The Philippine archipelago comprises about 7,600+ islands, of which only about 2,000 are inhabited. More than 5,000 islands of the Archipelago are yet to be named. The Philippine islands are clustered into the three major island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The following list breaks the islands down further by region and by smaller island groups for easier reference. Click on an island name to learn more about each island. Click here to view a map of the 35 largest islands.
Luzon is located in the northern part of the Philippine archipelago. Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is located on the island. The largest island in the Philippines, Luzon accounts for about one-third of the landmass of the Philippines (104,688 km2 | 40,420 mi2), and more than 54% of its population (approximately 64 Million as of 2021). Luzon island, along with the surrounding islands in the northern Philippines, make up the Luzon Island group, one of three primary geographical divisions of the Philippines, along with Visayas and Mindanao.
Luzon has been the center of government, economy, and education of the Philippines. It is home to the country’s biggest universities, largest malls and businesses as well as Malacañang Palace, the official residence and principal workplace of the Philippine president.
Mindanao is located in the southern part of the Philippine archipelago. Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines, along with the smaller islands surrounding it make up the island group of the same name. Mindanao island group is one of the three principal geographical divisions of the Philippines, along with Luzon and Visayas.
The island is forested and mountainous, rising to the active volcano of Mount Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines. Its jagged coastline features deep bays and islets.
Mindanao is a Muslim outpost in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines.
3 | Samar
The third largest island in the Philippines, Samar is blessed with natural attractions such as caves, beaches, waterfalls, and rivers. One third of the island is actually protected as a natural park called the Samar Island Natural Park.
Negros is found in the central part of the country, particularly in the Visayas area. It is the fourth largest island in the Philippines and composed of the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.
The island is known as the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines as it is one of the top producers of sugar in the country. Additionally, it is also home to several tourist attractions both natural and manmade such as beaches, mountain, dive sites, resorts, and heritage sites.
Apart from being the 6th largest island in the Philippines, it is also the 4th most populous with a population of almost 5 million. Panay is composed of three cities and four provinces and is blessed with mountains, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, beaches, and a rich marine ecosystem thus the abundance of seafood on the island.
Farming and fishing are major industries on the island but real estate, business centers, and tourism have been helping improve the economy of Panay.
7 | Mindoro
Mindoro is one of the popular destinations for a quick getaway not only due to its close proximity to Manila but also for the natural beauty it is blessed with. It has waterfalls, mountains, rivers, caves, and white sand beaches, the most popular of which is in the town of Puerto Galera. Mindoro is separated from Luzon by Verde Island Passage, a strait known for its extremely rich marine biodiversity.
8 | Leyte
Leyte, the 8th biggest island in the Philippines, comprises two provinces – Leyte and Southern Leyte. The island is known in the country’s history for being the site where American military leader Gen. Douglas MacArthur first landed and where the first documented Catholic mass in the Philippines was held.
Apart from its historical significance, Leyte is fast-becoming a popular tourist spot in the country as it is home to stunning natural wonders such as marine parks and sanctuaries, natural parks, and the nearby Kalanggaman Island.
9 | Cebu
Cebu Island is the 9th largest island in the Philippines. It is where Cebu City, the oldest city in the Philippines, is located. Cebu is known for its many gastronomic delights including lechon de Cebu, ngohiong, danggit, and many others. While the city is teeming with modern-day necessities, it managed to preserve all those religious and historic attractions as a remembrance of the island’s role in the country’s history.
The island also has beautiful beaches, interesting waterfalls, cliffs, mountains, and a jump off point to other tourist destinations nearby including Bohol, Dumaguete, and Siquijor.
10 | Bohol
Bohol is an island province in the Central Visayas Region. It is most known for Chocolate Hills, white sand beaches, diving sites, lush rivers, centuries-old churches, and interesting wildlife.
Bohol is approximately two hours ferry ride away from Cebu Port.