Two beautiful provinces with rich potentials abound in South of Manila. They are rich in agriculture because of its rich farmland soil and its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. And both provinces are named from two well-known political figures.
Quezon and Aurora are provinces under the CALABARZON Region of Luzon. Quezon was named from former first President of the Philippine Commonwealth, Manuel Quezon while Aurora was named from President Quezon’s wife, Ma. Aurora Aragon.
In 1951, Aurora became a part of the province of Quezon. But in 1979, it was separated from Quezon as an independent province.
Quezon is the 8th largest province in the Philippines having an area of 892,601 hectares or 8,926.01 km².
Quezon is a major agricultural province. It is a leading producer of coconut products such as coconut oil and copra. A large part of the province is covered in coconut plantations. Other major crops are rice, corn, banana, and coffee. Fishing is also a large part of the province’s economy.
Fishing is also a large part of province’s economy, with its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The municipality of Atimonan and Gumaca has a seaport and its shoreline along Maharlika Highway is a must-see for tourist traversing the Quezon Province by car in going to Bicol.
“The shorelines is what I’m expecting everytime I will go to my birthplace in Naga City,” recalls Raph Torralba, an RACuervo staff. “Quezon has lots of coconut trees and beautiful natural forests. I also visited Alabat Island, a rich-fishing ground, and fell I love with its beauty too.”
Quezon plays a vital role as a new axis of growth in the fast-developing economy in Southern Tagalog. It is rapidly evolving into an agri-industrial economy and will also experience the planning and constructing of economic zones. Facilities for telecommunications, engineering products, ship building and repair, power generation, and transportation will be the major players in this economic zone
The building of alternative internationals seaports in the municipalities of Infanta-Real and Pagbilao will drive investors to open their business in Quezon. The growth of Lucena City into Metro Lucena has also contributed to the economic growth.
The LGU of Quezon hopes that investors will invest in resource-based industries such as agro-industry, food processing, fishery and aquaculture, and tourism such as hotels, resorts, theme parks, etc.
Aurora, like Quezon, is a thriving agricultural province with corn, crops, banana, fishing, and other agricultural products as its principal products.
The province is rich in mineral resources; copper, iron, chromites, manganese, gold, and nickel are abundant. There are also rich deposits of non- metallic minerals like guano, black sand, cement, marble, carbon, and silica. The province is also rich in other resources like sabutan, coconut, nipa, bamboo, gravel, sand, wood, rattan, shell, buri, and nito. The resources are largely untapped due to lack of investment.
Aurora has many natural tourist attractions. Its waterfalls, beaches, lush green mountains, deep-blue ocean are stunning. So are the country pastures and farmlands. Much of the resources remains undeveloped and can be considered important for growth. In this light, tourism can be considered a potentially important growth industry.
Aurora is a showcase of nature in its virginal beauty, but one that is also marked by a ferocious temper. This is the reason that there is an ambivalent feeling whether to further enhance the access to the province to provide for its development. More contact however will result in the degradation of its pristine condition. To further limit the access from the outside will somehow ensure that all that is being lost elsewhere in the country will remain for a longer time to be enjoyed by generations to come in Aurora. This is a Gordian knot that needs to be unraveled.
Casiguran is home to the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority or APECO a special economic zone located in this coastal town. Created in 2007 by virtue of Republic Act No. 9490 thru the efforts of Sen. Edgardo Angara and Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, it is expected be a major transshipment hub going to the pacific region. It aims to boost social, economic and industrial developments in Aurora and nearby provinces by generating jobs for the people, improving the quality of their living conditions, advocating an eco-friendly approach to industrialization and enhancing the potential of the community in productivity.
Aurora and Quezon are part of Super Regions in the Philippines under the Metro Luzon Urban Beltway category. Aurora is also categorized in North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle.
The Super Regions of the Philippines are an informal grouping of parts of regions and provinces of the Philippines based on their economic strengths. According to Executive Order No. 561, which establishes these regions, “These groupings neither supersede current political boundaries nor alter the regional development councils as established by existing laws and issuances.”
The Tourism Super Region is a concept of development plan of the government. Under this concept, the government intends to focus development and investments on tourism related projects. This Super Region is actually a cluster of five regions plus some parts of the Caraga Region. It boasts of a wide stretch of beachline, surfing spots, caves, lakes, and historical sites.
Included in the plan is building the infrastructures such as airports, roll-on-roll-off seaports, bus terminals and hotels. Aside from Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the government intends to build international airport in each component region.
Already, the Panglao International Airport in Bohol in Central Visayas has begun development, the new Legazpi International Airport in Daraga,Albay for the Bicol Region is in its initial phase while the unutilized Guiuan Airport in Guiuan, Eastern Samar is being planned to be converted into an international airport for Eastern Visayas region. Kalibo Airport, which is still a categorized as a domestic airport, is now open to international flights from Incheon, South Korea due to increasing Korean tourists flocking to Boracay Island. The new Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo, is designated as international airport for Western Visayas region in tandem with Kalibo Airport. Unlike Kalibo Airport, the Iloilo airport does not have international flights so far.
It is very important to have a road system that will connect the nation’s capital to Quezon and Aurora, according to Mr. Ramon C.F. Cuervo III.
“This will be a great use for farm-to-market roads, relocation sites, new township developments, poverty alleviation, tourism, and most importantly, it will be a catalyst for growth, development, and prosperity in Quezon – Aurora corridor,” Mr. Cuervo, a Real Estate Professional, said.
The Marikina – Infanta Highway, also known as Marcos Highway or MARILAQUE Highway is a scenic mountain 44-kilometer highway that connects Metro Manila with Infanta, Quezon in the Philippines. MARILAQUE stands for Manila-Rizal-Laguna-Quezon.
The highway starts in Marikina City near Katipunan Avenue, the Loyola Heights segment of Circumferential Road 5, in Quezon City. It traverses the Marikina Valley and passes through Antipolo City, where it intersects the Sumulong Highway (at Masinag). After Masinag, the road starts its ascent towards the Sierra Madre, passing through Tanay, Rizal, finally to Infanta, Quezon.
“The most interesting thing about MARILAQUE Highway is that it is one of the most scenic routes in the Philippines like the Pan-Philippine Highway in Southern Luzon. This highway can be a catalyst for tourism growth in Quezon and Rizal,” says Mr. Cuervo.
Mr. Cuervo also implied the importance of the roads linking Atimonan to Lucena City because of the growth and development of Quezon’s capital into Metro Lucena. Lucena City and Atimonan are linked by a safe 45-minute drive thru Daang Maharlika either through the historic Zigzag Road or Diversion Road.
“Zigzag Road has very sharp curves and it sometimes gives me creeps. But what I love most about this road is that I’m able to see the natural beauty of Quezon National Park, a beautiful place for photography.” Mr. Torralba, who is an avid lensman, said.