Luzon is the largest and most economically and politically important island in the Philippines. It is also the name for one of the three island groups in the country centred on the Island of Luzon, the other two being the Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon as an island group includes the island of Luzon itself, plus the Batanes and Babuyan groups of islands to the north, and the main and outlying islands of Catanduanes, Marinduque, Masbate, Romblon, and Mindoro in the south. It is home to the capital city, Manila. It also contains 8 of the 17 administrative regions of the Philippines.
The island of Luzon is the world’s 17th largest island and is the fourth most populated island in the world. It is bounded by the South China Sea in the west, the Philippine Sea in the east and to the north is Luzon Strait containing Babuyan Channel and Balintang Channel. The main part of the island is nearly rectangular in shape with the long Bicol Peninsula protruding to the southeast. Luzon is also home to numerous volcanoes. Among these are Mount Mayon in Albay, Mount Taal and Mount Pinatubo, made famous because of its enormous 1991 eruption.
Luzon is inhabited by several ethnolinguistic groups. Ilocanos predominate in the northern portion of Ilocos and Cagayan Region. Pangasinense inhabit Pangasinan, while the Kapampangans primarily live in Pampanga, Tarlac and the rest of Central Luzon. Meanwhile, Tagalogs, in majority, live in Bulacan, calabarzon and Metro Manila, while Bicolanos predominate the Bicol Region. Other ethnic groups also present are the Aeta of Zambales, the Ibanag of Cagayan, and the Igorot of the Cordilleras.
The main languages spoken in Luzon include: Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Bicol and Pangasinense. English is also used by many inhabitants. Roman Catholic is the major religion in the island. Other sects include Protestantism, the Philippine Independent Church, and Iglesia ni Cristo. Indigenous traditions and rituals are also present.
The economy of the island is centered in Metro Manila. Makati serves as the main economic and political hub. Other business districts are Ortigas Center and Bonifacio Global City. Industry is concentrated in and around Metro Manila while agriculture predominates in other regions of the island. The major crops of the island are rice, bananas, mangoes, coconuts, pineapple and coffee. Other sectors include livestock raising, tourism, mining and fishing.
Tourist destinations abound the island of Luzon. Many provinces, a few hours’ drive away are perfect weekend getaway. In the northern part lies the mountain haven of Baguio and the splendor of the Banaue Rice Terraces, dubbed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Lining the northern coasts are the provinces of La Union with its winding beaches and Pangasinan, with its wondrous Hundred Islands. Other remarkable destinations are the island fortress of Corregidor, Tagaytay Ridge with a view of Mt. Taal which is the world’s smallest active volcano, St. Paul’s Underground River in Palawan, Tubataha Marine Reserve and Vigan with its Baroque churches, horse-drawn carriages and Antillan houses.