Region 3: Central Luzon

Central Luzon (Region 3) is located north of the Philippine capital, Manila, and is a region of vast cultural diversity, abundant natural resources, and a thriving economy.

It is characterized by its strategic location, bordered by several other regions, including Ilocos, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Cagayan Valley to the north, and the National Capital Region and CALABARZON to the south. To the west, it is bordered by the South China Sea, and to the east, it is bounded by the Philippine Sea.

This article delves into the region’s resources, ethnic groups, economy, and significant provinces, cities, and municipalities.

Also Read: List of Regions in the Philippines

  • Land Area: 219.06 km2 (8458.03 sq mi)
  • Population as of 01 May 2020: 12,422,172
  • Regional Center: City of San Fernando
  • 7 provinces of Region 3: Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.
  • 2 highly urbanized cities: Angeles and Olongapo City
  • Consists of 116 municipalities and 3,102 barangays.

Central Luzon encompasses a land area of 219.06 km2 (8458.03 sq mi). As of the 2020 census, it was home to approximately 12,422,172 people.

The region is divided into seven provinces: Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales. These provinces contribute to the rich cultural diversity and economic activities that shape Central Luzon.

Region 3 Provinces List

ProvincePopulation (2020)Capital
Nueva Ecija2,310,134Palayan
Pampanga2,437,709San Fernando
Tarlac1,503,456Tarlac City

Urban Centers and Regional Center

Central Luzon boasts two highly urbanized cities: Angeles City and Olongapo City.

Region 3 Cities

14 Cities in Central Luzon

The fourteen (14) cities include

  1. Balanga (Bataan)
  2. Malolos (Bulacan)
  3. Meycauayan (Bulacan)
  4. San Jose del Monte (Bulacan)
  5. Cabanatuan (Nueva Ecija)
  6. Gapan (Nueva Ecija)
  7. Muñoz (Nueva Ecija)
  8. Palayan (Nueva Ecija)
  9. San Jose (Nueva Ecija)
  10. Angeles (Pampanga)
  11. Mabalacat (Pampanga)
  12. San Fernando (Pampanga)
  13. Tarlac City (Tarlac)
  14. Olongapo City (Zambales)

Rich Natural Resources

Central Luzon is blessed with diverse natural resources. The region is known for both timber and mineral wealth, encompassing both metallic and non-metallic resources.

Bataan, for instance, is renowned for its copper deposits, while refractory chromite, gold, and marble can be extracted from Zambales and Bulacan. Fertile rice lands, melon patches, and fishponds can be found along rivers and tributaries, ensuring a stable agricultural base.

The region also boasts a long coastline rich with marine resources, especially in western Bataan and Zambales, making it the third-largest aquaculture production area in the Philippines.

Ethnic Diversity

Central Luzon is home to a range of ethnic groups, each contributing to the region’s vibrant cultural tapestry.

Kapampangans, also known as Pampangos, make up a significant portion of the population, numbering around 2,890,000. The province of Pampanga is their traditional homeland.

The Aeta, an indigenous people, live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of Luzon. They are considered Negritos, known for their dark skin, curly hair, and unique physical features.

Tagalogs, who originate from the region, have a rich cultural heritage. While they rarely refer to themselves as “Tagalog” in contemporary times, they have adopted the broader term “Filipino.”

Economic Vitality

Central Luzon plays a pivotal role in the Philippines’ economy. It supplies food for the Manila area and is a major rice and sugarcane-producing region. Additionally, the Bicol Peninsula is renowned for its extensive coconut plantations, while the Cagayan River valley excels in tobacco and corn production. The region’s major crops also include fruits, vegetables, and cacao.

Central Luzon is significant for its lumbering and mining industries, with deposits of gold, chromite, nickel, copper, and iron. Manufacturing is concentrated in the Manila metropolitan area, where major industries produce textiles, chemicals, and metal products. There are also fertilizer plants, oil refineries, cement factories, and wood product plants scattered throughout the region.

Provinces, Cities, and Municipalities

Central Luzon comprises several provinces, each with its unique offerings. The provinces include Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.

Central Luzon, with its wealth of resources, diverse culture, and thriving economy, continues to play a significant role in the Philippines’ development and prosperity. It stands as a testament to the country’s rich history and promising future.

Central Luzon Quickstats

Population (2020)12,422,172
Land Area (2010)219.06 km2 (8458.03 sq mi)
Marine waterbodies
South China Sea, Philippine Sea
Island GroupLuzon