Central Luzon


Strategically located at the central part of Luzon, Region III lies between Manila and Northern                                                          Luzon. It is composed of six provinces: Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales. It includes all land area north of Manila Bay from the tip of Bataan peninsula on the west, and all the lands north of the Caraballo mountains on the east. It is the longest contiguous area of lowlands, and is otherwise known as the Central Plains of Luzon. The region produces one third of the country’s total rice production, thus is also called the Rice Granary of the Philippines.

Located adjacent to the National Capital Region (NCR), it has benefited from the “spillover” from Metro Manila. It is a part of
the National Industrial Core Region, together with NCR and Region IV or the Southern Tagalog Region. The Core Region contributed 70% of manufacturing value added in 1988. It has emerged as an alternative area for investment to Region IV, but is still overcoming the effects of the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991.

In 2000, the region’s population totaled 7,797,000 in a total land area of 18,230.8 sq.kms. In 1990, the male population outnumbered that of the female population, at 50.38% and 49.6% respectively.

The region has the highest urban population ratio (60.3%) to total population.

There are three areas of urban population concentration: (a) areas in Bulacan along highways                                                    leading from Metro Manila; (b) San Fernando-Angeles City-Mabalacat corridor area; (c) Subic - Dinalupihan area. The total urban population in these areas is over 2 million, over half of the total urban population in Central Luzon.

Human resources in the region are better prepared in terms of a higher participation rate at the primary and secondary levels of education. The participation rate of Central Luzon is 94.2% and 86.1%, respectively, as compared to the national average of 85.7% and 66.1% in SY 1992- 93. There are comparatively more non-government organizations, cooperatives and people’s organizations in the region.

Dry season in the Region is from November to May. Rains normally occurring during the months of July to October. 
41% of its total land area are agricultural plains with rice as the major crop.

It produces one third of the country’s palay followed by corn, banana, fruits and vegetables. Forestland comprises 23% of its land area .

Central Luzon has both timber and mineral resources. Both metallic and non-metallic resources are found in the region. Bataan is known for its copper deposits while refractory chromite, gold and marble may be extracted from Zambales and Bulacan. Fertile rice lands, melon patches and fishponds can be found along rivers and tributaries. It has a long coastline rich with marine resources in western Bataan and Zambales. The region accounts for the third largest aquaculture production in the Philippines.

Region III is an important trading center and transportation terminal for products. Land travel is facilitated by a network of well-paved and extensive highways and roads linking all municipalities within the region. An extensive railway system is planned to be built linking Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga and Manila. The two former U.S. bases, the Clark Air Force Base in Pampanga and Subic Naval Base in Zambales, are now special economic zones. An international airport is to be established in Clark Air Base, while port facilities and a planned international airport in Subic will facilitate trade with other areas in the region such as Hongkong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Central Luzon is well provided with communication facilities. Its provinces have adequate supply of electricity and potable water. Big markets, recreational facilities, educational and financial institutions service the needs of the populace.

The major trading centers in the region are Olongapo in Zambales, Angeles City and San Fernando in Pampanga; Cabanatuan and San Jose in Nueva Ecija; Balanga in Bataan province, Tarlac City, Tarlac and Malolos, Bulacan.