The Provincial Profile of Quezon

 

Quezon

Quezon is the farthest eastern province of the Southern Tagalog region and is a long narrow land oriented along a northwest to southeast axis. The Pacific Ocean and Lamon Bay form the northeastern coast, while Tayabas Bay and Ragay Gulf form the southern and southeastern shore. Bondoc Peninsula juts out and separates the sprawling Tayabas Bay from the narrow Ragay Gulf. Aurora province lies to the north. Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Batangas line the long western frontier. Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur seal the province's eastern boundary. The Polillo Group of islands and Alabat Island belong to the province. The land is generally rugged and mountainous, except for the coastal plain around Tayabas Bay. The province experiences heavy rainfall from October to January but does not have a pronounced dry season.

 

History

Juan de Salcedo explored the general vicinity of Quezon in 1571 on his way to Paracale in Camarines Norte. In 1572, Salcedo visited Infanta. The province of Quezon was originally named Calilaya when it was established by the Spaniards in 1591.

The province bore the full brunt of the attacks of Moro raiders during much of the Spanish period. The capital town was sacked and burned in 1602 by forces under Rajah Buisan, forcing the Spaniards to relocate and build their capital at Tayabas, several kilometers inland and possessed of a good vantage from which to view attackers from the sea. The incursions forced coastal towns like Gumaca and Lucena to build watch towers for to warn residents of impending attack.

In 1840, the Cofradia de San Jose, a lay brotherhood of Filipinos led by Apolinario de la Cruz, resisted Spanish attempts at suppression. The revolt quickly spread among the many towns fringing Mount Banahaw, including Tayabas, Sariaya and Lucban. In 1841, Hermano Pule, as de la Cruz was popularly known, led his followers in a valiant, but futile last stand against Spanish forces. Though the revolt was suppressed, the beliefs instituted by Hermano Pule live on among the many cults and mystical organizations living in Banahaw.

When the Americans established civil government on March 12, 1902, Lucena was designated the new capital. The province of Tayabas also received territory from Laguna, Nueva Ecija and Mindoro. The District of La Infanta was taken from Laguna and the district of El Principe was taken out of Nueva Ecija and fused to Tayabas on June 12, 1902. Marinduque was annexed to Tayabas on November 10, 1902. On September 7, 1946, Tayabas was renamed Quezon Province.

 

People, Culture and the Arts

Quezon is coconut country. The ubiquitous coconut palm sways in the winds of every town in the province, and is the its top agricultural product. The people of Quezon have fashioned a uniquely rich culture around this bounty. Aside from extracting oil from the flesh of the coconut, the Tagalogs have also produced lambanog and tuba liquors. These are manufactured in small stills and consumed throughout the region. Pinangat, a vegetable dish made from gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk is a local delicacy. Tiaong is the first town in Quezon one encounters along the main highway. The Villa Escudero resort lies along the road and is a reminder of how the coconut has propelled the development of Quezon. Villa Escudero is a large coconut plantation that has been transformed to cater to tourists. It is a sprawling complex set amidst hectares upon hectares of coconut palms. The resort also features a collection of fine colonial era antiques and a small church.

The popularity of the Pahiyas festival is a mirror of the strong agrarian roots of many Quezon residents. Each year, on May 15th the towns of Lucban, Tayabas, Gumaca and Sariaya as well as small barangays of other towns pay homage to San Isidro, patron of farmers. Lucban holds the most colorful observance. On the appointed day, the homes of the townsfolk are decked with the best "jewels" of the harvest. Brightly colored leaf like ornaments made of rice flour as well as fruits, vegetables and all manner of crops and produce are used to decorate the exterior of houses along the processional route. Giant dolls of papier maché, depicting a farmer and his wife form part of the procession and are symbols of the towering importance agriculture plays in the lives of the people.

Quezon shares Mount Banahaw, with the province of Laguna. This 2,177 meter dormant volcano is an important point for mystics and several religious groups and is the site of many unique observances that are a blend of both indigenous and Catholic beliefs and rituals. These groups interpret the importance of the mountain differently but agree that the mountain is a powerful source of mystic energy.

Barangay Kinabuhayan in Dolores is the site where religious sects believe Christ spent his Calvary. Thousands of pilgrims come to this area to fulfill their religious vows or be healed of their sickness. What can be found here are the rocks where they believe Christ was to have been tied (Pinagapusan), His "footprint" embedded on a rock, and a cold and damp rock at the entrance of a cave, which is said to have curing power.

Ina Ng Awa (Mother of Mercy) in Sta. Lucia is also revered as a pilgrimage spot. Caves in this area have been given Biblical names and sometimes serve as altars for the sects. The Santong Husgado cave, can purportedly test the purity of the soul of those who enter. Those possessing a pure heart can easily pass through while the evil will get pinned by the rocks inside the cave, thus preventing the completion of the test.

During Holy Week, thousands of pilgrims scale the heights of Mount Banahaw on a ritual commemoration of the agony of Christ and as a pledge of faith for heavenly favors. Pilgrims believe that undergoing the pilgrimage is a means to gain absolution for sins.

 

Trade and Investments

Quezon province plays a vital role as a new axis of growth in the fast developing economy of Southern Tagalog. The province is well-endowed with productive agricultural land, that allows the province to lead in coconut production, as well as producing crops like rice, corn, rootcrops, bananas, mangoes and vegetables. The seas surrounding the province are rich fishing grounds and teem with shrimp, crab, grouper, tilapia, milkfish and squid. There are rich deposits of limestone in the mountains of Pagbilao, Atimonan and Tayabas and current explorations are focused on possible oil reserves under Ragay Gulf and Tayabas Bay. The province has a labor force of 900,000 that meet the needs of a rapidly evolving agri-industrial economy.

The Manila South Road currently provides the main roadlink between Quezon and Metro Manila and passes through the province from the boundary with Laguna up to the boundary with Camarines. The Manila East Road connects the towns of Real and Infanta with Manila via Rizal and Laguna. Lucena City's international port facilitates the transport of passengers and cargo from various points of the archipelago and the world while 42 municipal ports serve to link the coastal communities. The province is home to two large power plants with an aggregate power generation capacity of over 1100 megawatts that provide power to the Luzon grid. State-of-the-art fiber optic lines provide excellent communications facilities to Quezon. There are 51 banking institutions offering a full range of financial services.

The province of Quezon is anchoring its development around two proposed economic zones that will allow it to participate in the rapid industrialization of the region. The building of alternative international ports in Infanta-Real and Pagbilao are expected to draw industries and businesses to locate near these points along the Quezon coast. Providing services and facilities to these growth areas is a major focus of provincial efforts to attract investors. Telecommunications, power generation, transportation facilities as well as engineering products and shipbuilding and repair facilities are among the top priority investments for these zones. The province hopes to encourage investments in resource-based industries, such as agro-industries, food processing, fishery and aquaculture as well as tree farming that will make use of the province's rich resource potentials. The province also encourages investments in tourism such as resort and theme park development, hotels, restaurants and convention centers, additional tourism services and support facilities.

 

Region

Southern Tagalog

Province

Quezon

Governor

Wilfrido L. Enverga

Capital

Lucena City

Income/Financial Resources (1999)

P622.9 M

Income classification (1996)

1st

Expenditure (1998)

P512.2 M

Population (2000 projection)

1,698,146

Voting Population (1994)

743,970

Labor Force (1998)

692,000

Land area

8,817 sq. kms.

Major dialects/languages

Tagalog

No. of Barangays

1,242

City/ies

LUCENA

Municipalities

(40) Agdangan, Alabat, Atimonan, Buenavista, Burdeos, Calauag, Candelaria, Catanauan, Dolores, Gen, Luna, Gen. Nakar, Guinayangan, Gumaca, Infanta, Jomalig, Lopez, Lucban, Macalelon, Mauban, Mulanay, Padre Burgos, Pagbilao, Panukulan, Patnanungan, Perez, Pitogo, Plaridel, Polillo, Quezon, Real, Sampaloc, San Andres, San Antonio, San Francisco (Aurora), San Narciso, Sariaya, Tagkawayan, Tayabas, Tiaong, Unisan

Infrastructure facilities

Hospitals (1996): 40, Coll./Univ. (1995): 18

Bgy. health stations (1996): 216

 

 

 

Major products

Palay, coconut, corn, banana, vegetables, rootcrops, poultry, livestock

Natural resources

Copper, manganese, coal, limestone, quicklime, silica, sand, white clay, timber, fishing grounds, inland waterways

Indigenous people

 

 

Development Initiative Highlights:

  • To supply the agricultural needs of the industries in the CALABARZON region
  • To develop Quezon ports into alternate access points into the region and growth areas for industries
  • To make the province the major supplier of energy needed by Luzon
  • To make the province a major tourist destination
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