Central Luzon: Rice Bowl of the Philippines
The central section of Luzon is so far the largest region of the Philippines and this where most of the rice products come. This is the reason this region is known as the Rice Bowl of the Philippines. Central Luzon consist of seven provinces namely Bulacan Province, Pampanga Province, Bataan, Aurora Province, Ambles, Tala, and Nueva Ecija.
Central Luzon has a total of twelve cities namely – Malolos and San Jose del Monte from Bulacan; San Fernando and Angeles City from Pampanga; Balanga from Bataan; Olongapo from Ambles; Tala from Tala; and San Jose, Palayan, Muñoz, Gapan and Cabanatuan from Nueva Ecija.
The regional center is situated in San Fernando city, Pampanga. Aurora was part of region IV before, but is now transferred in Central Luzon by executive order 103.
Climate is of course the same as with other places in the Philippines. Its rainy season usually starts July to October while dry season usually starts at November to May.
Almost half of its land area is agricultural plain. In fact, 41% of its land area is agricultural and rice is their major crop. 23% of its land area is forest land.
Central Luzon is rich in mineral resources as well as timber resources. You can find both non-metallic and metallic resources in the region. For one Bulacan and Ambles is rich with marble while Bataan is famous for its copper deposits and gold. Ambles and Bataan is blessed with long stretch of coastline which is rich with marine resources. This region is the country’s third largest producer of aqua culture.
Bulacan province is located north of Manila and is part of Central Luzon Region. To date, Bulacan is one of the most progressive provinces in the country, known as the Northern Gateway from Manila which makes it an ideal investment destination. Bulacan takes pride of its rich historical heritage and it is also home of the country’s greatest artists and even heroes. It is becoming one of the leading tourist destinations in the Philippines today. It is home to lots of hotels, restaurants and resorts.
Pampanga is another province situated in the central part of Luzon. It is blessed with man-made as well as natural scenery and it is famous as the Culinary Center of the Philippines. Angeles City situated in the Pampanga province is renowned because of its entertainment district, the abundance of hotels, resorts and International restaurants as well as Clark Airport and Freeport Zone. Many expats have chosen this popular place for livng and retiring there.
When you hear Bataan, it hits its mark in every Filipino’s heart since Bataan is a symbol of freedom and democracy. Bataan province is located in the southwestern section of Central Luzon and is bound in the north by the province of Ambles, west by South China Sea, northeast by Pampanga and east by Manila Bay.
Ambles is situated in the western shores of Luzon. The place features plenty of inlets and coves. This province is a part of the Central Luzon region. The province is popular for its Mangoes which are plenty in the months of January to April. Its close proximity to Angeles City and Manila make it more convenient for tourists because of the presence of International airports in both places. Travel time to Ambles has been shortened by more than an hour because of the opening of the new road that is the New Tala-Clark- Subic Expressway.
Botolan Resettlement Sites. It is a model resettlement village that is located in Botolan, Ambles. This model village is specifically found in Barangays Taugtug, Loob-bunga and Baquilan. Barangay Baquilan provides a nice hilltop site of the volcano’s crater. The place is now inhabited by families of Aeta who was displaced in their home as a result of the Pinatubo eruption in year 1991.
Fort Paynauen. It is located in Botolan, Ambles. This fortress still stands in the bank of Bancal River in Botolan. This structure was once the most dreadful Spanish garrison in Central Luzon during the Spanish reign in the Philippines.
Other historical attractions you find in Ambles include Camara Ancestral House at Iba, Ambles; and Capones Island Lighthouse at San Antonio, Ambles.
Tala is one of the provinces that composed Central Luzon. The economy of Tala is mainly agricultural. Its major products are sugarcane and rice. Aside from its major crops it also produces coconut, corn, onion, garlic, eggplant, calamansi, mango and banana. Some of their major industries includes Muscovado sugar products of Victoria, Chicharon making and many more.
Capas National Shrine. This Shrine is located at Capas, Tala. This is the first prison camp for those who have survived the Death march after the battle in Bataan. You will find the Cement Cross which was built in honor for those who those who have died in the camp.
Makabulos Republic. It is located at Tala City, Tala. Te Makabulos Republic was established in 1898 by a revolutionary assembly headed by Francisco Makabulos. The body fought for continued struggle against the Spaniards.
Other historical site in Tala includes Central Azucarera de Tala at San Miguel, Tala City.
Man Made Attractions
BamBan Park. This park is located at Bamban, Tala. This park is situated at the hilly part near the national highway in Tala. It is quite visible in the road especially with its grotto of Virgin Mary up in the hill. You will have to climb the hundred steps before you reach the grotto. Visitors come to do mountain trekking or simply visit the grotto.
Central Azucarera de Tala. Tala city boasts of its huge sugar mill – the Central Azucarera de Tala. This certainly boosts the economy of the province. Visitors can have education tours inside.
Hacienda Luisita. This hacienda is owned by the Cojuangco family and it is home to popular Tala Industrial Park where you can find a list of international export companies. It has an 18 hole golf course, hotels, world class restaurants and shopping malls. It also has a Beverly Hill kind of residence and of course a vast sugar plantation.
Other manmade attractions in Tala includes Mt. Pinatubo Wellness Spa at Capas, Tala; Magsaysay Dam at Mayantok Tala. Other manmade attractions found in Neva Ecija and Ambles include Bacala Guesthouse at Ambles; Fort Magsaysay at Palayan City, Neva Ecija; Gross Ostrich Farm at San Leonardo, Neva Ecija; Dinalungan Deer park at Dinalungan, Aurora; Masinloc Boardwalk at Masinloc, Ambles; Masinloc Marine Conservation Project at Masinloc, Ambles. Subic Bay Lighthouse of Subic, Ambles; and Subic Bay Seaport of Ambles.
Central Luzon is blessed with plenty of natural wonders from Caves to Beaches to which they are popular of. Read further to know some of their famous natural wonders.
Aguinaldo Cave. This cave is located at San Miguel Bulacan. Aguinaldo Cave is where the late hero Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo took shelter while leading the rebellion against the Spaniards.
Alwasan Lanum Cave. This cave is located at Sta. Cruz, Ambles. This cave has a mini waterfall flowing from a two feet opening. The water plunges down in a pool that is about twelve feet deep with an area of twenty square meters. The water is teeming with various marine lives like shrimps, various small fish and eel.
Ambush Cave. This cave is found in Biak-na-Bato National Park at San Miguel, Bulacan. You will find plenty of flora, vines just outside the cave and you will find stone formations inside the cave. This cave is just right even for non-professional cavers.
Other famous caves found in Central Luzon includes Apaan Cave at Sta. Cruz, Ambles; Bahay Paniki Cave at San Miguel, Bulacan; Baloc-Baloc Cave at Sat. Cruz, Ambles; Bayokbok Cave at San Miguel, Bulacan; Bukal Cave at San Miguel, Bulacan; Baras Bakal at Angat, Batan; Cuarto-Cuarto Cave at San Miguel, Bulacan; Hospital Cave at Biak-na-Bato National Park, San Miguel, Bulacan; Lamao Caves at Dingalan, Aurora; Madlum Cave at San Miguel, Bulacan; Pinagrealan Cave at Norzagaray, Bulacan; and Sto. Niño Cave at Candelaria, Ambles.
Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Club. This beach is located at Morong, Bataan. This is a seaside residential resort community developed by Ayala Land Premier. It is a three hundred twenty hectare and is rich with different kinds of marine life
Canawer Beach. This sandy beach is situated in Hagonoy, Bulacan. This beach is frequented with tourist because of its clear and clean water. It also has plenty of colorful corals and its water is rich in marine life.
Dicasalarin Beach. The beach is located in San Luis, Aurora. It takes pride of its kilometer long white sand beach. You can do a lot of outdoor activities since it is bound in the left with a steep hill and a peninsula and cave in the right side. One can do various recreational activities.
Other beaches you find in Central Luzon includes Ampere Beach at Dipaculao, Aurora; Aroma Beach at Hagonoy, Bulacan; Borlongan Beach at Dipaculao, Aurora; Cemento Beach and Reef at Baler, Aurora; Charlie’s Point at Baler, Aurora; Digisit Beach at Baler, Aurora; Casiguran Sound at Casiguran, Aurora; Dingalan White Beach at Dingalan, Aurora; Talaga Beach at Mariveles, Bataan; and Tariktik Point at Dilasag, Aurora.
Falls/Springs and Rivers
Anao Quinabutok Creek. This creek found in Anao, Tala is blessed with aquatic life. Tourists and picnickers love to come to this place to swim and fish.
Anawangin Cove. Untouched and pure in beauty, this paradise is hidden at the mountains of San Antonio, Ambles. This is a favorite place for mountaineering groups. It has a marvelous site to behold with the pine trees in the beach instead of the usual palm trees.
Balon Falls. This fall is located in Subic, Ambles. Its Clearwater and huge boulders is just too tempting. The fall offers a cool and peaceful retreat for those who love nature.
Other nice falls and springs found in Central Luzon are Aniao Islet at Baler, Aurora; Balon Anito at Mariveles, Bataan; Banjo Springs at San Luis, Aurora; Binbin Falls at Carrangalan, Neva Ecija; Bucao River at Botolan, Ambles; Bueno Hot Spring at Capas, Tala; Bulawan Falls at Dinalungan, Aurora; Burburayok Spring at Rizal, Neva Ecija; Calanga Reef at Oba, Ambles; Dunsulan Falls at Pilar, Bataan; Cunayan Falls at San Luis, Aurora; Ditumabo Falls at San Luis, Aurora; and Dolores Spring Well at Tala City, Tala.
Biak-na-Bato Nature Park. This park is situated about twelve kilometers from the town of San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan. It offers a one of a kind eco-adventure.
Minalungao National Park and Cave. This park is located at Gen. Tinio, Neva Ecija. Its cave is situated at the foot of Minalungao Hill and its rock formation is mainly consists of calcites. You can find various plant species like vines, shrubs, cogon and other unidentified species of grass. Various animal species you can find outside the caves like squirrel, monkey, wild pig and birds.
Baranda Farm. This place is a refreshing atmosphere of a resort among the green vegetation and cool cascading waters. Perfect place for those who are nature lover.
CotoMines Mountains Resort. This resort is situated in Masinloc, Ambles nestled within the beautiful mountainous terrain. Its mountain forest is rich with various kinds of trees and flowering plants. Its natural home to butterflies and birds and definitely a hunting ground for wild animals like boars, eels and deer.
Sitio Palakol Resort. This resort is situated in the northeastern section of Florida Blanca that is about eight kilometers from the town proper in Pampanga. This place is often referred as the summer place to the local community because it is blessed with continuous flow of crystal clear water that does not dry up even during summer or hot season.
Mt. Pinatubo. It is an active volcano situated in Botolan, Ambles. The volcano’s eruption in June 1991 is one of the most violent eruptions recorded in the 20th century.
Mt. Arayat. This mountain is found in Arayat, Pampanga and it rises at three thousand three hundred feet above sea level. This mountain boasts of wildlife sanctuary and green vegetation. At the foot of the mountain visitors can experience the cool mountain spring.
Mt. Anacuao. Tourist from all over the world comes to this mountain especially during summer months to experience exciting bird watching safari and mountain climbing. There are about ten rare species of bird that is found in this mountain.
Other mountains worth to check out in Central Luzon includes Mt. Lumot at Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan; Mt.Mabanban at San Antonio, Zambales; Mt. Malasimbo at Dinalupihan, Bataan; Mt. Natib at Orani, Bataan; Mt. Olivette at Bongabon, Nueva Ecija; Mt. Tapulao at Palauig, Zambales