Question: What is a Next Wave City in the Philippines BPO context?

Answer: Next Wave Cities are growing, business-friendly municipalities outside of Metro Manila with modern infrastructure and active local government support, and commercial investment and expansion incentives.

Industry Associations & Government Promotion

If you’ve researched the Philippines for BPO locations (or manufacturing, agro-industrial, tourism), you’ve encountered the term “Next Wave Cities.” The appellation is a marketing effort launched under the auspices of the industry’s leading lobbying and advocacy organization, IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (iBPAP), and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). The effort was launched during the first significant wave of BPO expansion under Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s administration (2001-2010).

Building Opportunity Outside Metro Manila

Next Wave Cities promotes locations beyond Metro Manila for foreign investment to push digital jobs and opportunities to these cities. The idea is to spread the wealth to regions outside of the capital where the GDP is three times the national average.

Economic opportunity isn’t the only imbalance that expansion outside of Manila seeks to address. Moving work and making provincial locations more attractive is part of a broader effort to alleviate the strain on the capital. This move mirrors efforts in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand to move “political and monetary capital in developing secondary cities.”

Digital Cities PH, the New Next Wave Cities

In 2020, the marketing effort recently shifted to a new campaign that rebranded Next Wave Cities as Digital Cities 2025. The tagline “A Brighter Future Awaits in the Countryside” bluntly captures the strategic intent. The Digital Cities PH portal provides a good resource for online research into the designated Digital Cities.

  • Balanga City
  • Batangas City
  • Cabanatuan City
  • Dagupan City
  • General Santos City
  • Iligan City
  • Iriga City
  • Laguna Cluster (San Pablo, Calamba, and Los Baños)
  • Laoag City
  • Legazpi City
  • Malolos City
  • Metro Cavite (Bacoor City, Imus, and General Trias)
  • Metro Rizal (Taytay, Cainta, and Antipolo City)
  • Olongapo City
  • Puerto Princesa City
  • Roxas City
  • San Fernando City, La Union
  • San Fernando City, Pampanga
  • San Jose Del Monte City
  • Tacloban City
  • Tagbilaran City
  • Tarlac City
  • Tuguegarao City
  • Urdaneta City
  • Zamboanga City