Floating Cities? The Most Flood Prone Cities in the Philippines

As a tropical country frequented by heavy rains and strong typhoons, the Philippines is definitely a flood prone country, more so with the denudation of forests, as well as poor zoning and poor garbage disposal in urban areas.

In our country, floods can easily occur even with the light precipitation, and with continuous heavy downpour, you can expect roads and highways to begin flowing with floodwater, not with vehicles.

Knowing the flood prone areas in the country helps us to be more vigilant and to be ready for emergencies. It also helps us identify a safer, better location to live and work, if given the choice. Here now are ten of the most flood prone cities and provinces in the country.


  1. Cavite

The province of Cavite is constantly battered with flooding. In August 2013, the province experienced eight-foot high floods due to heavy rains and high tides. Below is a flood map of the province detailing Cavite City, Kawit, Noveleta, Bacoor, Rosario and Naic as some of the most flooded areas within the province. See full flood map of Cavite here.


  1. CaMaNava (Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela)

All four cities are interconnected by the same river system, and all of them experience flooding whenever there is heavy rain. In fact, some 13 villages in Navotas were under floodwaters in August 2012, and remains under threat. But the flooding could have been prevented a long time ago had the proposed CaMaNava flood control project been planned and implemented carefully. Meanwhile, Malabon is mockingly dubbed as the “Venice of the Philippines” but not due to its charm, but because it is constantly under water.

The CaMaNava project was conceptualized in 1997, was supposed to be completed in 2007, but was moved to 2009. Fast forward to 2016, and the project remains in the grey area. There are concerns over faulty and obsolete designs, with local officials complaining they were kept in the dark for many years (any project that size couldn’t possibly be spared from bad politics and bureaucracy). Older components of the projects are deteriorating, and instead of providing protection against flood, they pose even more risks of collapsing and further worsening flood problems within the four interconnected cities.

Parañaque flood

  1. Parañaque

Parañaque experiences waist-high waters with heavy downpour. Around August 2013, hundreds of people were evacuated from San Dionisio, Tambo and Sto. Niño because of the rising waters.

Thankfully, the city has began implementation of a Flood Control Program to mitigate the floodwaters and has also put in place several flood control measures, constantly finding ways to help solve the flood problem. Nevertheless, any flood control measure they do can only do so much considering that floods are not confined to a single city, but are a concern covering surrounding cities, provinces, and even the uplands.


  1. Makati

The urban jungles of Makati and the rapid urbanization there are no doubt spectacular, but perhaps the major downside to all the development in Binay’s turf is the flooding. Yes, not even Binay can deny this much. Makati, being close to Pasig River is a major flood-prone area.

GMA Network reported in June 2013 how deep the floodwater was in Makati City. Seen in the photo is a citizen pulling a makeshift raft/ferry while treading the floodwaters in Pio del Pilar.


  1. Manila

Then there’s Manila, notorious for its flooding problems. Of course, not all parts of Manila is flood-prone, but most of it are, and it has become a chronic problem something that has been reported over and over in local news, and even internationally.

Just imagine treading through chest-deep, murky waters in your office wear, with only your laptop case or suitcase as covering for your head. This is exactly what happened to these guys in the photo below, as reported by The Telegraph. Meanwhile, The Philippine Star has listed 10 reasons why it floods in Manila.


  1. Mandaluyong

Mandaluyong is surrounded by four bodies of water – Manila Bay to the west, San Juan River to the northwest, Pasig River to the south, and Laguna de Bay to the Southeast – no wonder it is flood-prone. But not only that, just last month, it was reported that the city’s own drainage project ironically caused or worsen the flooding issue. The flooding affected many people – at the onset, there is damage to property and then there’s dengue outbreak. Businesses were closing due to record-low sales.

Here is a flood map of the City of Mandaluyong, with the city at the center.


  1. Abra

The Abra River can swell and overflow any minute there is a heavy downpour, threatening low-lying areas in the province including Bangued, Manabo, Sallapadan, Bucay, La Paz, San Isidro, Tayum, Lagayan, Pilar, Lagangilang, Langiden, Pidigan, San Juan, San Quintin, Peñarrubia, Dolores, Danglas and Daguioman. And since the province is mountainous, there is also high risk of landslides.

Surigao del Sur

  1. Surigao del Sur/Norte

The Surfing Capital of the Philippines is also not free from flooding. In fact, all islands and municipalities of Surigao del Sur, as well as certain towns in Surigao del Norte, including Surigao City, Alegria and Mainit, are flood-prone areas. The two provinces may be used to strong winds and tides, but they there is no getting used to heavy floods and landslides.

In January 2015, classes and work were suspended in many towns in Surigao del Sur due to continuous downpour, which caused flooding and landslides. The major highway connecting Tandag City and Cortes was declared impassable because of landslides. Pictured below is the Tandag Airport surrounded by floodwaters, as reported by Rappler.

Agusan del sur

  1. Agusan del Sur

Agusan del Sur is home to the notorious Agusan Marsh and constant flooding. In fact, the province has reported several flood-related deaths. About two years ago, in January 2014, 22 people died and more than 50,000 families displaced due to mudslides and floods in Agusan caused by two weeks of relentless rains.

As seen below, most of Agusan del Sur is flood-prone, particularly those in Bayugan City, Prosperidad, Patin-ay, San Francisco, Talacogon, Bunawan, Loreto, La Paz, San Luis, Esperanza, and Las Nieves. Areas in the middle section of the 11,000 square kilometer Agusan River Basin are prone to flooding and landslides.


  1. Kalinga

Pasil, Balbalan, Tanudan, Lubuagan and Tingcayan in Kalinga Province are not safe because of high probability of flooding and landslides. Farmlands and ricefields in the area are constantly struggling whenever there is a typhoon coming or continuous rains.

When Typhoon Ineng struck northern Philippines in August 2015, Kalinga, along with the neighboring provinces of Ifugao, Benguet and Apayao were listed by PAG-ASA as provinces prone to floods and landslides.

It has been said that flooding in the Philippines is manmade, and that whenever nature takes its course (read: when it rains, it pours), we are simply going through the consequences of our collective negligence and indifference.

Perhaps so. We certainly can’t blame all the flooding to Mother Nature and climate change (which remains a theory by the way). Think about the bad implementation of urbanization and development, the precarious delays in infrastructure completion, the government’s tolerance of informal settlements in waterways (under the bridge, along riverbanks, etc.), and the massive deforestation of the uplands.

This article is definitely worth the share, don’t you think? If you have loved ones and friends living in flood-prone areas, they might need to read this one and be informed. On the other hand, do you think flooding in the country is more of manmade, natural, or both? Share with us your thoughts on the issue. We don’t mind if you flood our site with your comments!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *