Often called Quezon Province to distinguish it from Quezon City, Quezon has culture, nature and history to provide. It is quite off the beaten track over its neighbors in the Calabarzon region, but its festivals, hidden beaches, and historical monuments are things worth visiting.
Cities and towns
Being a mostly rural province, Quezon only has two cities, and most of the other locations equaling cities elsewhere in the province will be towns, many dating centuries ago.
- 1 Lucena City - Provincial capital, but is an independent city administratively. It is rather more of a traveller's stop than a destination, but you can visit the few of its sights or shop here if you can buy enough time.
- 2 Atimonan - Rural municipality at the foot of the mighty Sierra Madre, with a little town center along the coast. It is the gateway to the rainier, rural east of the province.
- 3 Lucban - A small municipality near Mount Banahaw, and home of the Pahiyas Festival and Kamay ni Hesus pilgrimage site.
- 4 Sariaya - Little heritage town, housing numerous historical houses and a seaside with a growing number of beach resorts.
- 5 Tayabas- Former provincial capital, also lends its name to the former name of the province. This city houses a heritage downtown that rivals Vigan or Taal.
- Jomalig – White sand beaches facing the Pacific, rediscovered by backpackers.
- 1 Mount Banahaw - The highest mountain in Quezon, and the CALABARZON region. It has been closed to mountaineers since 2004 to allow local flora to rebound.
- 2 Polillo Island - Tropical island off the Pacific coast of northern Quezon.
Quezon is generally an off-the-beaten-path destination, skipped by many foreign travellers, but this province has many places worthy for a visit. From heritage towns, colourful festivals, to untouched nature, Quezon also boasts a potential to be another major tourism hotspot. The offshore islands of Polilio and Jomalig has white sand beaches facing the Pacific. The provincial government is promoting ecotourism to boost its economy and raise its reputation as another tourist spot in southern Luzon.
Locals of Quezon are called Quezeños. They suffer from a stereotype of being lazy country folk, nevertheless, they are a rather relaxed, hardworking and friendly people, like other Tagalog people. Most people rely on agriculture, though this is hindered by the swaths of rainforest that covers many parts of the province.
What is now Quezon is areas in the current provinces of Batangas, Laguna, and Nueva Ecija. The boundary of the current province is formally defined as the Spaniards, under Juan de Salcedo, entered the Philippines. The province, originally named Kalilayan, has its first provincial capital at the present-day town of Unisan, but it is moved inland to Pagbilao after its destruction and pillaging by Moro pirates. In 1749, the capital is moved to Tayabas, which also have become its name until its renaming in 1946.
Because of the oppressive rule by the Spaniards, Quezon (then Tayabas) also witnessed uprisings against the colonial authorities, most notably the rebellion led by mystic Hermano Pule (real name, Apolinario de la Cruz). Quezon, at the end of the 19th century, are one of the eight provinces that led the revolution against the Spanish authorities.
American and Japanese occupation
As the United States purchased the Philippines from Spain, Quezon became ruled by a civil government, and the capital is moved to Lucena. The Americans quelled remaining rebellions led by Filipinos in Quezon, as the province served as a supply point for rebels in Batangas and Laguna. Marinduque became part of Tayabas between 1902 and 1920. In December 1941, the Japanese arrived in Quezon, and stayed until their surrender in 1945.
Quezon gains its current name after a law is passed to name it after Manuel Quezon in 1946. Aurora is carved out as a smaller province within Quezon, until it was separated officially in 1979. A referendum is held on the question of dividing the province into two in 2007, but has been defeated by a vast majority.
Quezon has a climate generally characterized by an almost equal distribution of rainfall through the year, but as the province is vast, there are variations, with western parts having a dry and wet season, and the eastern parts having a rainforest climate. The provinces gets struck by typhoons frequently, with the eastern parts the most vulnerable due to undeveloped infrastructure.
Quezon is quite conservative in politics, but is more so to the east of the Sierra Madre. This manifest in cultural differences between the more urbanized west (Pagbilao, Lucena, Tayabas Sariaya, Candelaria, Tiaong, and San Antonio), who are open to development, and the rural east, where locals strive to protect their traditional lifestyle reliant on fishing, agriculture and forestry.
As is common with the people of CALABARZON, Quezeños are staunch environmentalists. Major environmental challenges includes protecting the province's remaining rainforests, opposing construction of new fossil fuel power plants, and controling land development.
Quezon is regularly served by buses from Metro Manila and also Batangas City. Most bus traffic through Quezon are bound for Bicol, Eastern Visayas, and also, Mindanao. Some companies operate bus service that terminate in the province, terminating at Lucena.
The Maharlika Highway (Manila South Road, or Route 1) passes through Quezon and serves as a major transport backbone. Most motor traffic in the province passed through Maharlika Highway, but it has been experiencing major bottlenecks in the most important towns, resulting to the construction of bypasses. Other entry points when travelling by car are the new Quezon Eco-Tourism Road (Route 422), the Batangas-Quezon Road (Route 435) and Pagsanjan-Lucban Road (Route 605).
The province is vast, and distances can be rather deceptive. Many highways will pass through town centers, and traffic slow down to a crawl.
The only way to reach the northeast corner of the province (Infanta, Real, General Nakar) from the rest of Quezon is through eastern Laguna. There is a highway along the eastern Pacific coast, but is incomplete, and there are no plans to extend that road through rainforest and mountains that separate northeast Quezon from the rest of the province.
There is frequent bus and jeepney service along Maharlika Highway. Many of the private bus lines plying that highway use modern air-conditioned intercity buses, but there are a few operators that utilize smaller and older vehicles, usually rebuilt trucks.
Boats and ferries connect Pollilo Island with the mainland; the same also applies to Alabat and Jomalig.