Resource-poor farmers in the Philippines have limited options for sustaining their livelihood, therefore it is important for them to practise and/or develop sustainable farming systems. But often in sustainability evaluations the perceptions of local stakeholders are not considered, although they are the ones who will apply sustainable technologies – or not apply them! This paper reports a study in Leyte, Philippines, where farmers, as well as stakeholders active in extension advice, on five study sites were asked to identify and rank criteria that could be used for comparison of different farming systems. Criteria were organised under the Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Framework, with its five capital assets: financial, physical, natural, human and social. When stakeholders ranked the identified list of criteria later individually, statistical differences between farmers and other stakeholders as well as between regions were found with regard to single criteria, but not with regard to the importance of the five different capital assets. Furthermore, farmers' individual ranking differed from the ranking by the group during focus group discussions. These findings indicate that the perceptions of farmers and other stakeholders regarding sustainability of farming systems are similar when looking at the whole picture, but differences regarding single issues can be wider. This underlines the importance of including several local stakeholders to identify suitable criteria. The concept of sustainable rural livelihoods seemed to correspond with stakeholders', especially farmers', perception of sustainability and worked well for identifying criteria covering all aspects of sustainability, including social and human aspects.