Central Luzon

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Region III
Rehiyon III Gitnang Luzon.jpg
Regional Center City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Population 8,204,742
– Density 382.1 per km²
Area 21,470.30 km²
Provinces 7
Cities 12
Municipalities 118
Barangays 3,102
Cong. Districts 20
Languages Kapampangan, Tagalog, Ilokano, , Sambal, others

Central Luzon region contains the largest plain of the Philippines and produces most of the country's rice supply. That is why it is called the Rice Bowl of the Philippines. Its provinces are: Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.

There are twelve cities which include: Balanga from Bataan; Cabanatuan, Gapan, Muñoz, Palayan and San Jose from Nueva Ecija; Olongapo from Zambales; Angeles and San Fernando from Pampanga; San Jose del Monte and Malolos from Bulacan; and Tarlac from Tarlac.

The City of San Fernando, in Pampanga, is the regional center. Aurora was transferred from Region IV by Executive Order No. 103.



The Philippine Republic's Province of Aurora is as small and thinly populated as Quezon is large and populous. It is located just north of Quezon on the east coast of Luzon, known to the Spanish as the "contra costa." Its population is 173,000 in eight towns. Aurora is named for Aurora Quezon, the wife of President Manuel Quezon of the Commonwealth of the Philippines; both were born in the capital town of Baler, now apparently renamed Naval. The Catholic church of the town was defended by four Spanish officers and fifty men for nearly a year, June 1898 to June 1899, and was the last Spanish outpost in the Philippines to surrender. The Filipinos admire this heroic defense, and have set up a monument to it. Aurora became a sub-province of Quezon in 1951, and a full province in 1979, so the image above is very likely obsolete. Aurora is heavily forested, and the cleared land is used mostly for farming; there seems to be no industry. The province is exposed to Pacific typhoons, and is hit by an average of four per year, some of devastating severity. On the other hand it is a fine place for surfing, as well as scuba-diving and snorkeling, though local support services are not readily found. It also has dramatic scenery on the side of the mountains. The principal products are copra, rice, banana, coffee, pepper, and citrus, plus various wood products and fish. There is some cottage weaving, and the provincial government is trying to develop food-processing and wood-processing industry.

Bulacan has a mixed economy, agricultural and industrial. The principal crops are rice, sugar cane, maize, melons, vegetables, and bamboo. Industries include food processing, leather tanning, textiles, shoemaking, ceramics, chemicals, metals and machinery production. Handicrafts are also practiced, and there is much fishing, both fresh-water and salt-water.

The early inhabitants apparently came in several waves from Java. They still speak a distinct language. Before the Spanish arrived the Kampampangans practiced irrigation, grew rice and sugar cane and fruit trees and fiber and ornamental plants and spices, wove useful and attractive fabrics, smelted metals and made tools and jewelry, wrote their language with a syllabary, and had a written code of laws. Farming and fishing are the main economic activities; Pampanga still grows rice and sugar cane, also maize, fruits, vegetables, melons, and root crops. The Pampanga River and commercial fishponds yield carp, crabs, and shrimp. Pampanga Agricultural College is located in Magalang. Woodcarving, furniture-making, lantern-making, ceramics, and other crafts are also widely practiced. The oldest vocational school in the Far East is in Bacolor. Clark Air Base and two other American military bases were located in Pampanga, and their structures still stand, now constituting a special economic zone. During World War II the Japanese had a kamikaze base in Pampanga, and there are memorials to the kamikaze pilots.

Continuing through Region III on the basis of least populous province to most populous brings us to Tarlac, population 1,045,000 by the 2000 census on 3,053 sq.km. divided into seventeen towns, of which Tarlac is the capital. There are no cities. The province is landlocked and mostly agricultural. The easternmost soil zone is the biggest, well-drained soil that grows rice, sugar cane, maize, tobacco, and some minor crops and livestock. To the west this soil gives way to clay, challenging for agriculture but useful for ceramics and bricks. Westernmost is the Zambales range, forested, yielding some woods (which get turned into furniture and wooden clogs) and home to some more of the Aeta. Tarlac contains the place of internment for the survivors of the Bataan Death March, and a large monument salutes their sacrifice.

North up the west coast of Luzon from Bataan is the province of Zambales, which, with 623,000 by the 2000 census, is the second least populous, but at 3,714 sq.km. it is about three times as big as Bataan. 194,000 of these live in the city of Olongapo; the rest are divided among thirteen towns. Iba is the capital. Like Bataan, Zambales is overwhelmingly agricultural. Its principal products are maize, rice, sugar cane, vegetables, poultry, and swine. The inhabitants also practice various handicrafts for sale. There are also three large mining operations, concentrating on chromite, though Zambales also has reserves of gold, iron, nickel, and other resources. Zambales is very diverse ethnically, having surviving populations of Aetas, apparently the earliest inhabitants, who still practice their hunter-gatherer life without fixed abode in the mountains, and Sambalis, for whom the province was named. It is also the location of Subic Bay, where the Spanish in 1895 built a navy base that passed to the United States a few years later. It was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, and a Philippine Free Port was then built on the bay. Zambales is also working to develop its tourist potential; there is a marine life sanctuary offshore at San Salvador Island, and a variety of ecosystems inland, including the area recovering from Mount Pinatubo's eruption, plus many miles of varied shoreline.

Political Divisions

Province/City Capital Population
Pop. density
(per km²)
Ph seal aurora.png Aurora Baler 173,797 3,239.5 53.6
Ph seal bataan.png Bataan Balanga City 557,659 1,202.7 463.67
Ph seal bulacan.png Bulacan Malolos City 2,234,088 2,625.0 851.1
Ph seal nueva ecija.png Nueva Ecija Palayan City 1,659,883 5,284.3 314.1
Ph seal of pampanga.PNG Pampanga City of San Fernando 1,882,730 2,118.74 888.6
Ph seal tarlac.png Tarlac Tarlac City 1,068,783 3,053.4 350.0
Ph seal zambales.png Zambales Iba 433,538 3,714.4 116.7
Ph seal pampanga angeles city.jpg Angeles City 263,971 62.16 4,246.6
n.a. Olongapo City 194,260 170.30 1141

¹ Angeles City and Olongapo City are highly urbanized cities; figures are excluded from Pampanga and Zambales respectively.


See also

External links

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ilo:Tengnga a Luzon
pam:Kalibudtarang Luzon
pl:Central Luzon
war:Butnga nga Luzon
tl:Gitnang Luzon

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