< All Topics

A. Classification of Property


All things which are or may be the object of appropriation are considered either:

1) Immovable or real property; or

2) Movable or personal property. (Article 414, Civil Code)

1. Immovables


The following are immovable property:

1) Land, buildings, roads and constructions of all kinds adhered to the soil;

2) Trees, plants, and growing fruits, while they are attached to the land or form an integral part of an immovable;

3) Everything attached to an immovable in a fixed manner, in such a way that it cannot be separated therefrom without breaking the material or deterioration of the object;

4) Statues, reliefs, paintings or other objects for use or ornamentation, placed in buildings or on lands by the owner of the immovable in such a manner that it reveals the intention to attach them permanently to the tenements;

5) Machinery, receptacles, instruments or implements intended by the owner of the tenement for an industry or works which may be carried on in a building or on a piece of land, and which tend directly to meet the needs of the said industry or works;

6) Animal houses, pigeon-houses, beehives, fish ponds or breeding places of similar nature, in case their owner has placed them or preserves them with the intention to have them permanently attached to the land, and forming a permanent part of it; the animals in these places are included;

7) Fertilizer actually used on a piece of land;

8) Mines, quarries, and slag dumps, while the matter thereof forms part of the bed, and waters either running or stagnant;

9) Docks and structures which, though floating, are intended by their nature and object to remain at a fixed place on a river, lake, or coast;

10) Contracts for public works, and servitudes and other real rights over immovable property. (Article 415, Ibid.)

2. Movables


The following things are deemed to be personal property:

1) Those movables susceptible of appropriation which are not included in the preceding article;

2) Real property which by any special provision of law is considered as personal property;

3) Forces of nature which are brought under control by science; and

4) In general, all things which can be transported from place to place without impairment of the real property to which they are fixed.(Article 416, Ibid.)

The following are also considered as personal property:

1) Obligations and actions which have for their object movables or demandable sums; and

2) Shares of stock of agricultural, commercial and industrial entities, although they may have real estate. (Article 417, Ibid.)

Whenever the word “muebles,” or “furniture,” is used alone, it shall not be deemed to include money, credits, commercial securities, stocks and bonds, jewelry, scientific or artistic collections, books, medals, arms, clothing, horses or carriages and their accessories, grains, liquids and merchandise, or other things which do not have as their principal object the furnishing or ornamenting of a building, except where from the context of the law, or the individual declaration, the contrary clearly appears. (Paragraph 2, Article 426, Ibid.)


1) Consumable

2) Non-consumable

Movable property is either consumable or nonconsumable. To the first class belong those movables which cannot be used in a manner appropriate to their nature without their being consumed; to the second class belong all the others. (Article 418, Ibid.)

3. Public or Private Added


Property is either of public dominion or of private ownership. (Article 419, Ibid.)

Land, which is an immovable property, may be classified as either of public dominion or of private ownership. Land is considered of public dominion if it either: (a) is intended for public use; or (b) belongs to the State, without being for public use, and is intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth. Land belonging to the State that is not of such character, or although of such character but no longer intended for public use or for public service forms part of the patrimonial property of the State. Land that is other than part of the patrimonial property of the State, provinces, cities and municipalities is of private ownership if it belongs to a private individual. (Heirs of Malabanan v. Republic, En Banc, G.R. No. 179987, 03 September 2013)

Pursuant to the Regalian Doctrine (Jura Regalia), a legal concept first introduced into the country from the West by Spain through the Laws of the Indies and the Royal Cedulas, all lands of the public domain belong to the State. This means that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land, and is charged with the conservation of such patrimony. (Heirs of Malabanan v. Republic, En Banc, G.R. No. 179987, 03 September 2013)

All lands not appearing to be clearly under private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. Also, public lands remain part of the inalienable land of the public domain unless the State is shown to have reclassified or alienated them to private persons. (Heirs of Malabanan v. Republic, En Banc, G.R. No. 179987, 03 September 2013)

1) Public property / Public dominion

The following things are property of public dominion:

1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State, banks, shores, roadsteads, and others of similar character;

2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth. (Article 420, Ibid.)

2) Private property / patrimonial property

All other property of the State, which is not of the character stated in the preceding article, is patrimonial property.(Article 421, Ibid.)

a) State / LGUs

Property of public dominion, when no longer intended for public use or for public service, shall form part of the patrimonial property of the State.(Article 422, Ibid.)

The property of provinces, cities, and municipalities is divided into property for public use and patrimonial property.(Article 423, Ibid.)

Property for public use, in the provinces, cities, and municipalities, consist of the provincial roads, city streets, municipal streets, the squares, fountains, public waters, promenades, and public works for public service paid for by said provinces, cities, or municipalities.(Article 424, Ibid.)

All other property possessed by any of them is patrimonial and shall be governed by this Code, without prejudice to the provisions of special laws.(Paragraph 2, Article 424, Ibid.)

b) Private persons

Property of private ownership, besides the patrimonial property of the State, provinces, cities, and municipalities, consists of all property belonging to private persons, either individually or collectively.(Article 425, Ibid.)

Next B. Ownership
Table of Contents