30 mi) north of Bislig, reaches a maximum elevation of only 450 metres (1,480 ft). The Diwata Mountains, north of these low points, are considerably higher and more rugged, reaching an elevation of 2,012 metres (6,601 ft) in Mount Hilong-Hilong, 17 miles (27 km) along the eastern portion of Cabadbaran City. The southern portion of this range is broader and even more rugged than the northern section. In Davao Oriental, several peaks rise above 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) and one mountain rises to 2,910 metres (9,550 ft).

Mt. Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines

The east-facing coastal regions of Davao and Surigao del Sur are marked by a series of small coastal lowlands separated from each other by rugged forelands which extend to the water’s edge. Offshore are numerous coral reefs and tiny islets. This remote and forbidding coast is made doubly difficult to access during the months from October to March by the heavy surf driven before the northeast trade winds. A few miles offshore is found the Philippine Deep. This ocean trench, reaching measured depths of 34,696 feet (10,575 m), is the third deepest trench, (after the Mariana Trench and Tonga Trench) on the earth’s surface.

A second north–south mountain range extends from Talisayan in the north, to Tinaca Point in the southernmost point of Mindanao. This mountain range runs along the western borders of the Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Davao provinces. This range is mainly structural in origin, but it also contains at least three active volcano peaks. The central and northern portions of this range contain several peaks between 2,000 and 2,600 metres (6,600 and 8,500 ft), and here the belt of mountains is about 30 miles (48 km) across.

West of Davao City stand two inactive volcanoes: Mount Talomo at 2,893 metres (9,491 ft), and Mount Apo at 2,964 metres (9,724 ft). Mount Apo is the highest point in the Philippines. South of Mount Apo, this central mountain belt is somewhat lower than it is to the north, with peaks averaging only 1,100 to 1,800 metres (3,600 to 5,900 ft).

In Western Mindanao, a range of complex structural mountains forms the long, hand-like Zamboanga Peninsula. These mountains, reaching heights of only 1,200 meters (3,900 feet), are not as high as the other structural belts in Mindanao. There are several places in the Zamboanga Mountains where small inter-mountain basins have been created, with some potential for future agricultural development. The northeastern end of this range is marked by the twin peaks of the now extinct volcano, Mount Malindang, that towers over Ozamis City at a height of 2,425 metres (7,956 ft). Mount Dapia is the highest mountain in the Zamboanga Peninsula, reaching a height of 2,617 meters (8,586 feet). Batorampon Point is the highest mountain of the southernmost end of the peninsula, reaching a height of only 1,335 meters (4,380 feet); it is located in the boundary of Zamboanga City.

A series of volcanic mountains is located within the vicinity of Lake Lanao forming a broad arc through the Lanao del Sur, Cotabato and Bukidnon provinces. At least six of the twenty odd peaks in this area are active and several stand in semi-isolation. The Butig Peaks, with their four crater lakes, are easily seen from Cotabato. Mount Ragang, an active volcano cone reaching 2,815 metres (9,236 ft), is the most isolated, while the greatest height is reached by Mount Kitanglad at 2,889 metres (9,478 ft).

Philippinen mindanao boot ph06p73
Mindanao coast

In South Cotabato, is another range of volcanic mountains, this time paralleling the coast. These mountains have a maximum extent of 110 miles (180 km) from northwest to southeast and measures some 30 miles (48 km) across. One of the well-known mountains here is Mount Parker, whose almost circular crater lake measures a mile and a quarter in diameter and lies 300 metres (980 ft) below its 2,040 metres (6,690 ft) summit. Mount Matutum is a protected area and is considered as one of the major landmarks in the South Cotabato province.


Another important physiographic division of Mindanao is the series of upland plateaus in the Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur provinces. These plateaus are rather extensive and almost surround several volcanoes in this area. The plateaus are made up of basaltic lava flows inter-bedded with volcanic ash and tuff. Near their edges, the plateaus are cut by deep canyons, and at several points waterfalls drop down to the narrow coastal plain. These falls hold considerable promise for development of hydroelectric energy. Indeed, one such site at Maria Cristina Falls has already become a major producer. The rolling plateaus lie at an elevation averaging 700 meters above sea level, and offer relief from the often oppressive heat of the coastal lowlands.

Lakes and waterfalls

Lake Lanao occupies a large portion of one such plateau in Lanao del Sur. This lake is the largest lake in Mindanao and the second largest in the country; it is roughly triangular in shape with an 18-mile-long (29 km) base, having a surface at 780 meters above sea level, and is rimmed on the east, south, and west by a series of peaks reaching 2,300 meters. Marawi City, at the northern tip of the lake, is bisected by the Agus River, that feeds the Maria Cristina Falls.

Another of Mindanao’s waterfall sites is located in Malabang, 15 miles (24 km) south of Lake Lanao. Here the Jose Abad Santos Falls present one of the nation’s scenic wonders at the gateway to a 200-hectare national park development.

The Limunsudan Falls, with an approximate height of 800 ft (240 m), is the highest waterfall in the Philippines; it is located in Iligan City.

Valleys, rivers, and plains

Mindanao contains two large lowland areas in the valleys of the Agusan River in Agusan, and the Rio Grande de Mindanao in Cotabato City.

There is some indication that the Agusan Valley occupies a broad syncline between the central mountains and the east-coast mountains. This valley measures 110 miles (180 km) from south to north and varies from 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 km) in width. 35 miles (56 km) north of the head of Davao Gulf lies the watershed between the Agusan and the tributaries of the Libuganon River, which flows to the Gulf. The elevation of this divide is well under 200 metres (660 ft), indicating the almost continuous nature of the lowland from the Mindanao Sea on the north to the Davao Gulf.

The Rio Grande de Mindanao and its main tributaries, the Catisan and the Pulangi, form a valley with a maximum length of 120 miles (190 km) and a width which varies from 12 miles (19 km) at the river mouth to about 60 miles (97 km) in central Cotabato. The southern extensions of this Cotabato Valley extend uninterrupted across a 350 metres (1,150 ft) watershed from Illana Bay on the northwest to Sarangani Bay on the southeast.

Other lowlands of a coastal nature are to be found in various parts of Mindanao. Many of these are tiny isolated pockets, along the northwest coast of Zamboanga. In other areas such as the Davao Plain, these coastal lowlands are 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) wide and several times in length.

From Dipolog City eastward along the northern coast of Mindanao approaching Butuan City extends a rolling coastal plain of varying width. In Misamis Occidental, the now dormant Mount Malindang has created a lowland averaging 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) in width. Shallow Panquil Bay divides this province from Lanao del Norte, and is bordered by low-lying, poorly drained lowlands and extensive mangroves. In Misamis Oriental, the plain is narrower and in places whittle into rugged capes that reach the sea. East of Cagayan de Oro, a rugged peninsula extends into the Mindanao Sea.


As of 2017, Mindanao had a population of over 25 million people. This comprises 22.1 percent of the entire population of the country.[35]

Ethnicity and culture

The majority of the island's inhabitants are descendants of Indonesians, Malaysians, Indians, Arabs, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Europeans and Americans.[36]

An American census conducted in the early 1900s noted that the island was inhabited by people "greatly divided in origin, temperament and religion".[37] Evidence of the island's cultural diversity can be seen in the buildings and ruins of old Spanish settlements in the northwestern peninsula that span eastwards to the southern gulf coast, the site of the ancient Rajahnate of Butuan in the northeast region (Caraga), the Sultanates in the southwest (Sultanate of Sulu, Sultanate of Lanao, Sultanate of Maguindanao), a number of Buddhist and Taoist temples, and the numerous indigenous tribes.

Today around 25.8 percent of the household population in Mindanao classified themselves as Cebuanos. Other ethnic groups included Bisaya/Binisaya (18.4%), Hiligaynon/Ilonggo (8.2%), Maguindanaon (5.5%), and Maranao (5.4%). The remaining 36.6 percent belonged to other ethnic groups. Cebuano registered the highest proportion of ethnic group in Northern Mindanao and Davao Region with 35.59 percent and 37.76 percent, respectively. In SOCCSKSARGEN, it was Hiligaynon/Ilonggo (31.58%), Binisaya/Bisaya (33.10%) in Zamboanga Peninsula, Maranao (26.40%) in ARMM, and Surigaonon (25.67%) in Caraga.[4]


Dozens of languages are spoken in Mindanao; among them, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Surigaonon, Tausug, Maranao, Maguindanao, and Chavacano are most widely spoken. Of the seven aforementioned regional languages, Cebuano (often referred as Bisaya) has the highest number of speakers, being spoken throughout Northern Mindanao (except the southern parts of Lanao del Norte), the Davao region, the western half of the Caraga region (as well as the city of Bislig and the municipalities surrounding it in Surigao del Sur), the entirety of the Zamboanga Peninsula (with the exception of Zamboanga City), and southern SOCCSKSARGEN. Hiligaynon is the main language of SOCCSKSARGEN, where majority of the inhabitants are of ethnic Hiligaynon stock. Surigaonon is spoken in the eastern half of the Caraga region, mainly by the eponymous Surigaonons. Tausug is widely spoken in the western territories of the ARMM, specifically the Sulu Archipelago, which comprises the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, with a sizeable community of speakers residing in Zamboanga City. Maguindanao and Maranao are the dominant languages of the eastern territories of the ARMM, respectively with the former being spoken in Lanao del Sur as well as the southern areas of Lanao del Norte, and the latter in the eponymous province of Maguindanao and also in adjacent areas which are part of SOCCSKSARGEN. Chavacano is the native language of Zamboanga City and is also the lingua franca of Basilan; it is also spoken in the southernmost fringes of Zamboanga Sibugay. It is also spoken, albeit as a minority language, in Cotabato City and Davao City, where dialects of it respectively exist, namely Cotabateñ and Castellano Abakay, both of which evolved from the variant of the language spoken in Zamboanga City. English is also widely understood and spoken, being highly utilized in business and academia.


Sultan Hajji Hassanal Bolkhia Mosque 1
The Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque of Cotabato City is the largest mosque in the Philippines.

Christianity is the dominant religious affiliation in Mindanao with 60.9% of the household population, majority of which are adherents of Roman Catholicism, Islam comprised 24%[38], and other religions were Evangelical (5.34%), Aglipayan (2.16%), Iglesia ni Cristo (1.66%)[4]


Major tourist spots are scattered throughout Mindanao, consisting mostly of beach resorts, scuba diving resorts, surfing, museums, nature parks, mountain climbing, and river rafting. Siargao, best known for its surfing tower in Cloud 9, also has caves, pools, waterfalls, and lagoons.[39] There are archaeological sites, historical ruins, and museums in Butuan.[40] White Island is a popular tourist spot in Camiguin. The Duka Bay[41] and the Matangale[42] dive resorts in Misamis Oriental offer glass bottomed boat rides and scuba diving lessons. Cagayan de Oro has beach resorts, the Mapawa Nature Park, white water rafting and kayaking, museums, and historical landmarks.[43] Ziplining is the main attraction at the Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon.[44] Iligan City has The Maria Christina Falls, Tinago Falls, nature parks, beaches, and historical landmarks.[45] There are parks, historical buildings, the Vinta Ride at Paseo del Mar, boat villages, and the Fort Pilar Museum in Zamboanga City.[46] There are festivals, fireworks, and the Beras Bird Sanctuary in Takurong City.[47] Davao has Mt Apo, parks, museums, beaches, historical landmarks, and scuba diving resorts.[48]

Precautions should be taken when traveling to ARMM and the Zamboanga Peninsula; pirates, human traffickers, drug cartels, and terrorist groups have been known to abduct, torture, and murder civilians in these regions.[49][50] The island has the highest crime rate in the country.[49][50]


Many areas in Mindanao suffer rotating 12-hour blackouts due to the island’s woefully inadequate power supply.[51] The island is forecast to continue suffering from a 200-megawatt power deficit until 2015, when the private sector begins to operate new capacity. Aboitiz Equity Ventures, a publicly listed holdings company, has committed to supplying 1,200 megawatts through a coal-fired plant on the border of Davao City and Davao del Sur that is slated for operation by 2018.[52] The Agus-Pulangui hydropower complex, which supplies more than half of Mindanao’s power supply, is currently producing only 635 megawatts of its 982 megawatts capacity due to the heavy siltation of the rivers that power the complex. Zamboanga City, an urbanised center in southwest Mindanao, is expected to begin experience daily three-hour brownouts due to the National Power Corporation’s decision to reduce power supply in the city by 10 megawatts.[53] The Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the largest power distributor in the Philippines, and Global Business Power Corp (GBPC), also a major provider, have announced plans to enter Mindanao for the first time to establish solutions for the power problems within the island.[53]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Island Directory Tables". UN System-Wide Earthwatch Web Site. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Census of Population (2015): Highlights of the Philippine Population 2015 Census of Population (Report)". PSA. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Mindanao Comprised About 24 Percent of the Philippines' Total Population". Philippine Statistics Authority. 8 June 2005.
  5. ^ "ZAMBOANGA CITY HISTORY, PHILIPPINES (Official Website of PhilTravelcenter.com - Zamboanga City, Philippines)". info.philtravelcenter.com. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  6. ^ Webmaster. "Brief History - Provincial Government of Bukidnon". www.bukidnon.gov.ph. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  7. ^ "History". Iligan | City Of Majestic Waterfalls. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  8. ^ "About Davao".
  9. ^ "Fruits of peace". Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  10. ^ Calderon, Justin (22 April 2013). "Unearthed gem". Inside Investor. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  11. ^ Mindanao: The land of promise? - SunStar
  12. ^ Subanon Territories "The History of Subanon since the Neolithic Era or Stone Age" Archived 9 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  13. ^ a b Koerner, Brendan I. (28 January 2005). "How Islam got to the Philippines". Slate. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  14. ^ "Ruy Lopez de Villalobos begun his expedition to the Philippines November 1, 1542". The Kahimyang Project. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Zamboanga City History - Zamboanga.com". www.zamboanga.com. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  16. ^ "SECOND BOOK OF THE SECOND PART OF THE CONQUESTS OF THE FILIPINAS ISLANDS, AND CHRONICLE OF THE RELIGIOUS OF OUR FATHER, ST. AUGUSTINE" (Zamboanga City History) "He (Governor Don Sebastían Hurtado de Corcuera) brought a great reënforcements of soldiers, many of them from Peru, as he made his voyage to Acapulco from that kingdom."
  17. ^ Chen, C. Peter. "Invasion of the Philippine Islands". WW2DB. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  18. ^ "During the Japanese Period". Iligan | City Of Majestic Waterfalls. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  19. ^ LEE 1942, p. 7.
  20. ^ Colin Mackerras; Foundation Professor in the School of Asian and International Studies Colin Mackerras (2 September 2003). Ethnicity in Asia. Routledge. pp. 143–. ISBN 978-1-134-51517-2.
  21. ^ See "History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos" By Luis H. Francia|[1] Link to page in the referenced book
  22. ^ For an in-depth survey of indigenous peoples and forced land seizures in the Phillipines, see [2] Cultural Survival Quarterly.
  23. ^ Santillan, Karina R. (January 2015). "Livelihoods for women in Mindanao: A post-conflict reconstruction approach". Asian Journal of Women's Studies. 21 (1): 19–39. doi:10.1080/12259276.2015.1029232.
  24. ^ Unson, John. "ARMM: More than 183,500 displaced by Marawi crisis". philstar.com. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  25. ^ "Sendong (2011) Floods in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan | Project NOAH Blog". blog.noah.dost.gov.ph. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  26. ^ Gloria, Mira. "Bringing Mindanao into the fold | BusinessWorld". Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  27. ^ Gloria, Mira (8 January 2018). "Bringing Mindanao into the fold". BusinessWorld. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  28. ^ "Davao Region surprises with historic 10.9% GRDP growth in 2017". Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  29. ^ "Davao". Reserbasyon (in Japanese). Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  30. ^ Gloria, Mira (8 January 2018). "Bringing Mindanao into the fold". BusinessWorld. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  31. ^ List of Regions in the Philippines Archived 27 October 2008 at WebCite
  32. ^ "PSGC Interactive; List of Provinces". Philippine Statistics Authority. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  33. ^ "PSGC Interactive; List of Cities". Philippine Statistics Authority. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  34. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2011. "Sulu Sea". Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. P. Saundry & C. J. Cleveland. Washington, D.C.
  35. ^ Boquet, Yves (2017). The Philippine Archipelago. Springer. p. 16. ISBN 9783319519265.
  36. ^ https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/FSI/Tagalog/Headstart/DLI%20Headstart%20for%20the%20Philippines%20Cultural%20Notes.pdf
  37. ^ The New Student's Reference Work (1914).
  38. ^ Philippine Statistics Authority (26 July 2017). "Muslim Population in Mindanao (based on POPCEN 2015". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  39. ^ "The Top 10 Things to Do in Siargao Island 2017 - Must See Attractions in Siargao Island, Philippines | TripAdvisor". www.tripadvisor.com. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  40. ^ Explorer, Angelo The. "12 Places to explore in BUTUAN CITY". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  41. ^ Duka Bay
  42. ^ Matangale
  43. ^ "Cagayan de Oro Tourism".
  44. ^ "Dahilayan Adventure Park". dahilayanadventurepark.com. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  45. ^ "Places to see". Iligan | City Of Majestic Waterfalls. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  46. ^ "THINGS TO DO IN ZAMBOANGA CITY". The Pinay Solo Backpacker. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  47. ^ "Attractions". www.tacurong.gov.ph. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  48. ^ "Top 50 Must-visit Tourist Destinations in Davao City | WayPH.com". WayPH.com. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  49. ^ a b "Mindanao – Travel guide at Wikivoyage". en.wikivoyage.org. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  50. ^ a b "How a love of the sea led a German couple into the hands of pirates, ISIS, and death". Newsweek. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  51. ^ IV, Antonio L. Colina. "DLPC eyeing other power sources as dry spell worsens - MindaNews". www.mindanews.com. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  52. ^ Calderon, Justin (12 March 2013). "Mindanao to face higher power prices". Inside Investor. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  53. ^ a b "Mindanao power problem close to solution". Investvine. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.

External links

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Arabic: الحكم الذاتي لمسلمي مندناو‎ Al-ḥukm adh-dhātiyy al-'aqlīmiyy limuslimiyy mindanāu; abbreviated as ARMM) was an autonomous region of the Philippines, located in the Mindanao island group of the Philippines, that consisted of five predominantly Muslim provinces: Basilan (except Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. It was the only region that had its own government. The region's de facto seat of government was Cotabato City, although this self-governing city was outside its jurisdiction.

The ARMM included the province of Shariff Kabunsuan from its creation in 2006 until 16 July 2008, when Shariff Kabunsuan ceased to exist as a province after the Supreme Court of the Philippines declared the "Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act 201", which created it, unconstitutional in Sema vs. COMELEC.On October 7, 2012, President Benigno Aquino III said that the government aimed to have peace in the autonomous region and that it would become known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, a compound of bangsa (nation) and Moro. On July 26, 2018, Aquino's successor, President Rodrigo Duterte, signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which paved the way for the establishment of a new autonomous political entity in the area, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). ARMM was nominally disestablished after the ratification of BOL and will be effectively replaced by the BARMM upon the constitution of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, an interim government for the region. The law was "deemed ratified" on January 25, 2019 following the January 21 plebiscite.


Bangsamoro, officially the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or BARMM, (Filipino: Rehiyong Awtonomo ng Bangsamoro; Arabic: منطقة بانجسامورو ذاتية الحكم‎ Munṭiqah banjisāmūrū dhātiyyah al-ḥukm) is an autonomous region within the southern Philippines.

It replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region was formed after voters decided to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law in a January 21 plebiscite. The ratification was announced on January 25, 2019, by the Commission on Elections. This marks the beginning of the transition of the ARMM to the BARMM. Another plebiscite was held in nearby regions that seek to join the area on February 6, 2019. This plebiscite saw 63 of 67 barangays in North Cotabato join Bangsamoro.Bangsamoro took the place of the ARMM as the only Muslim-majority region in the Philippines.

Bohol Sea

The Bohol Sea, also called the Mindanao Sea, is located between Visayas and Mindanao in the Philippines. It lies south of Bohol and Leyte and north of Mindanao. Siquijor and Camiguin are its two major islands.The major cities along the coastline of the sea are Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Butuan, Dumaguete, Ozamiz and Tagbilaran.

The sea connects to the Philippine Sea through the Surigao Strait, to the Camotes Sea both through the Canigao Channel and Cebu Strait, and to the Sulu Sea through the strait between Negros Island and Zamboanga Peninsula.

Cagayan de Oro

Cagayan de Oro, officially the City of Cagayan de Oro (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Cagayan de Oro) or simply referred to as CDO, 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 center and business hub of Northern Mindanao (Region X), and part of the growing Metropolitan Cagayan de Oro area, which includes the city of El Salvador, the towns of Opol, Alubijid, Laguindingan, Gitagum at the western side, and the towns of Tagoloan, Villanueva, Jasaan, Claveria at the eastern side.

The City of Cagayan de Oro is located along the north central coast of Mindanao island facing Macajalar Bay and is bordered by the municipalities of Opol to the west, Tagoloan to the east, and the provinces of Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte to the south of the city. According to the 2015 census, the city has a population of 675,950, making it the 10th most populous city in the Philippines.Cagayan de Oro is also famous for its white water rafting or kayaking adventures, one of the tourism activities being promoted along the Cagayan de Oro River.

Cotabato City

Cotabato City, officially the City of Cotabato (Maguindanaon: Ingud nu Kutawatu; Iranun: Inged a Kotawato) is an independent component city in the newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 299,438.Cotabato City is formerly part and the regional center of Region XII. However, due to the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, it is now part of BARMM. Being an independent component city, it's not a subject to regulation from the Provincial Government of Maguindanao where it is geographically located. The Philippine Statistics Authority also list Cotabato City as statistically independent.Cotabato City is distinct from and should not be confused with the province of Cotabato. The city was chartered by the virtue of Republic Act No. 2364.

Davao City

Davao City, officially the City of Davao (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Dabaw), is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the island of Mindanao, Philippines. The city has a total land area of 2,443.61 km2 (943.48 sq mi), making it the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area. It is the third-most populous city in the Philippines after Quezon City and Manila, the most populous city in the country outside Metro Manila, and the most populous in Mindanao. As of the 2015 census, the city had a population of 1,632,991.

It is geographically situated in the province of Davao del Sur and grouped under the province by the Philippine Statistics Authority, but the city is governed and administered independently from it. The city is divided into three congressional districts, which are subdivided into 11 administrative districts with a total of 182 barangays.

Davao City is the center of Metro Davao, the third-most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines (as of the 2015 census it had a population of 2.5 million, compared with Metro Manila's 12.8 million and Metro Cebu's 2.8 million). The city serves as the main trade, commerce, and industry hub of Mindanao, and the regional center of Davao Region. Davao is home to Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines. The city is also nicknamed the "Durian Capital of the Philippines".

The city has the highest murder rate and the second-highest rape rate in the country according to national police raw data as of 2015. Rodrigo Duterte, mayor for 22 years, boasted that he killed criminals. A vigilante group called the Davao Death Squad killed over 1,400 street children and alleged criminals while he was mayor, according to human rights groups.

Davao Region

Davao Region, formerly called Southern Mindanao (Cebuano: Habagatang Mindanao), is an administrative region in the Philippines, designated as Region XI. It is situated at the southeastern portion of Mindanao, comprising five provinces: Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental, the newly created province.

The region encloses the Davao Gulf, and its regional center is Davao City. Dávao is the Hispanicized pronunciation of daba-daba, the Bagobo word for "fire" (the Cebuano translation is kalayo).

Geography of the Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago that comprises over 7,000 islands with a total land area of 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi). The eleven largest islands contain 95% of the total land area. The largest of these islands is Luzon at about 105,000 square kilometers (40,541 sq mi). The next largest island is Mindanao at about 95,000 square kilometers (36,680 sq mi). The archipelago is around 800 kilometers (500 mi) from the Asian mainland and is located between Taiwan and Borneo.

The Philippine archipelago is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Luzon islands include Luzon itself, Palawan, Mindoro, Marinduque, Masbate, Romblon, Catanduanes, Batanes and Polilio. The Visayas is the group of islands in the central Philippines, the largest of which are: Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Siquijor, Biliran and Guimaras. The Mindanao islands include Mindanao itself, Dinagat, Siargao, Camiguin, Samal, plus the Sulu Archipelago, composed primarily of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

Greater Mindanao shrew

The Greater Mindanao shrew (Crocidura grandis) is a species of mammal in the family Soricidae. It is endemic to the Philippines. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.


Iligan, officially the City of Iligan (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Iligan; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Iligan) or referred to as 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.It is geographically within the province of Lanao del Norte but administered independently from the province. It was once part of Central Mindanao (Region 12) until the province was moved under Northern Mindanao (Region 10) in 2001.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. It had a population of 342,618 inhabitants in the 2015 census.

Island groups of the Philippines

The geographical divisions of the Philippines are the three island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Luzon and Mindanao are both named after the largest island in their respective groups, while the Visayas (also the Visayan Islands) are an archipelago.


The Lumad are a group of Austronesian indigenous people in the southern Philippines. It is a Cebuano term meaning "native" or "indigenous". The term is short for Katawhang Lumad (Literally: "indigenous people"), the autonym officially adopted by the delegates of the Lumad Mindanao Peoples Federation (LMPF) founding assembly on 26 June 1986 at the Guadalupe Formation Center, Balindog, Kidapawan, Cotabato, Philippines. It is the self-ascription and collective identity of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao.

Mindanao State University

Mindanao State University (commonly referred to as MSU Main) is a public coeducational institution of higher education and research in the Islamic city of Marawi, Philippines. Founded in 1961, it is the flagship and the largest campus of the Mindanao State University System.MSU Marawi Campus has distinctions as the Regional Science Training Center, the Regional Carabao Center, and one of the country’s Center of Excellence in Teacher Education and one of the country’s COE in Teacher Education and Chemistry and COD for Information Technology. The university has a mandate to integrate the Christians, Moros, and Lumads of Mindanao.

Moro conflict

The Moro conflict was an insurgency in the Mindanao region of the Philippines, which lasted between 1969 and 2019.Due to marginalisation produced by continuous Resettlement Policy sustained at start of Mindanao and Sulu inclusion to the Philippine Commonwealth territory of 1935, by 1969, political tensions and open hostilities developed between the Government of the Philippines and Moro Muslim rebel groups. The developing Moro Insurgency was ultimately triggered by the Jabidah massacre, which saw the killing of 60 Filipino Muslim commandos on a planned operation to reclaim the eastern part of the Malaysian state of Sabah. In response, the University of the Philippines professor Nur Misuari established the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), an armed insurgent group that was committed to establishing an independent entity composed of Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan. Over the successive years, the MNLF has splintered into several different groups including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which wanted to establish an Islamic state within the Philippines. The Moro Insurgency is rooted in a long history of resistance by the Bangsamoro people against foreign rule, dating back to the American annexation of the Philippines in 1898 even as they are not part of Spain's Act of War. Since then, Moro resistance has persisted against the Philippine government.

Casualty statistics vary for the conflict; however, the conservative estimates of the Uppsala Conflict Data Program indicate that at least 6,015 people were killed in armed conflict between the Government of Philippines and ASG, BIFM, MILF, and MNLF factions between 1989 and 2012.

Moro people

The collective term Bangsamoro people or Moro people refers to the 13 Islamized ethnolinguistic groups of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan. As Muslim-majority ethnic groups, they form largest non-Christian majority population in the country, and comprise about 5% of the total Philippine population, or 5 million people. Most Moros are followers of Sunni Islam of the Shafi'i madh'hab.

Today, the Bangsamoro people mostly live in southwest Mindanao, Sulu and Basilan. Due to imminent threat during the eras of Spanish and American colonization, the Bangsamoro migrated continuously throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Because of this, small communities can be found in most large modern cities of the Philippines, including Manila, Cebu and Davao. Some Moros have emigrated to Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei in the late 20th century due to the Moro conflict in Mindanao. Newer communities can be found today in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Semporna in neighbouring Sabah, Malaysia, North Kalimantan in Indonesia, as well in Bandar Seri Begawan of Brunei.

Northern Mindanao

Northern Mindanao (Cebuano: Amihanang Mindanao; Tagalog: Hilagang Mindanao) is an administrative region in the Philippines, designated as Region X. It comprises five provinces: Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon and Misamis Occidental and two cities classified as highly urbanized, all occupying the north-central part of Mindanao island, and the island-province of Camiguin. The regional center is Cagayan de Oro. Lanao del Norte was transferred to Northern Mindanao from Region XII (then called Central Mindanao) by virtue of Executive Order No. 36 in September 2001.

Regions of the Philippines

In the Philippines, regions (Tagalog: rehiyon), (ISO 3166-2:PH) are administrative divisions that serve primarily to organize the provinces (Tagalog: lalawigan) of the country for administrative convenience. Currently, the archipelagic republic of the Philippines is divided into 17 regions (16 administrative and one autonomous). Most national government offices provide services through their regional branches instead of having direct provincial offices. These regional offices are usually (but not always) in the city designated as the regional center.

The regions themselves do not possess a separate local government, with the exception of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which has an elected regional parliament and chief minister. The Cordillera Administrative Region was originally intended to be autonomous (Cordillera Autonomous Region), but due to two failed plebiscites, its tentative administrative region status has been extended indefinitely.


Soccsksargen (officially styled as SOCCSKSARGEN) (pronounced [sokˈsardʒɛn]), formerly known simply as Cotabato or Kota Bato, is an administrative region of the Philippines, located in south-central Mindanao. It is numerically designated as Region XII. The name is an acronym that stands for the region's four provinces and 1 city (South Cotabato, Cotabato Province, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos). The region used to be called Central Mindanao. The regional center is in Koronadal located in the province of South Cotabato, and the center of commerce and industry is General Santos, which is the most populous city in the Region.

Zamboanga Peninsula

Zamboanga Peninsula (Chavacano: Peninsula de Zamboanga; Cebuano: Lawis sa Zamboanga) is an administrative region in the Philippines, designated as Region IX. The region consists of three provinces (Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur) and two cities (Isabela City and Zamboanga City; the former being part of Basilan province and the latter a highly urbanized city). The region was previously known as Western Mindanao before the enactment of Executive Order No. 36 on September 19, 2001. The city of Zamboanga is designated as the regional center.

Former regions
Island groups
Other subdivisions

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