Kilometer 0: Distance Reference in the Philippines

Oftentimes locals forget about the significance of something because well certain things has always been there, unobtrusive in the background, useful but forgotten just like “KM 0” or Kilometer 0, that distance reference marker that can be found in Luneta Park, City of Manila. I wonder how many Filipino knows about “Kilometer 0” or what it means. Do you?

Sometimes it takes a visitor or a traveler to make us all aware again. Or sometimes it takes reading a blog post hehhe. (Pagpasenciahan nyo na lol)

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 I have always been fascinated about these road markers that I often see on the road especially when I travel across the provinces. As a child I have also asked my elders what the unbroken white line on the road signify, I am not sure if the answer I received then was the correct one but I was told that it means that if one sees these unbroken white lines on the road, it means that the road one is traveling on is part of the national highway of the province. And if you’re lost, you just try to follow it and eventually you will arrive at the center which is usually the city proper. Whereas the broken white lines signify inner town roads.

And I have always held this knowledge as truth up to this day. If that is wrong, I’d appreciate it if someone will correct me hehhe. I like to travel but I often get lost, literally, so the reference is very handy to me lol.

The other thing that fascinates me about the road is the Philippines road markers, yes it’s those yellow markers that dots the landscape of roadsides in the country. You have seen them I am sure!

 I like counting the passing kilometers using these markers especially during countryside tour and travel. And I like to guess the name of the next town by the first letter I see on the road post. It keeps me from getting bored while inside the bus lol and it lets me know when I am near my destination.

 So anyhow for years I become obsessed with Kilometer 0 and when I finally found myself in Rizal Park, Manila City, I was grinning ear to ear when I saw KM 0.  One entry on my bucketlist – check!

Rizal Park Marker – The Philippines Distance Reference Point: KM 0

The Official Philippine Kilometer Zero is THE FLAGPOLE you can find in Luneta, the one fronting the Rizal Statue. But there is a special marker across the flag, on the other side of Roxas Blvd that represents the KM 0 more prominently, that’s the pic above. =)


The highest flagpole in the Philippines is also (or ought to be) the Luneta Park flagpole, a national monument.

flagpole at Rizal Park in Luneta

Distances in the Philippine islands are measured against KM 0. The official KM 0 of PH is in Luneta Park, Manila but the other island provinces like Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor etc has its own point zero and usually you can find this marker within the vicinity of the provincial capitol, just look for the flagpole. The official flagpole of the province is the Kilometer Zero of that province, usually beside it is a yellow marker showing the figure ‘KM 0’.


Why the Philippine Flag (flagpole)?

Our Philippine Flag is the nation’s symbol of freedom, that is why it’s so important. This importance is recognized and valued in our constitution by designating the island-province capitol’s flagpole where the PH flag proudly flies on as the official distance reference point for that island province.

In case you are confuse just know that the official KM 0 of the country is the flagpole  in Luneta because it’s in Manila and Manila is the capital of the country.

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Cebu has its own KM 0 only because we are one province and we are one island.


Here is the marker at the Cebu Provincial Capitol. The “M” there stands for “Mandaue City”

Cebu KM 0 or Kilometer Zero


Now here’s the question:

How will we compute distances in Mindanao? Do they only have one KM 0  considering that Mindanao is ONE MAIN ISLAND with landlocked provinces within it? Or do every province in Mindanao has it’s own kilometer zero?

Same question goes for Panay Island, it’s one island composed of many provinces – Aklan,  Iloilo, Antique, Capiz. How will you compute travel distances?

If you know the answer, please shade light =)


Uses of the Philippine Road Markers

This distance reference marker is useful to many people, foremost to travelers.

Our bus system uses the markers too to calculate your bus fares. That is why your bus tickets show an array of numbers under the column “km” and the rate changes after each marker.  If you want to save and you know that you are getting off in a place just a few meters after a roadside marker, you may want to get off the bus a meter away from the marker para makatipid hehhe. And you can use the excuse of the marker to plead your case in case the konduktor wants you to pay the fare up to the next marker. Clever right? hehehe


How to read the Philippine Road Marker?

Please refer to the picture of the yellow marker below and kindly ignore the grinning idiot beside it.

1. The top number indicates how far you are from the official flag in the island province (in this case it’s against KM 0 of Cebu Province). The picture shows that the marker was 10 kilometers away from the Cebu Provincial Capitol where our island-province’s official flag and flagpole is located. 

If you are anywhere in Luzon Island, the distance calculation will be against the one on Rizal Park. 

2.  The single letter below it indicates the first letter of the next town or city, so “L” because the next city is Lapu – Lapu City.

3.  The number below the letter indicates the distance in kilometers to the next city proper. The marker shows “1”,     meaning that point where I was standing on is just 1 km away from the Lapu – Lapu City proper.

This distance is often measured against the location of  the town hall or city hall as that is where  you can also find the city’s flagpole so in effect the computation is s flagpole to flagpole.

Island Provinces Distance Calculation = Province Flagpole to City/Town Flagpole.

For Luzon Distance Calculation = Luneta Flagpole to Province / City / Town flagpole.

For Mindanao Island, Panay, Negros Island = ???

Mactan – Mandaue Bridge Road Marker

It’s that simple to read the yellow road post. Cool eh? ^_^

The next time you are on a road trip, look for these road markers, and know that they have a story to tell. 🙂

If this post has been useful to you, it’ll be great if you click on the ‘Like’ button below. Salamat!  :mrgreen:

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About Cille Anne

This blog is maintained, written and edited by she - who likes to travel a lot, more like wishes to travel a lot, doesn't want to miss a photo-op, loves the rain, certified chocoholic, coffee keeps her sane - it runs through her veins, she doesn't know how to swim, but wants to dive in Tubbataha all the same haha

~Come share with me, my travels, my stories, my life.

My name is Cille. AND THIS IS PENFIRES. :)


  1. wow! great input cille! never knew ana diay na pagbasa. hahaha. i’m slow when it comes to reading distances or road markers like that. now i know! good jab! ^_^

  2. ahahhah thanks doy heheh

  3. The yellow and white broken/unbroken lines has to do with traffic direction and passing rules. Not necessarily a guide to know if you’re in a national highway or not. Yellow lines indicate that traffic should be moving in opposite directions. White lines indicate that traffic should be moving in the same direction on either side of the line.

    If a white line is unbroken, it means lane switching is not allowed. If it is broken, it means lane switching is allowed. For the yellow lines – If you see an unbroken single yellow line, overtaking over the line is allowed but with extra caution. A broken yellow line means overtaking is allowed. But overtaking is illegal on double solid yellow lines. Also, a solid and a broken line parallel to each other means overtaking is only allowed on the side with the broken line. There are probably a few more but these are the common ones.

    Your article was great btw. I found it interesting. I always wondered what those signs meant traveling to Margen from Ormoc City when I was younger.

  4. Nice info on kilometer 0. If you visit Bataan you’ll be definitely interested in another km 0 there. It’s the starting point of the Bataan Death March. I walked from there and took photos along the way: https://www.flickr.com/gp/catblox/078v53 What I loved about the markers there are the messages of some of the loved ones of the survivors and the victims. There is a marker for every kilometer.

    • Hi Cathy, thank you for sharing that info!!! Now, I am so pumped-up to visit Bataan, I love learning about PH history and I also love pics of KM 0s. Hope to visit soonest, thank you for sharing!


  1. […] Trivia: Usually when you are traveling in the countryside you will see these yellow road markers on the roadside that indicates the next closest town, how far it is to the city or town hall, and the distance in kilometers from the island’s or province main Dr Jose Rizal statue.  This is also called the reference site or marker. When you are in Luzon Island, the distance reflected of your current place will be against the statue of the Philippine National Hero in Luneta Park which is called Kilometer 0 or “Kilometer Zero”.  Example: As you exit the South Luzon Expressway, you will see a vertical yellow road marker with details Cal, 1km, 53 kms. It means that the closest town or city is Calamba City, and you need to travel 1 kilometer more to reach the city hall and it is 53 kilometers away from the Rizal statue in Luneta where ‘KM 0’ or kilometer zero is located. Each island province has its own Rizal statue starting point which is usually located within the province capitol complex. Please click  this link to know more about the Philippines Road Marker and KM 0. […]

  2. […]  Kilometer Zero or KM 0 – <<< click that link to read about how to read the marker and assess distances from […]

  3. […] the longest time I posted questions on the original article which you can read here, these queries remains unanswered until a few days […]

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