Thriving Calabarzon remains a steady force to reckon with | Inquirer Business

Thriving Calabarzon remains a steady force to reckon with

Calabarzon, known as the industrial powerhouse of the country, remains an attractive destination for investors with its strategic location, business-friendly environment, booming tourism sector, and a growing population and labor force.

Located in the adjacent south of Metro Manila, Calabarzon posted an economic growth of 7.3 percent in 2018, its fastest in six years, on the back of an expanding industry and services sector, which contributed 4.9 percentage points and 2.4 percentage points, respectively to the region’s economy.


The region is among the top three contributors—together with Metro Manila and Central Luzon—to the national economy’s 6.2 percent growth last year, with 1.2 percentage points.

The provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon compose Calabarzon, a region with a population of 14.4 million as of 2015 and a labor force of 10 million as of April 2018.


Manufacturing hub

With 35 of the country’s 74 manufacturing special economic zones located in the region, Calabarzon serves as a hub providing a big supply base of semi-processed industrial raw materials and industrial components.

Besides the manufacturing special economic zones, there are several other income-generating and job-creating ecozones in the region including 14 Information Technology Parks or Information Technology Centers, two agro-industrial ecozone, two tourism economic zone, and one medical tourism park.

The region is also endowed with rich natural resources, both land or water, that hold vast potential for agribusiness and ecotourism industries.

The province of Batangas, a top getaway destination near Metro Manila, is home to mountains and ridges, farms, diving spots, beaches, and the famed Taal, an active volcano in the middle of the lake. Tagaytay City in Cavite, known for its cool climate and awe-inspiring lake views, draws tourists, local and foreign, throughout the year.

Infrastructure projects in the region, mostly addressing transportation woes, are seen to boost Calabarzon’s economy as it seeks to attain its vision of becoming a vibrant, progressive, resilient and competitive region.

Port expansion


In May, a new berth was inaugurated at the Batangas Container Terminal, which would increase the port’s capacity by 50 percent to 450,000 20-foot containers. With this expansion, the Batangas port is expected to help ease congestion in the Port of Manila.

“The additional berth and the passenger terminal that will follow in 2021 would position Batangas port as a second major hub for maritime transport and commerce in Luzon and would contribute in making the economy more efficient and more attractive to investors,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III earlier said in a statement.

The region will also benefit from the massive North-South Commuter Railway, a big-ticket project under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program, as it will integrate Metro Manila with Central Luzon and Calabarzon through a 145.1-kilometer rail system.

In June 2017, groundbreaking rites were held for the construction of the 18-km Laguna section of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, which is seen to reduce travel time from Cavitex to SLEx to a mere 45 minutes from 1.5 hours, as well as improve the competitiveness of Calabarzon as an investment destination.

Upgrade and rehabilitation

The Laguna Lake Highway improvement project, meanwhile, involves the widening or rehabilitation of a segment in Taytay, Rizal and the construction or widening of bridges.

The Sangley Airport in Cavite, a former US naval station, is undergoing an upgrade to  help decongest the busy Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Earlier this month, President Duterte ordered the immediate transfer of domestic flight operations to Sangley Point.

Cavite, which has the biggest population among the provinces in the region with 3.68 million, is a strategically located province being proximate to Metro Manila and the major international gateways, giving it an edge in terms of economic development.

Cavite’s economy relies on its rich agriculture, abundance of raw materials and increasing industries that attract investors to the province. Among the products of industrial establishments in the province are food and beverages, textile, wood and wood products, paper and paper products and basic metals.

Agro-industrial economy

Laguna has also evolved into a modernized agro-industrial economy, known for its diverse food products, industries such as footwear manufacturing and a thriving gifts, handicrafts and decors sector which include the production of bag, basket, bayong, home decors, home furnishings and other handicrafts, made from indigenous materials such as pandan fiber, water hyacinth and rattan.

Businesses consider Calabarzon as a prime destination with investment opportunities in electronics and semiconductor products, housing construction, ICT services, finance and trade activities, tourism, high value crops. Remittances from overseas Filipino workers and returning Filipinos are also seen as a driver of economic development n the region. With Ishani Sharma, Inquirer Junior Intern

Sources: Inquirer Archives,, PSA Calabarzon,

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