MAP: Islam in the Philippines

Michael Bueza

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MAP: Islam in the Philippines
Islam is the Philippines' second largest religion. See its reach not only in Mindanao but also in other provinces.

MANILA, Philippines – Even before the arrival of Spanish colonizers and Roman Catholicism in the Philippines, Islam was already present in the country. Introduced by Muslim traders in southern Philippines in the 14th century, Islam’s influence had once spread north to Manila.

Many centuries later, Islam continues to be an integral part of Philippine history and culture.

Islam is the Philippines’ second largest religion, with followers of 5,127,084 as of 2010, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO). In a span of 10 years, it increased by close to one-third or 32.7%, from 3,862,409 in 2000.

Majority of Filipino Muslims live in the Mindanao island group, with at least 4,838,060 Muslims there, or 94% of the country’s Islamic population.

Within Mindanao is the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), composed of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, but excluding Isabela City in Basilan and Cotabato City in Maguindanao. (READ: How different is ARMM from the Bangsamoro?)

The ARMM is home to at least 2,979,814 Muslims, or 58% of the country’s Muslim population.

In Metro Manila, only at least 105,094 Muslims live there, making up only 2% of the country’s Muslim population, and a miniscule 0.89% of the Metro’s entire population. On the map below, Metro Manila has a faint yellow shade (zoom in to see it more clearly).

Click on the other provinces for more information on the Muslim population of each one. You may also change views by clicking on the legends above the map.


 % of total Muslim pop.

 % of province’s pop.

Source: National Statistics Office (NSO) Census, 2010 and 2000

The 5 ARMM provinces figure at the top of the list of provinces with the most Islam adherents in the Philippines. (READ: Beautiful mosques in the Philippines)

Top 10 Provinces with the Largest Muslim Populations
Province Muslim Population (2010) % of PH’s Muslim Pop.
1. Maguindanao
(including Cotabato City*)
993,040 19.37%
2. Lanao del Sur 872,678 17.02%
3. Sulu 706,229 13.77%
4. Tawi-Tawi 353,865 6.90%
5. Zamboanga del Sur 336,840 6.57%
6. Cotabato 318,602 6.21%
7. Basilan
(including Isabela City**)
311,004 6.07%
8. Lanao del Norte 285,861 5.58%
9. Sultan Kudarat 209,917 4.09%
10. Metro Manila (not a province)
105,094 2.05%

Source: 2010 Census, NSO

* Cotabato City, part of Region XII, has a Muslim population of 200,370.
** Isabela City, part of Region IX, has a Muslim population of 56,632.

Islam is the dominant religion in only the 5 ARMM provinces, with Sulu and Tawi-Tawi having the biggest percentage of Muslims composing their respective populations.

But Islam has a strong presence in ARMM’s surrounding provinces as well.

Top 10 Provinces with the Highest Proportion of Muslims by Province
Province Muslim Population (2010) % of Province’s Pop.
1. Sulu 706,229 98.32%
2. Tawi-Tawi 353,865 96.83%
3. Lanao del Sur 872,678 94.00%
4. Maguindanao
(including Cotabato City*)
993,040 81.73%
5. Basilan
(including Isabela City**)
311,004 79.56%
6. Lanao del Norte 285,861 30.80%
7. Sultan Kudarat 209,917 28.13%
8. Cotabato 318,602 26.02%
9. Zamboanga del Sur 336,840 19.13%
10. Zamboanga Sibugay 84,835 14.53%

Source: 2010 Census, NSO

* Cotabato City, part of Region XII, has a Muslim population of 200,370.
** Isabela City, part of Region IX, has a Muslim population of 56,632.

See Rappler’s previous maps on other major religions in the country:

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.