Postcards from the Philippines: My city looks better than yours

June 12, 2017
Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija

Bored Panda published a compilation of first picture that appears when you search your capital on Google Images and in response, we’ve compiled for the First picture that appears when searching for Philippine Cities on Google Images. Discounting rules for autonomy, jurisdiction and other political issues, we based our list of cities from the Philippine Standard Geographic Code (PSGC). Here’s the premise:

When you want to send a postcard from a particular place, it’s really hard to choose its design. After all, you have to decide what site portrays the essence of that location best. Google goes through the same problem – if a person searches a place, the website has to determine what images appear at the top of the result list. So what ‘postcards’ do Google assign to the cities around the world?

Bored Panda

Now what are we being told by this experiment? Wikipedia (75/145, 52%) and (13/145, 17%) dominate the image search engine, though most the images are mostly poor in quality or are not “postcard material.” The very few notable photos were mostly taken by travel bloggers. I believe this fact is putting them into leverage in light of improving search engine optimization (SEO), the city governance offices may have to tap them for this purpose.

I also made several other searches and found out that most cities have their own websites but most are either lacking in visual facets or are not reaching the proper audience (again, SEO). Perhaps, whoever is responsible for the creative, administration, or maintenance of these local websites, must up their game if a boost in tourism takes a better part of their website’s purpose.

Having said that, I like how some of the images portrayed the cities in a different light, the one for Cabanatuan City (featured above) I find specially remarkable as it urbanized the city, instead of giving it a very touristy vibe. If I am to send a postcard from that city, I would very much like to choose that photo. Credits to Wikimedia Commons user Judgefloro for this photo of the Maharlika Highway (Cagayan Valley Road, Cabanatuan City).

Search criteria: (1) Searches were made on Mozilla Firefox using “Private Window” at; (2) Names of the cities (without the names of provinces) were used on most cases; (3) but in cases where homonyms were appearing on results pages, either “City” or the province names were appended on the search term; and (4) Maps, photo collages and logos were not considered as “first image.”

Examples: (1) First and second image results for “Antipolo” are maps of Antipolo, Rizal, and the third is a collage. Fourth image was used. (2) “Angeles” returns images of angels, and “Bago” results to images of Myanmar; “City” was appended on the search term as indicated with parenthess — Bago (City). (3) “El Salvador” or “El Salvador City” result to images from Guatemala, “El Salvador Misamis Oriental” was used instead (without the comma), and indicated by an asterisk (*).

Now let’s see what postcards Google Images assigned to each city in the Philippines. City names are arranged in alphabetical order, you may click these shortcuts to jump to the image of the city you intend to view.

Alaminos ~ Calamba | Calapan ~ Iloilo City | Imus ~ Muñoz | Muntinlupa ~ Santa Rosa | Santiago ~ Zamboanga City

Alaminos, Pangasinan

Angeles (City), Pampanga

Antipolo, Rizal

Bacolod, Negros Occidental

Bacoor, Cavite

Bago City, Negros Occidental

Baguio City, Benguet

Bais, Negros Occidental

Batac, Ilocos Norte*

Batangas City, Batangas

Bayawan, Negros Oriental

Baybay, Leyte

Bayugan, Agusan del Sur

Biñan, Laguna

Bislig, Surigao del Sur

Bogo (City), Cebu

Borongan, Eastern Samar

Butuan, Agusan del Norte

Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte

Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija

Cabuyao, Laguna

Cadiz (City), Negros Occidental

Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental

Calamba, Laguna

Alaminos ~ Calamba | Calapan ~ Iloilo City | Imus ~ Muñoz | Muntinlupa ~ Santa Rosa | Santiago ~ Zamboanga City

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