When hiring an Online Filipino Specialist, there’s a big chance you’ve had applicants from Manila. If you know any Filipinos, it’s also likely that they’re from Manila as well.

Is Manila that big? Why do so many Filipinos live there?

First, let me correct some misconceptions about Manila.

Manila isn’t a mega city. The actual city of Manila is just about 17 square miles. When people say they’re from Manila, most refer to Metro Manila (also called National Capital Region). Metro Manila is made up of 16 cities, including the city of Manila, Quezon City, Pasig City, Mandaluyong City, Caloocan City, etc. All of those cities combined cover an area of 239.22 sq miles, just slightly smaller than Tucson, Arizona.

The total population of Metro Manila is about 14.4 million people, that’s 13% of the entire Philippine population.

All these cities are highly urbanized. This is where you’ll find their government head offices, most popular universities, and multinational corporations.

Despite that, Metro Manila isn’t a big place. Just to give you some context of how small Metro Manila is, here’s a map of the Philippines. That tiny red spot there is Metro Manila.

Because most schools and jobs are in Metro Manila, many Filipinos live or commute there. It’s the 2nd most densely populated region in the country and the 5th most densely populated place in the world. Living there is expensive and crowded, but people go there because Manila offers so many opportunities. 36% of the country’s GDP comes from Metro Manila. If you’re looking for work, to many, Metro Manila is the place to go.

Metro Manila is a great place but has its share of problems. Traffic, urban poverty, and lack of affordable housing are just some of the reasons why many Filipinos would rather go back to the provinces if there are opportunities available there.

For decades, the Philippine government has been developing cities far and away from Metro Manila to entice people to move back home. They created economic zones to encourage companies to invest outside of Manila. They set up the infrastructure and enticed companies with lower labor costs and less competition for talent. This is one of the reasons why you’ll find call centers all over the Philippines now instead of being concentrated in Manila.

I’m proud that online work has also played a role in this. When we did a series where we interviewed Filipino workers, most of them credited Onlinejobs.ph for helping them move back home. I have people on my team who moved away from Manila as soon as they found online work. The Philippine government has even contacted me a few times to talk about this. They told me how Onlinejobs.ph has helped small towns grow by encouraging people to stay in their communities and spend their income there. The people are clamoring for and getting better internet because they want to work from home.

Ultimately, I’m saying that when you’re hiring, keep an open mind. You don’t have to limit yourself to Metro Manila. There’s talent all over the country. Their internet and electricity infrastructure has improved dramatically over the years. There is an OFS out there who’s right for you.