Not very far from the sprawl of Metro Manila, it provides a variety of tourist spots, from heritage towns to luxurious beach resorts. Laguna hosts a number of hot spring resorts as well as mountains and heritages towns. Batangas houses numbers of beach resorts, heritage towns, and the world's smallest volcano, Taal Volcano.
Most of the inhabitants of the region are Tagalogs, but there are significant Visayan, Ilocano, and Bicolano minorities. Most locations in the province showcase the rich Tagalog culture.
Cradle of Tagalog culture, and home to resorts, Spanish-era town centers with heritage churches and houses, and the world's smallest volcano, Taal Volcano.
Most densely populated province, home to sprawling suburban bedroom communities, but filled also with history as one of the provinces that led the Philippine Revolution. Tagaytay, one of its cities, has a cool climate, and is an easy getaway from Metro Manila's noisy and crowded environment.
Economic center, with an expanding economy depending on industry and agriculture. Major destinations are its hot springs in Calamba (Pansol) and Los Baños, Mount Makiling, the Rizal mansion in Calamba, and Pagsanjan Falls.
Gateway to Bicol, also a growing eco-tourism destination
A province east of Metro Manila, with mountainous terrain.
- 1 Antipolo - capital of Rizal. The Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage and Hinulugang Taktak are its primary destinations, as well as overlooking panoramic views of Metro Manila.
- 2 Batangas City - capital of Batangas, a transport hub and major waypoint for travellers between Manila, Mindoro and the Visayas by sea and land travel.
- 3 Calamba - Regional center, home to Jose Rizal's mansion and hot spring resorts
- 4 Santa Rosa - Bedroom community in Laguna, home to Enchanted Kingdom and Nuvali and a major stopover for trips to Tagaytay.
- 5 Tagaytay - Resort city on the mountain ridge south of Metro Manila. Its cool climate and its view of Taal Volcano attracts tourists, providing an easy getaway from the heat, noise, and congestion of Manila.
Beaches and diving spots
- 1 Mabini - A scuba diving and snorkeling destination not far from Manila
- 2 Polillo Island – Unspoiled paradise off the Pacific coast of Quezon
- 3 San Juan
- 4 Western Batangas – Traditional beach destinations of the region, and home of the historic town of Taal.
All the mountains in the region are volcanic in origin, but few are active volcanoes now.
- 5 Mount Banahaw — An extinct volcano, straddling the provinces of Laguna and Quezon. It is the highest mountain in the Calabarzon region (2,170 m a.s.l.), and a sacred monument for the Tagalog people.
- 6 Mount Makiling — An inactive volcano near Los Banos
- 7 Taal Volcano - Batangas's crown jewel, but it is an active volcano. This is mostly visited through package tours from Tagaytay.
This is an overview article; detailed information is in the provincial articles.
The region is historically inhabited by the Tagalog people; the region formed the larger Southern Tagalog region that was soon split into this region and Mimaropa. Waves of migration from the rest of the Philippines have diversified its population, and you can find Visayans, Filipino Chinese, and Muslims at the cities. Calabarzon has some of the most populous provinces, like Cavite, and urbanization continues with economic developments around Metro Manila
The regional center is Calamba, but economic activities are spread out in the province; Industrial activity is concentrated on Cavite and Laguna. Tourism is a major source of income for provinces like Batangas, with its heritage towns and world-class beaches.
Calabarzon are one of the very liberal regions of the Philippines, and is a rising ecotourism hub; environmental protection plays an important role in politics, as the region has one of the very sensitive natural environments, like the Verde Island Passage in Batangas or the rainforests of eastern Quezon. The Roman Catholic Church also plays a role in environmental policy. Most provinces, especially Batangas and Quezon promote ecotourism, so, nature resorts are continuing to grow. The situation in Quezon is however complicated, with a conservative majority and liberal minority, that locally hated coal-fired power plants continue to be constructed around the rainforests while the province is striving to promote ecotourism.
The region is well connected to other regions by road and sea. There is no major airport in Calabarzon, but Ninoy Aquino International Airport in a suburb of Manila is reasonably close.
Most of CALABARZON, save Rizal, are adequately served by provincial buses. Major bus companies are DLTBCo, JAM, JAC Liner and ALPS. Bus service is limited around Rizal.
The region has good road connections with the adjacent regions. From Metro Manila, toll expressways like the South Luzon Expressway and STAR Tollway serve as the major road connections. Travelers from Bicol Region will take the Maharlika Highway, but expect a zigzagging road in the countryside and frequent rainstorms because of the rainforest climate of the areas passed through.
Batangas Port is the second busiest seaport in the Philippines (after Cebu), and provides connections to the rest of the Philippines. Interisland ships and RoRo services serve the port, as well as fast ferry and motorboat service.
Philippine National Railways provide train service through Laguna and Quezon to Bicol Region, but it remains suspended as of 2017. A commuter train from Tutuban station in Manila serves the major cities in Laguna, but it only operates in the evening hours and becomes extremely crowded every rush hour.
The remainder of Calabarzon is not served by mainline railways. Railways in Rizal and Cavite have long disappeared, the only reincarnations being extensions of Manila's rapid transit services. Batangas used to be served by a single branch of the main line to Bicol, but has fell into disuse, and only in the late 2010s did the government decide to restore the line to Luzon's second major seaport.
Buses are plenty in Calabarzon, with frequent departures from major cities and towns. The lone exception is Rizal, where it is hard to come by; if there are any, these are infrequent services between Manila and eastern Laguna or northern Quezon.
While luxury buses are available to services from Batangas City, most buses will be standard air-conditioned coaches. Non-AC, ordinary buses are once common in the region, but these are increasingly becoming rare in Batangas, Cavite and Laguna. Quezon still has ordinary bus service to its backwater towns.
Driving is the other best way of getting around the region. Highways are of a decent standard, but are many are narrow, two-lanes. Driving habits are also not for the faint of heart, whether it be on the sprawling urban areas in Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, to the hinterland of Quezon.
Expressways remain limited, the primary ones being the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) and the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR, aka "Calabarzon"). SLEx is being extended to Quezon, and another expressway is being built in Cavite, with parts partially opened to traffic.
Philippine National Railways operates a regional service between Calamba and Lucena, but is slower than the bus. Northwestern Laguna is served by Manila's commuter rail system, but again, is no better than the bus.
All the major cities in Calabarzon has jeepneys, but there are also jeepneys connecting cities and towns especially in the more urbanized parts of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal. In most of Quezon, travel between towns are mostly by bus, except the rainforest town of Lucban. There are also jeepneys connecting other towns in the province, but these tend to be illegal unlicensed services and should be avoided in favor of buses.
Comfortable, air-conditioned modern jeepneys are already in use in northwestern Laguna, northern Cavite and suburban Rizal, but still uncommon elsewhere the region.
- Taal Volcano, the "lake within a volcano within a lake" and the centerpiece of Batangas province.
- Monuments and sites related to the Philippine Revolution.
- Heritage churches and religious sites
- Mountain climbing
Barako coffee. At least two of Calabarazon's provinces, Batangas and Cavite, produce a variety of coffee called kapeng barako. This is neither arabica nor robusta, but a different variant (Coffea liberica) that grows on a tree rather than a bush and has a lower caffeine content. At one time it was a major crop, especially in the area around Lipa; in the late 19th century it was exported, and commanded a premium price on the world market. Since then, it has become less common as farmers switched either to other crops or to other varieties of coffee. Today it is rare outside this region.
Many visitors find this coffee quite palatable. It is available in many of the local coffee shops, and if you want to brew your own it can be found in the markets, usually at quite moderate prices. Supermarkets rarely carry it, and those that do often have high prices.
There is a considerable risk from the weather. Most of CALABARZON is characterized by frequent rainfall, so don't forget to bring an umbrella when visiting any location within the region. The only exceptions are the westernmost areas, where there are dry and wet seasons, but still expect rainfall. Typhoons are also a danger during the rainy season.