The province of Quezon, flocked for a festival and venerated for a volcano, is Metropolitan Manila’s gateway to Southern Luzon and the Bicol Region. It is an elongated province east of Manila and the downward chain of Luzon provinces. Although close to the metropolis, it has retained many of its legacies, traditions, and relics.
Mount Banahaw is a 7,382-foot extinct volcano, famous for its mystical attributes. Unique religious rites are held during the Holy Week by pilgrims who believe that Christ walked on this mountain. Thousands of people flock to the site at Lent, and as many as 68 registered religious sects hold annual rituals. The mountain endowed with majestic beauty is also a favorite of amulet hunters. Found here is Kinabuhayan, believed to have been where Christ spent his Calvary. Ina ng Awa, near Kinabuhayan and located at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, is revered as another mystical site.
The St. Michael the Archangel Minor Basilica in Tayabas, one of the oldest churches in the country, was first built in 1585 and repaired in 1590 using nipa and palm. In 1600, bricks were used to renovate the site.
Bird Island in Polillo is a coral formation that became an island and is now a sanctuary for different species of birds to fly to, from neighboring areas. Lamon Bay, found in the northern part, is a very rich fishing ground and home to various living corals. Puting Buhangin Beach in Pagbilao Grande is a pure white sand beach with crystal clear and calm waters and a small cave at the end. It is a favorite place among the townsfolk, especially during summer.
In the western municipalities of Atimonan, Pagbilao, and Padre Burgos, the Quezon National Park is located. It is 983 hectares of an intricate system of caves, waterfalls, springs, creeks, gorges, and ravines against a quaint backdrop of lush greenery.
Celebrated every 15th of May, Pahiyas is considered as one of the Philippines’ best harvest festivals. It is deeply rooted in the traditional thanksgiving celebration for a bountiful harvest. Decorations called “Kiping,” leaf-shaped and multi-colored rice paste wafers, are the main features of the Pahiyas, which gained national, as well as international, renown for Lucban. It is observed in the towns of Lucban, Candelaria, Tayabas, Sariaya, Tiaong, and Lucena City in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers.
The relatively short distance between Quezon and Metro Manila make the attractions in the province even more inviting, especially for the towns located in the western part. And because Quezon is also a part of the route to the Bicol Region, both by bus and by train, its quaint little towns, which serve as stop-over points for travelers, can benefit much in terms of revenue generation through accommodation and dining establishments.
In terms of land area, Quezon is one of the biggest provinces in the Southern Tagalog region. It spreads over 870,660 hectares along the stretch of the Japan-Philippine Highway, which links Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao. Its boundaries extend as far as the province of Aurora in the north and Camarines Sur in the south. It is bounded on the west by the provinces of Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Batangas and on the southeast by Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur.
The province enjoys mild tropical climate and has two pronounced seasons, the dry-cold and dry-warm climate and the cold moist and cold dry climate. The lack of higher mountainous barriers makes some coastal areas prone to the effects of tropical depressions.
The province of Quezon has an estimated population of 1,679,030 as of May 2000, mostly concentrated in the flat-south central portion, which includes Lucena, Sariaya, and Candelaria. The people are characterized as friendly and hardworking.
The people’s main sources of livelihood range from land and sea agricultural cultivation to home industries which have lately taken a turn toward the export-oriented light to heavy industries, with the planning and construction of economic zones.
LANGUAGE / DIALECTS
Tagalog is widely spoken by the populace, with the characteristic lilt common to the locate.
The province is composed of 41 towns and one highly urbanized city, which is Lucena City. The province has 1,248 barangays, which include the barangay of Lucena City.