CALABARZON (/ká-lɑ-bɑr-zon/), formally known as Southern Tagalog Mainland and designated as Region IV-A, is an administrative region in the Philippines. The region comprises five provinces, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon, whose names form the acronym CALABARZON. Its regional center is Calamba in Laguna.
Situated just south of Metro Manila in southwestern Luzon, the region is the most populous in the Philippines, having 14,414,774 inhabitants in 2015, and is also the country's second most densely populated after NCR. Prior to its creation as a region, Calabarzon, together with Mimaropa, formed the historical region known as Southern Tagalog, until they were separated in 2002 by virtue of Executive Order No. 103.
The region is home to some of the most important Philippine historical figures, most notable of which is the Philippines' national hero, Jose Rizal, who was born in Calamba.
On June 5, 1901, a convention was called on whether or not the province of Manila should annex the province of Morong, which was found to be unable to be self-sufficient as a province. Eventually, on June 11, Act No. 137 of the First Philippine Commission abolished Morong and created a new province, named after the Philippines' national hero, Jose Rizal, who, coincidentally, was a native of Laguna. The new province comprised 29 municipalities, 17 from Manila and 12 from Morong. In 1902, Macario Sakay, a veteran Katipunan member, established the Tagalog Republic in the mountains of Rizal. Ultimately, Sakay's Tagalog Republic ended in 1906 when he and his men were betrayed under the guise of holding a national assembly aimed at the self-determination of the Filipino people.
On September 7, 1946, the Third Philippine Republic enacted Republic Act No. 14, which renamed the province of Tayabas to Quezon, in honor of Manuel Quezon. Quezon was the second President of the Philippines and a native of Baler (now part of Aurora). In 1951, the northern part of Quezon became the sub-province Aurora, named after Quezon's wife.
On September 24, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos enacted Presidential Decree No. 1, which organized the provinces into 11 regions as part of Marcos' Integrated Reorganization Plan. The IRP created Region IV, known as the Southern Tagalog region, and was the largest region in the Philippines. At this time, Region IV consisted of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Quezon, Rizal, Romblon, and Palawan. In 1979, Aurora formally became a province independent of Quezon and was also included in Region IV.
Executive Order No. 103, dated May 17, 2002, made great changes to the Southern Tagalog region. Due to its size, Region IV was split into two separate regions, Region IV-A (Calabarzon) and Region IV-B (Mimaropa). Aurora was transferred to Region III, Central Luzon.
Executive Order No. 246, dated October 28, 2003, Former President Gloria Arroyo declared Calamba as the regional center of the region.
Calabarzon comprises five provinces, 1 highly urbanized city, 18 component cities and 4,011 barangays.
The region has 19 cities (18 component cities and the highly urbanized city of Lucena). Antipolo is the most populous city in CALABARZON Region and is the seventh most populous city in the Philippines while San Pedro City is the most densely populated city in the whole region. A large section of Calabarzon is considered part of the Greater Manila Area; while Batangas City is home to the Batangas metropolitan area. Calabarzon has a gross regional product of ₱1.65 trillion (at current prices), which accounts for 17% of the national GDP.
A Antipolo was declared a "highly-urbanized city" by President Benigno Aquino; such proclamation however still needs to be ratified in a plebiscite.
B On August 7, 2000, the municipality of Los Baños, Laguna was declared as a "Special Science and Nature City of the Philippines" through Presidential Proclamation No. 349 in recognition of its importance as a center for science and technology, being home to many prestigious educational, environmental and research institutions. This proclamation does not convert the municipality to a city or give it corporate powers that are accorded to other cities.
Calabarzon has a population of 14.4 million people, the largest of all the regions in the Philippines. The population growth rate between 2000 and 2010 of 3.07% decreased from the growth rate between 1990 and 2000 of 3.91%, a trend which coincided with the rest of the nation. Life expectancy for men in Calabarzon is 68.9 years and 75.2 years for women. There are an estimated 356,000 Overseas Filipino Workers originally from Calabarzon.
A vast majority of people living in Calabarzon are Tagalogs. It is estimated that around 5.8 million Tagalogs live in Region IV-A. Taal, in particular, is considered the "Heartland of Tagalog Culture" and is currently the present "center" of Tagalog culture and people. Calabarzon is also home to a sizable amount of people with Chinese and Spanish ancestry on account of Chinese immigration and Spanish colonialization, respectively. Because of this large majority of Tagalog natives, the majority of people living in Calabarzon also speak the Tagalog language. Filipino, being a version of Tagalog, is also predominant in the region. English is also commonly spoken throughout Calabarzon and is the language of business and education. In Cavite, Chavacano, a Creole language is also commonly spoken.
The large majority of the population of Calabarzon is a part of the Roman Catholic church which accounts for 80% of the national population. Other Christian denominations present in the region are the Iglesia Ni Cristo, the Philippine Independent Church and Seventh-day Adventist Church. There are also Muslims living in Calabarzon although they are in the minority.
Calabarzon is the second largest contributor to the national GDP, accounting for 17% of the gross domestic product. The region boasts a 2.1% inflation rate, lower than the national average of 3%. The region has a 9.2% unemployment rate which is higher than the national average of 7%. Calabarzon, much like the rest of the country, is caught in the middle of being an industrial and an agricultural economy.
Due to the region's proximity to Metro Manila, a large amount of urbanization has taken place over the years. Cavite and Laguna in particular are sites of manufacturing and high-tech industries, with companies like Intel and Panasonic setting up plants in the region. Santa Rosa, Laguna, is home to a host of semi-conductor and automotive companies such as Amkor and Toyota, while General Trias is home to Cavite's largest economic development zone, the PEC Industrial Park.
The region still has a large agricultural base. As of 2002, the region had 282,700 farms, covering 588,500 hectares (1,454,000 acres), or 36.3% of the region's total land area. Cavite alone has almost 70,500 hectares (174,000 acres) of agricultural land. Laguna is home to the International Rice Research Institute, which can be found within the University of the Philippines Los Baños, whose main goal is find sustainable ways to help rice farmers. Batangas, meanwhile, is home to a large pineapple and coconut industry, which is used to make Barong Tagalogs and native liqueurs such as lambanog and tuba in Tayabas City. Quezon is the country's leader in coconut products such as coconut oil and copra. Rizal is known for its piggeries. Region IV-A's agricultural base, however, is slowly decreasing. Due to their proximity to large bodies of water, Laguna and Batangas also have sizable fishing industries. Taal Lake is a large source of fresh water fishes for the country.
Due to the region's history and natural resources, tourism plays a major role in the regional economy. Cavite and Laguna are homes to various historical sites, such as the Rizal Shrine in Calamba City, tallest Jose Rizal Statue in the World, located in Calamba City and the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite. San Pablo, Laguna is famous for its seven lakes, Pagsanjan for its majestic and world-famous waterfalls and Taal Lake in Batangas is a famous tourist destination. Tayabas City is known as the City of Festivals, Rest and Recreation Destination of Quezon and the Home of the Finest Lambanog. Minor Basilica of Saint Michael Archangel is the religious testaments of the Tayabenses and declared as National Cultural Treasures of the Philippines, the Casa Comunidad de Tayabas, the former office of the former President Manuel Luis Quezon and the place where Hermano Pule was sentenced to death, and the Malagonlong Bridge and the 9 other century-old Spanish arch type and National Cultural Treasure bridges. Their famous festivals which draws a lot of crowd since it was started like the Taytsinoy Festival, Mayohan Festival, Pa’yas Festival Hagisan Festival, Baliskog Festival, Angel Festival, Aguyod Festival and the Turumba Festival every Holy Week which made Tayabas the City of Festivals and their delectable cuisines like Budin, Yema Cake and Lambanog. Lucban is famous for the Kamay ni Hesus Shrine, a 50-foot statue of the Ascending Christ on top of a hill. Batangas is also famous for its scenic beaches in Nasugbu and Calatagan. Antipolo is another major tourist spot, found in Rizal. CALABARZON is also home to a multitude of baroque churches made during the Spanish Era.
The seal was released on 2013, where the City Government of Calamba and the private Malaysian company AlloyMTD, started the construction of the regional government center in Brgy. Mapagong. The seal shows the map of Calabarzon on right, mountains depicting the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre and Mt. Makiling, and also a Philippine sun on the upper portion and Jose Rizal's face on the left portion of the seal, since Rizal, the Philippine national hero came from Calamba; the regional government center.