The Top 20 Emerging Cities in The Philippines

The world-renowned beaches and tourist spots are the things that instantly come to foreigners’ minds when talking about the Philippines. Indeed, there is an abundance of amazing vacation spots in the country. On the other hand, when it comes to local and foreign investors, some might think that Manila is the only plausible choice. Contrary to this belief, there are many thriving and sustainable cities in the Philippines that are good either for urban residences or business purposes, also called emerging cities.

There are a number of emerging cities in the Philippines Photo by Kelly from Pexels

What is an Emerging City?

According to an article by Business Mirror, a city is considered as one of the emerging ones when there is a clear potential for the creation of jobs, a healthy labor force, and organized and well-regulated land use. It is also a plus if the city is known for having good planning, design, and governance. Other emerging cities that are close to international airports and seaports, also known as gateway cities, have an advantage in this area since there is an obvious opportunity for trade and tourism.

Cities near airports have more economic opportunities Photo by Riccardo from Pexels

A few decades ago, there were only a few cities in the Philippines that could be considered progressive. Gladly, there is now more urban space available that now greatly contribute to economic growth along with the continuous infrastructure projects by both the national and local government in the past administrations.

Next Wave Cities in the Philippines

Here is a list—in no particular order—of some of the areas in the Philippines that are collectively being considered emerging cities. These are the top destinations that stood out from the rest when it comes to showing potential for economic success in the near future.

1. Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

The province of Palawan is one of the top vacation hotspots in the Philippines, known for breathtaking beaches and natural wonders. Needless to say, its capital—Puerto Princesa City—is a must-visit destination. Dynamic tourism alone drives economic growth, with millions of people visiting the province each year. There are even billions worth of investments from different companies being received each year.

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

There are also infrastructure projects on the way for the province that will be valuable for the economy of Puerto Princesa City and the entire province of Palawan such as the San Jose-Port Barton road leading to Puerto Princesa airport and the Taytay-El Nido Road.

2. Zamboanga City

Zamboanga City is a highly-urbanized city in the South that aims to be a smart city in the near future. It was already recognized for its readiness to adapt to the massive digitization in government and businesses. Zamboanga is indeed one of the global cities that the country can boast about.

Zamboanga city photo from wikipedia

Despite being far from the country’s capital region, there are also infrastructure projects in the Mindanao region that can further improve the value of this city, such as the Mindanao Railway and Zamboanga City-Zamboanga del Norte link road.

3. Clark City, Pampanga

Clark City rings a bell to many Filipinos, especially with the project for New Clark City, which is a government-funded modern city that cradles the vision of the modern Philippines.

Clark City, Pampanga The Top 20 Emerging Cities in The Philippines

4. San Fernando City, Pampanga

The once lahar-stricken province of Pampanga has really come a long way as its capital has experience economic growth in the past years. This city of San Fernando in particular has been dubbed the cultural and economic hub of the region. According to a census conducted in 2015, there were hundreds of thousands of active residents and workers in this particular city.

San Fernando City, Pampanga


Suggested Read: Advantages of Investing in Tagaytay
Suggested Read: Philippines Real Estate Predictions This Year


5. Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector is one of the top economic drivers in the Philippines. One of the cities that established itself as good soil for BPO companies outside Metro Manila is the city of Laoag in Ilocos Norte. Big BPO companies have already expanded their operations and created thousands of local jobs in this area.

Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

This opened an opportunity to make the province’s economic activity vibrant, not just for the BPO industry but even for the real estate industry. There is more demand for office spaces for the construction of business hubs in the area. Along with the improved Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway (TPLEX) and North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Laoag will even be more attractive for entrepreneurs and investors in the coming years.

6. Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Vigan City has established its rank in the global standing by being one of the wonder cities of the world, as awarded by a certain national bureau. It is well known for being both a hotspot for tourism and entrepreneurs in the country.

Vigan is known for its preserved historical sites from the Spanish colonial era Photo by Pink Mean from Pexels

7. Legazpi City, Albay

Legazpi City, the capital of Albay, is already a familiar name to many since it is a famous vacation spot. Although aside from the economic activity of its tourism sector, Legazpi is also a gateway city that shows potential in the industrial, IT, and BPO sectors. On top of these, the route to Legazpi is getting better with the construction of Bicol International Airport, Camarines Sur Expressway, and the Pasacao-Balatan Tourism Coastal Highway.

Legazpi City, Albay The Top 20 Emerging Cities in The Philippines

8. Balanga City, Bataan

Early 2020, Balanga placed first in the list of emerging cities as the city’s local government inaugurated the modern capitol building—the city’s commercial hub and government center that is meant to make business transactions in the area as it houses office space for various commercial enterprises and different government agencies.

Balanga City, Bataan

Balanga’s economic progress is also reflected through improvements in road infrastructure. With the improved Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) along with the proposed Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge, there is a bright future ahead for Balanga’s economy.


Suggested Read: NYC SCOPE Art Fair: Emerging Artists and Galleries
Suggested Read: A Resort Condo Living at Alpine Villas


9. Batangas City

When it comes to philippine tourism, the province of Batangas has long since ceased to be a prime destination in spite of its popularity. Those who are searching for a fast travel fix from the metro will find that this location is one of the most accessible spots to go. This surely contributed to the recognition that the capital of Batangas received from the stable industry expansion and high employment rate in the city.

Batangas City The Top 20 Emerging Cities in The Philippines

When it comes to infrastructure, the route to Batangas will become even easier with the newly-built Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) and the Skyway extension which will make the city more accessible to potential tourists, entrepreneurs, and residents.

10. Lucena City, Quezon

Lucena City is one of the liveable cities in the Philippines, according to a study conducted in 2020. The study recognized the city’s growing economy, good governance, and social dimension. Lucena is the capital city of Quezon and is known for its agricultural and forestry products. Additionally, the city serves as a significant transportation center for the province. It is home to the Lucena Grand Terminal, the largest land terminal in the Philippines. The terminal provides bus services to various parts of the country.

Lucena City, Quezon

11. Iloilo City

Iloilo City is strategically placed at the core of the Philippine archipelago, making it both the capital of the province and the gateway to Panay Island. Panay Island is the largest island in the province. It is a highly urbanized metropolitan area with a stable economy and enhanced business investment environment, which easily entices local and foreign investors.

Iloilo City

12. Davao City

Davao has been in the spotlight for the past years for being the center of progress in the Mindanao region. It is considered a catalyst of change through a socio-political lens. The only thing that slows this city from being a new wave city is the presence of infrastructure developments that will make this area more accessible for business.

davao city booking

13. Cebu City

Cebu City has the second biggest population growth in the Philippines after Manila. It is because this city is the capital of the Central Visayas region when it comes to business. Tourism, BPO, and IT, Cebu City is on top of these fields in the area.

There are various activities available for tourists in Cebu City Photo by Elaine Bernadine Castro from Pexels

14. Balanga City, Bataan

The city of Balanga is one of the areas in the Philippines that are blessed with rich natural wonders that have recently started developments to make way for trade, commerce, and other services.

Balanga City Bataan The Top 20 Cities in The Philippines

15. Iriga, Camarines Sur

Another city that is slowly delving into the BPO industry is the city of Iriga in the Bicol region. The local government even worked on establishing the first IT technopark in the hope of generating thousands of jobs in Iriga.

iriga camarines sur The Top 20 Cities in The Philippines

Like Legazpi, the city of Iriga also has a great potential to be a gateway city with the building of Bicol International Airport and Camarines Sur Expressway. The construction of PNR Bicol is also on its way to completion. The construction of accessible routes will be valuable to the progress in this city.

16. Roxas City, Capiz

Because of its natural wonders, amazing restaurants, and must-see heritage sites, Roxas City is also known for being a famous tourist spot in the Visayas. This city is known for having a combo of tourism and technology that opens up its potential for massive economic growth.

Roxas City, Capiz

As for the infrastructure in the province, one of the biggest projects of the national government—the inter-island bridge connecting Panay, Guimaras, and Negros—is set to be completed in the coming years. Iloilo International Airport is also near to this province which instantly increases the accessibility in this area.

17. Tarlac City

If there is one province in Central Luzon that is teeming with huge real estate property investments, it is Tarlac City. There are plenty of real estate developments on the way in the province, along with the construction of the previously mentioned New Clark City. Aside from this, there are also private real estate investors coming to Tarlac City. This city is one of the emerging cities on the rise that you should keep an eye on.

18. Tuguegarao City, Cagayan

The city of Tuguegarao attracts a lot of visitors every year because of its historic sites and vibrant festivals. Aside from receiving tourists, it is also known for being a safe and friendly community for doing business. There are also a number of infrastructure development in the pipeline in this area, such as the four-lane Pinacanauan Bridge, Cagayan Valley Eastern Seaboard Highway, and Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA).

Tuguegarao city

19. Baguio City

Probably the most famous and unique spot in the Philippines for tourism because of its cold weather all year long, Baguio City has always been one of the most abundant cities in the country. It became even more famous in recent years by being featured in mainstream media.

baguio city

20. Cagayan De Oro City

Cagayan De Oro is a conducive area for international companies for its multilingual and multicultural society. There are also massive infrastructure projects in progress in this area which will further expand its opportunities to be one of the economic zones. This city is indeed one of the emerging cities you should watch out.

Cagayan De Oro

A good location is a must

Whether for residential or investment purposes, a good location is an important consideration. It is best to spend on a property that has a thriving business, tourism, and infrastructure developments, just like next-wave cities.

When it comes to luxury real estate, Brittany Corporation knows the best cities that will perfectly suit its homeowners. Brittany built developments in cities that are conducive to the luxury living experience it envisions for its clients—where convenience and comfort meet.

brittany corporation luxury properties vista alabang

Brittany offers luxury real estate properties such as luxury house and lot, luxury condos, and luxury lots that are suitable for the affluent sector. These properties are complete with world-class themes, extravagant amenities, and top-notch security. Whether for residential use or as a real estate investment, luxury homes from Brittany will surely prove to be a worthy spend.

Get to know Brittany and its luxury real estate properties by going to its official website. You may also follow Brittany’s social media pages for more updates.