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Laguna’s explosive growth: From technoparks and BPOs to eco-cities and ‘balut’

Considered one of the wealthiest provinces in the Philippines, Laguna owes its economic prowess to its agricultural lands, industrial zones, and its proximity to the capital.

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CONSIDERED one of the richest provinces in the Philippines, Laguna owes its economic prowess to its agricultural lands, industrial zones, and its proximity to the capital. In recent years, the cities of Santa Rosa, Calamba, and Biñan rose to prominence by being among the fastest-growing cities in the country. The development of these cities paved the way for the construction of additional infrastructure and provided jobs for locals.

The Laguna International Industrial Park. (Photo from LIIP website) 

As the trading center of the south, Biñan is home to two major industrial parks: the Laguna International Industrial Park and the Laguna Technopark Incorporated, which contributed to the rise of local employment, foreign exchange and local revenues. Different manufacturing companies like Integrated Microelectronics Inc. are among those that can be found inside the Technopark. Car manufacturers such as Honda, Isuzu, and Nissan are also here.

The city of Santa Rosa has risen to become one of the fastest growing economies in the Philippines,  from being a fourth-class municipality in 1986 to become a first-class town by 1993. As of 2007, it has reached new heights as the city’s income increased to one billion pesos. Santa Rosa City has four PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority) accredited zones and also major car dealerships such as Chevrolet, Toyota, and Mitsubishi. It also hosts several BPO (business process outsourcing) companies such as Convergys, Conduit Global, among others. Residential and recreational areas are being developed to attract more visitors and potential investors to the city. Eco-cities like Nuvali, Greenfield, and Eton City provide the particular needs of these communities and developments. These eco-cities stretch out from Santa Rosa to the neighboring city of Calamba.

Meanwhile, the city of Calamba is considered the richest city in the region with an income of more than two billion pesos a  year. The city is hailed as a viable place for banking, with 83 offices and branches. With 11 technoparks, the city is home to the Calamba Premier International Park (CPIP), one of the biggest industrial parks in the country outside of the Metro Manila area. Aside from the CPIP, there’s Carmelray and the Light Industrial and Science Park of the Philippines, where most of the companies are manufacturers of semiconductors. Transnational companies like Samsung and Toshiba have established their manufacturing base here. Food companies like Zenith Foods Corporation, the central commissary of Jollibee, operate here as well.

The sustained development of these cities and their proximity to the capital require a more efficient system of transportation to avoid traffic, especially in the Calamba area. This led to the planning and construction of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CalaEx), a four-lane, 45-kilometer highway connecting Cavitex in Kawit, Cavite, and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx). This project is spearheaded by the Department of Public Works and Highway in partnership with MPCala Holdings Inc.

This boom notwithstanding, other municipalities in the province still rely on agriculture. Fishery and aquaculture are active industries in the lakeside towns like Victoria, whose main livelihood is in raising ducks and producing balut, the world famous (or infamous) fertilized duck egg delicacy. Vast rice fields can be seen throughout the province, which is one of the top producers of rice in the country.

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Ecotourism is also another profit maker. The towns of Los Baños, Nagcarlan, Paete, and Liliw are the most visited, blessed as they are with mountains and vast greenery where families and visitors spend their weekends. These municipalities are also known for their native products that attract local and foreign tourists. (Laguna Now)

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