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Central Luzon is one of the 17 regions of the Philippines.

This "super region" is in the north of Manila. Home to seven provinces, this region has different and distinct cultures.

Provinces[edit]

Map of Central Luzon
Provinces of Central Luzon
  Aurora
Named after the wife of President Manuel Quezon, this province is one of the last frontiers of Central Luzon; with its wide area of forest land and 328 km of pure beaches, Aurora's gems are yet to be discovered
  Bataan
World War II left a huge mark on this province; aside from its beaches, you'll find different markers and shrines scattered around the province that commemorate the sacrifices of soldiers
  Bulacan
The birthplace of the first constitutional democracy in Asia, cradle of the country's noble heroes, nostalgic Spanish-era churches, heritage houses, colorful festivals and sweet delicacies
  Nueva Ecija
Dubbed the "Rice Bowl of the Philippines"; also boasts breathtaking mountains and the Philippine Carabao Center, where you can try fresh carabao's (water buffalo's) milk
  Pampanga
The "Culinary Capital of the Philippines"; it used to host the largest American military facility outside the United States, which has been converted to a major business and tourism hub
  Tarlac
Home to the "Monasterio de Tarlac", where you'll find a smaller version of the Christ the Redeemer statue of Brazil; this province is also popular for its whitewater kayaking activities
  Zambales
172 km of beaches, untainted mountainous landscapes, challenging waves and pristine coves, this province is definitely worth a visit.

While Pangasinan is historically and culturally part of this region, it is now part of the Ilocos Region (Region I), and included in that article.

Cities[edit]

  • 1 Angeles - a thriving regional city partly due to the former U.S. Air Force's Clark Airbase which has been converted to a business and leisure hub with world-class casinos, resorts, hotels, shopping malls and duty-free shops
  • 2 Cabanatuan - Nueva Ecija's largest city features the Camp Pangatian Shrine and the General Luna Statue and Marker, both are historical sites.
  • 3 Malolos - the provincial capital of Bulacan, popular for its historical landmarks, old churches, ancestral houses and of course sweet delicacies!
  • 4 San Fernando - the regional capital of Central Luzon, it is famous for its "Giant Lantern Festival" during the month of December

Other destinations[edit]

  • 1 Baler - a surfer's paradise also famous for it's history and rugged coastlines
  • 2 Pilar - the location of the Shrine of Valor (Dambana ng Kagitingan), a national shrine atop Mount Samat
  • 3 Subic - a former U.S naval base which is now a popular tourist destination home to beaches, eco-parks, industrial parks, resorts and casinos

Understand[edit]

The region lies in a largely flat area north of Metro Manila, and provides much of the rice grain sold in the Philippines. While commonly stereotyped as plains, the region does have a diverse geography, with rolling hills below the Sierra Madre and scattered mountains and volcanoes, including Mount Pinatubo.

The region has a population of over 11 million, but is disproportionately concentrated in Bulacan and Pampanga, all along the North Luzon Expressway, an important transport corridor between the region and Metro Manila. The province of Aurora is the least dense and populated.

The region is dominated by Tagalog and Kapampangan speakers. The Kapampangan form the majority in Pampanga and Tarlac, and the Tagalog inhabits the remainder. The Aeta (Negrito) and Sambal are the indigenous inhabitants of Central Luzon, but land-grabbing, discrimination and assimilation threatens their lifestyle, culture, and language.

Talk[edit]

Tagalog is the primary language of the region, and is the native tongue of many residents of the provinces of Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales. The dialect of Tagalog spoken in Central Luzon is similar to the one spoken in Manila, and is the basis of the national language Filipino, though there are a few dialectal terms that persist in the region, such as ere ("this") in Bulacan.

Kapampangan, a distinct language erroneously described as a dialect of Tagalog, is spoken by a million in Pampanga and Tarlac. Sambal, which is related to Kapampangan, is spoken by a few in Zambales, and has been supplanted by Tagalog.

On parts of Tarlac, you may also encounter Ilocano, which is spoken on areas bordering Pangasinan, as well as Pangasinan.

Get in[edit]

Central Luzon lies within the approximately 200 km (120 mi) radius of Manila, and transportation is not hard to find.

By plane[edit]

While many travellers come through Ninoy Aquino International Airport to the south, Clark International Airport (CRK IATA, formerly but also called Diosdado Macapagal International Airport) has both domestic and international flights. It is smaller, but better and convenient, without the long lines and corruption you may encounter at Manila airport.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines and its regional subsidiary PAL Express has domestic flights to most points in the Philippines, and an international flight to Seoul. Budget carriers such as Cebu Pacific (and regional subsidiary Cebgo) and AirAsia also have both domestic and international flights from Clark as it has lower landing fees. Some international carriers such as Asiana Airlines, Cathay Dragon, Emirates, and Qatar Airways also have flights to Clark.

By car[edit]

The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) connects the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga with Manila. Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) connects Subic port with Tarlac, hence the name, while SCTEX's physical connection Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) provides access to the rest of Tarlac province. NLEX and SCTEX meet around Angeles, at the suburb of Mabalacat.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

Do[edit]

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Flooding on the Candaba swampland in Pampanga

Central Luzon is prone to weather extremes, from blistering heat in the dry season (summer), and heavy downpours and typhoons in the wet season. Places like Nueva Ecija are prone to sweltering heat during the hot months, with heat indexes soaring to the 40s to 50s bracket. The rainy season between late May to late Septembers brings heavy rain, also risking floods on the plains and landslides on mountainous areas, and typhoons can further exacerbate the danger, with wind gusts and more rain.

While many people in the region still recall a devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake in 1990 and the climatic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, leaving prominent remarks like lahar-buried buildings and land, parts of Central Luzon are seismically active, and earthquakes or volcanic eruptions are all concerns. The latest major earthquake since the deadly 1990 quake is a magnitude 6.1 quake in April 2019, resulting to various degrees of damage in the region and some casualties from collapsed structures. Coastal areas, like places in Aurora and Zambales, are prone to tsunamis, including from distant sources, as in the cases of the 1960 Great Chilean earthquake and the 1962 Good Friday earthquake, where the tsunamis those quakes produced slammed the coasts of these provinces, causing some damage and deaths.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Central Luzon is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!