Outdoors & Nature

Longest Rivers in the Philippines

Written by Patrick

Rivers in the Philippines are a vital part of the nation’s geography, culture, and biodiversity. 

Aside from over 7,000 islands, the Philippines is home to numerous rivers of varying sizes, each with its unique characteristics.  These rivers play a crucial role in the country’s geography, culture, and economy.  They are essential for irrigation, transportation, and the overall well-being of the communities they serve.  

Here are the longest rivers in the Philippines and their significance in the country.

1 | Cagayan River

Cagayan River

Caption: Cagayan River | Image Source

Location: Northern Luzon

With a length of 505 kilometers (314 miles), Cagayan River is the longest river in the Philippines.  It flows through the Cagayan Valley, particularly the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela, and Cagayan.  The river’s source is the Caraballo Mountains, a mountain range in Central Luzon, and its mouth is at the Babuyan Channel in Aparri, Cagayan.

Cagayan River is the lifeline for the Cagayan Valley and benefits the remaining primary forests which is home to a number of endangered species of animals like the Luzon bleeding-heart pigeon and Philippine eagle.  The production of crops such as rice, corn, banana, coconut, mangoes, citrus, and tobacco also benefits from the river. 

Cagayan River, also referred to as “Rio Grande de Cagayan” should not be confused from Cagayan de Oro River in Mindanao.

2 | Rio Grande de Mindanao

Rio Grande de Mindanao

Caption: Rio Grande de Mindanao | Image Source

Location: Mindanao

Rio Grande de Mindanao (Mindanao River), the second longest river in the Philippines, measures 373 kilometers (232 miles) in length.  Its source is located in Central Mindanao Highlands, specifically on the northeastern part of Bukidnon, where it is known as the Pulangi River.  It flows through the provinces of Bukidnon, Maguindanao, and Cotabato, and then empties into Illana Bay with its mouth located in Cotabato City.

The river’s watershed is crucial for the region’s agriculture, supporting the livelihoods of many farmers and communities. It provides water for irrigation and sustains various crops and plantations, contributing to the agricultural productivity of Mindanao.

3 | Agusan River

Agusan River

Caption: Agusan River | Image Source

Location: Caraga and Davao Region

Agusan River is the third longest river in the Philippines, boasting a length of 349 kilometers (217 miles).  While the headwaters are located in the mountains of Davao de Oro, the majority of the river flows through Caraga region and finally drains into Butuan Bay at its mouth in Butuan City.

The river features the Agusan Marsh which serves as a flood retention basin and is also home to some endangered and endemic flora and fauna. 

4 | Pulangi River

Pulangi River

Caption: Pulangi River | Image Source

Location: Bukidnon

With a length of 320 kilometers (199 miles), Pulangi River is the longest river in Bukidnon.  Its headwaters are found in the northeastern part of Bukidnon and is one of the major tributaries of the Rio Grande de Mindanao.  It flows through the majority of the cities and towns of Bukidnon and its mouth is in Rio Grande de Mindanao.

Pulangi River features Pulangi IV Hydroelectric Plant and watershed.  The power plant provides 25% of Mindanao’s power supply and its reservoir and dam is also a main source of water for Bukidnon, both for drinking and for irrigation.

5 | Pampanga River

Pampanga River

Caption: Pampanga River | Image Source

Location: Central Luzon

Pampanga River runs about 261 kilometers (162 miles) from its headwaters at the Sierra Madre up to its mouth in Manila Bay.  It traverses the provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan, Aurora, and Nueva Ecija.

The river provides irrigation for farms in the region.

6 | Agno River

Agno River

Caption: Agno River | Image Source

Location: Central Luzon

Agno River, known as Pangasinan River, originates in the Cordillera Mountains and traverses the provinces of Benguet, Pangasinan, and Tarlac.  Its length measures 248 kilometers (154 miles) and drains into the South China Sea via the Lingayen Gulf.

While Agno River is only 6th in terms of length, it is the largest Philippine river in terms of water discharge.  The river supplies three hydroelectric plants – Binga Dam (Itogon, Benguet), Ambuklao Dam (Bokod, Benguet), and San Roque Dam (San Miguel, Pangasinan).

7 | Abulog River

Abulog River

Caption: Abulog River | Image Source

Location: Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)

Also spelled Abulug, Abulog River is one of the largest river systems in the Philippines in terms of watershed size.  Its source along with 90% of the river is located in Apayao while the rest, including its mouth, is in Cagayan.  

8 | Ilagan River

Ilagan River

Caption: Ilagan River | Image Source

Location: Cagayan Valley

Ilagan River is one of the major tributaries of Cagayan River.  Its source is located in the Sierra Madre and flows westward through the province of Isabela, including the towns of San Mariano and Benito Soliven before joining the Cagayan River at Ilagan City.  Ilagan River has a length of 188 kilometers (117 miles).

9 | Magat River

Magat River

Caption: Magat River | Image Source

Location: Cagayan Valley

Magat River is the largest tributary of Cagayan River, making up roughly 20% of the total drainage area of the longest and largest river in the Philippines.  The river is home to one of the largest irrigation projects in the Philippines and has three hydroelectric power plants.

10 | Abra River

Abra River

Caption: Abra River | Image Source

Location:  Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)

From its source in the southern portion of Mount Data, Abra River flows through Abra and drains into the South China Sea with its mouth located in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur.  Abra River, also known as Lagben River, has a length of 179 kilometers (111 miles).

The rivers of the Philippines are not just a source of natural beauty but also play a crucial role in the nation’s ecosystem and cultural heritage. They sustain diverse flora and fauna, provide livelihoods for countless communities, and hold a special place in the hearts of the Filipino people.

READ MORE: Top 10 Waterfalls in the Philippines

Have YOU visited any of these rivers?

About the Author


Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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