"There are at least two reasons."
During the nearly eight decades since the end of World War II, the area made up of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal – Calabar for short – has steadily become this county’s most productive region, contributing between 20 and 25 percent of GDP (gross domestic product). The Metro Manila of today is composed mostly of municipalities – they were not cities then – that by a presidential decree were taken away from Rizal.
In due course, the argument was put forward that because of its proximity to Laguna and Batangas, the province of Quezon should be added to Calabar. The idea made sense to many people, so Calabar became Calabarzon.
Today, almost three decades after the inclusion of Quezon in Calabarzon, it appears that there is a need to reconsider the geographical composition of Calabarzon. More to the point, the time appears to have come to consider replacing Quezon with Bulacan. There are two reasons for such a change.
The first reason has to do with Quezon.
Those who pushed for the inclusion of Quezon in Calabarzon expected and hoped that the economic dynamism of its neighbors Laguna and Batangas would rub off on Quezon. Unfortunately, those expectations and hopes have not materialized. The only part of Quezon that has exhibited dynamism is Lucena City, the province’s capital. In the other border or near-border municipalities, such as Candelaria, Sariaya and Gumaca, one cannot sense any dynamism or vibrancy. Quezon’s economy has always been mainly agricultural – it is probably the No.1 producer of coconuts – and no manufacturing activities other than power generation have moved into the province since its inclusion in Calabarzon. Indeed, Quezon stands in stark contrast to the rest of Calabarzon.
With Bulacan it is a different story.
Bulacan’s economy is a study in economic dynamism. One of Metro Manila’s most progressive components, Valenzuela City, used to be a Bulacan municipality. NLEX (Northern Luzon Expressway), the gateway to Northern Luzon, traverses Bulacan municipalities that are very progressive, viz., Marulas, Meycauayan, Guiguinto, Balagtas and, further up NLEX, the city of Malolos, the provincial capital. The rest of Bulacan’s economy – its agriculture and fishing industry – is closely linked to the economy of Metro Manila.
But by far the biggest reason for including Bulacan in Calabarzon is the P75 billion Aerotropolis that San Miguel Corporation is installing in the town of Bulakan. It is not a case of the giant airport project’s going to be a game changer; it is already changing the game already. The impact of the Aerotropolis will be felt not only in Bulacan but also in all places connected to the air transportation industry. Metro Manila heads the list of those places.
Bulacan is a virtual part of NCR (National Capital Region). There is every reason to include it in Calabarzon.
How to rename Calabarzon if Quezon is replaced by Bulacan. Calabarcan, perhaps?