Atimonan is a rural municipality, the gateway to eastern Quezon.
The municipality has a population of about 63,000 as of 2015.
Atimonan serves as the gateway to eastern Quezon, which is very rural, and has a rainier climate. The town center is along the coast, at the mouth of a river, and the municipality relies on fishing and agriculture. Further inland, the terrain is mountainous, and forested, though many have gave way to coconut plantations.
Its people are called Atimonains, and are mostly Tagalog speakers. The local Tagalog dialect has some peculiarities that may puzzle those used to hear standard Tagalog.
Atimonan's name is somewhat shrouded by legends. One legend have the town named after a "Ate Monang", a daughter of a local town chief, while others say it is from Tagalog atin muna, an expression of the sentiment the locals have to their enemies, especially onto the Muslim pirates, or atimon, an extinct species of tree.
The town dates back to 1608. Old Atimonan is established on the mouth of a river, but due to the constant threat from pirates, it has relocated multiple times. It also faced challenges from some residents who decided to move into where the municipality of Padre Burgos is now.
By car and by bus, one travels the beaten-path Manila South Road or Maharlika Highway (Route 1/AH26) which leads to Bicol. Atimonan is about 200 km (120 mi) from Manila, and 40 km (25 mi) from Lucena.
There are two possible routes through the southern Sierra Madre mountain range that separate Atimonan from western Quezon. The shortest is a winding highway through the middle of the Quezon National Park, the Old Zigzag Road, which is open only to cars. There is also a longer route, the New Diversion Road, that carries the Route 1/AH26 designation through another winding alignment a few kilometers to the north of Old Zigzag Road and is used by buses and heavy trucks. If you drive, you'll usually go through the Old Zigzag Road for the scenic but hazardous route, but if you take a bus, you'll be traveling on the Diversion Road. Both routes are however, dangerous, especially at night or during rainstorms.
There is a pier which serves boats to and from the island of Alabat off the Pacific coast.
The town proper is walkable, but you can also catch a tricycle. From downtown to the national park, you generally need a car, as buses cannot take the zigzag road and tricycles cannot travel there either.
Atimonan has a small town center with a Spanish-era church, but nothing much. Most of the municipality's sights are related to nature.
- Our Lady of the Angels Parish (Atimonan Church). It was first built in 1643, but is repeatedly destroyed by a fire and an earthquake. The present church is built anywhere in 1687 and 1700. The church's ceiling and interior dome have paintings of archangels, the Virgin Mary, and symbols of heavenly authority.
- Quezon Protected Landscape (Entrance along the Old Zigzag Road on the Pagbilao side.). It is a protected landscape on the southern end of the mighty Sierra Madre range, which straddles the boundary with Pagbilao. It is founded in 1934 as a national park until it was elevated into a protected area in 2003. It covers 938 hectares (2,320 acres) of tropical rainforests, home to endemic species of birds, reptiles, mammals, and trees. Inside the park is Mount Pinagbanderahan, where a Philippine revolutionary flag was raised, and is reachable through a hour of hiking. There are also caves and waterfalls within the park, and some campsites.
- Tagultol Festival — Atimonan town's major fiesta, it is held every August 1 and 2, and is a feast of the town's patron, Our Lady of the Angels. The festival's main attraction is the Karakol, a fluvial parade held at the bay. The festivities end at the old church at downtown.
- Bay View Hotel.
|Routes through Tayabas|
|Daet/Naga via ← Gumaca ←||E W||→ junction → → Pagbilao → Lucena/Manila|