Origin of Names of Philippine Provinces and Cities

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Abra – abrir, a Spanish term which means opening
Antipolo City – antipolo, a tree that used to abound in the area
Agusan – agusan, a Tagalog term referring to a spot where water flows
Aklan – from Akean River
Albay – albaybay, a Bicolano term meaning by the bay
Angeles City – Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda
Antique – hantic or large ants
Apayao – apayaw, a native word for negotiable river
Aurora – Maria Aurora Quezon, wife of former President Manuel Quezon
Babuyan Island – babuyan, which refers to a place where pigs are kept
Bacolod City – buklod, referring to a hilly terrain
Bago City – bago, a large tree in the area
Baguio City – bigjiw, an Igorot term for a moss
Balagtas, Bulacan – Francisco Balagtas
Balanga, Bataan – balanga, referring to a cooking pot
Baliuag, Bulacan – maliway, an adjective meaning tardy
Basilan – basilan, which means iron trail
Batanes – Ivatan, the natives of the area
Batangas – batang, or huge logs
Benguet – benget, a Nabaloy term meaning head scarf
Biliran -biliran, a native grass used for weaving mats
Bohol – bool, a village in Tagbilaran City
Bulacan – bulak or cotton
Bukidnon – bukidnon, referring to the people of the mountain
Butuan City – butuan, a sour fruit in the area
Cadiz City – named after Cadiz, Spain
Cagayan – carayan, an Ilocano word for river
Cagayan de Oro City – kalambaguhan, evolved from the word lambago, a type of tree
Calamba, Laguna – kalamba, a wide-mouth earthen jar
Calumpit, Bulacan – kalumpit, the name of trees, which used to abound in the area
Caloocan City – look, meaning interior
Camarines – camarine, a Spanish term for granary
Camuigin – kamagong, a tree of the ebony family
Capiz – kapis, a Visayan term for pearl shells
Caraga – caraga, or inhabitants of the area
Catanduanes – named after Catandungan river, along whose banks tando trees used to abound
Cavite – kawit or hook
Cebu – sugbu
Cotabato – kuta bato, or a stone fort
Dagupan City – nandaragupan, meaning where once stood a commercial center
Dapitan City – dapit, a Cebuano term meaning to invite
Davao City – daba-daba, a native term for mythical figures
Dumaguete City – managuit, a Cebuano term meaning to capture
EDSA – Epifanio delos Santos Avenue
Guimaras – himal-us, as local inhabitants called the place in the pre-Spanish period
Hagonoy, Bulacan – hagonoy, the name of a weed that used to abound in the area
Hermosa, Bataan – hermosa, a Spanish word for beautiful
Ifugao – pugo, which means hills
Ilocos – loco, a Malay term for lowland
Iloilo – ilong or nose
Isabela – Queen Isabela of Spain
Kalinga – kalinga, a native word for headhunters
Lanao – lanaw, a term referring to the people of the lake
Laguna – la laguna, meaning the lake
Laoag City – iluag, meaning clear or light
La Union – from the Spanish term union
Legazpi City – Miguel Lopez de Legazpi
Leyte – hiraite, the name of the place formerly known as Ete
Lucena City – named after the town of Lucena in Andalucia, Spain
Luzon – lu zung, a Chinese phrase meaning a far away land
Makati City – makati na, meaning the tide is ebbing
Maguindanao – danao, or flood
Malacanang Palace – may lakan diyan, meaning there lives a gentleman or the Spanish words mala cana (bad sugarcane)
Mandaluyong City – may daluyong, meaning where big waves roll
Manila – may nilad, a phrase referring to a spot where nilad grows.
Marinduque – Marina and Garduke, a legendary couple
Masbate – masa bati, which means mix and beat as in making bread
Mayon Volcano – magayon, a Bicolano term for beautiful
Meycauayan – may kawayan, which refers to a place where bamboos grow
Mindoro – mina de oro, or gold mine
Misamis – kuyamis, referring to sweet coconut
Mountain Province – mountain
Mount Makiling – Mariang Makiling, a legendary name
Mount Pinatubo – pinatubo, a term meaning left to grow
Muntinlupa City – monted de lupa, a vernacular phrase meaning hills
Naga City – naga, a Bicolano term for narra tree
Negros – negros, a Spanish term for black people
Norzagaray, Bulacan – Governor General Fernando Norzagaray
Nueva Vizcaya – a Spanish phrase meaning New Biscayne
Pagsanjan, Laguna – pinagsangahan, or where the river branched out
Palawan – palan yu, a Chinese phrase for beautiful harbor
Palayan City – palayan, or rice field
Pampanga – pampang, which means riverbank 
Pangasinan – asin, which means salt
Panay – pan hay, a Spanish word
Paranaque City – para aqui, a Spanish phrase meaning stop here
Pasay City – paso hay, a Spanish phrase meaning there is a pass
Pasig River – passi, probably evolved from the word mabagsik, meaning violent in force
Pateros – pato, meaning duck
Philippines – Philip II of Spain
Plaridel, Bulacan – Marcelo del Pilar
Pulilan, Bulacan – pulo ng ulan, meaning island of rain
Quezon City – Manuel L. Quezon
Quiapo, Manila – kiyapo, a cabbage-like weed
Quirino – Elpidio Quirino
Rizal – Jose Rizal
Romblon – lomlon or donblon
Samar – zamal 
Sarangani – sangir, the language spoken by inhabitants of Sarangani Island
Silliman University – Dr. Horace Brinsmade Silliman, a philanthropist from New York 
Siquijor – quipjod, a native term that means the tide is ebbing
Sorsogon – solsogon, a Bicolano term meaning to follow the river
Sultan Kudarat – Sultan Kudarat, a Muslim ruler in the 17th Century
Sulu – sug, meaning water current
Surigao – saliagao, a native term meaning to grab
Tarlac – tarlac, an Aeta word which refers to a weed
Tagaytay City – taga itay, two words which mean cut and father
Tawi-Tawi – jaui jaui, evolved from the Malay term jau that means far
Tuguegarao City – tuggui gari yaw, an Ibanag phrase meaning it used to be fire
Valenzuela City – Pio Valenzuela
Visayas – Bisayas, or the name of the people in the area
Zambales – zambals, or the name of the inhabitants in the area
Zamboanga -samboangan, evolved from the local term sabuan, which refers to a wooden pole.

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