Aurora Province Ecological Profile



Aurora province has a land covered area of 309,860 has. It lies on the mid-eastern coast of Luzon bordered by the Sierra Madre Ranges. Political boundaries include the province of Isabela on the North, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya on the Northwest and Quezon on the South.

Formerly, the two municipalities of Baler and Casiguran were part of Quezon (formerly Tayabas). It was founded in 1856 by the Spaniards, then called District of El Principe, Nueva Ecija. It was created as sub province on June 14,1951, by R.A. 648 and became independent and 73rdprovince on August 13, 1979 by virtue of B.P. No. 7.

Aurora Province was part of Region IV until the issuance of Executive Order No. 103 transferring the province of Aurora to Region III.

It has eight municipalities namely: Baler, Casiguran, Dilasag, Dinalungan, Dingalan, Dipaculao, Maria Aurora and San Luis. It has a population density of 56 persons per sq. km. in CY 2010.

San Luis, is the largest municipality with an area of 59,600 has (19% of the total land area), followed by Casiguran and Dilasag with 53,260 has and 51,160 ha (17% of the total land area). The smallest municipality is Baler with 11,240 has, equivalent to 4% of the total land area (Table 1 and Figure 1).


2.1. Geographic Location

Aurora, the youngest constituted province in the Central Luzon (Region III) is located at the eastern seaboard of Luzon, constituting the former northern portion of Quezon province. Baler, the capital town, is roughly 230 kms. from Manila. It lies between 15°31'02" to 16°31'00"N along the latitudes and 121°31'02" to 122°01'30"E along the longitudes. It is bounded by different provinces, on the north by Isabela, on the northwest by Quirino and Nueva Viscaya, on the west by Nueva Ecija and Bulacan, on the south by Quezon and the Pacific Ocean on the east (Figure 2).

2.2. Slope and Topography

Aurora province covers a portion of the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges, hence, it is generally mountainous. It has flat lands which are unevenly distributed throughout the province. The mountainous terrain is along the western part with minimal and steep slopes of 0.2% and 5-15%, respectively. The municipality of Dingalan in the south has the most irregular topography with only small flat land portion.

2.3. Geology

2.3.1. Rock Formation and Soil Type

Alluvial deposits, basalt and andesites composed the soil materials of the province. Igneous rocks are found along mountainous and hilly areas while quartz and silica are found along the beaches. The most common type of soil in the province is the loam soil.

2.4. Land Resources

2.4.1. Land Classification

Table 2 shows the land classification of Aurora Province. It consists of two (2) major classifications which include alienable and disposable land and forestland. The former has an extent of 72,562 ha and 236,804 ha for the latter, equivalent to 13% and 43%, respectively of the province's total land area.

2.4.2. Forest Cover

Aurora has an estimated 236,804 ha of public forestland of which 228,649 ha are timberland. The municipality of San Luis has the biggest forestland with an area of 52,197 ha, followed by Casiguran and Dilasag with 48,122 and 33,909 ha, respectively. Baler registered the smallest forestland with only 3,609 ha (Table 3).

2.4.3. Protected Area

Approximates, 15,635 has of lands in the province, including over 5,700 has in this northern town, are being eyed for conversion into protected areas (PAs) under a legislative measure filed in the Senate. These are 6,471.08 has Amro River Protected Landscape (ARPL) in the municipality of Casiguran, the 3,371.332-has Dinadiawan River Protected Landscape (DRPL) in Dipaculao, the 2,266.47-has Simbahan-Talagas Protected Landscapes (STPL) and 3,526.29-has Talaytay Protected Landscapes (TPL), both in this municipality (Table 4).

2.5. Coastal Resources

2.5.1. Coral Reef

The reef along Dibut Bay are relatively narrow extending approximately 50m only from the shoreline during the low tide, the reef flats are exposed. The reef along the north side of the bay is characterized by abrupt slopes to near vertical walls dropping to above 30m. The reef on the southern side slope gently. They are characterized by a preponderance of monospecific branching stands of Acropora and Montipora.

Añao Island has a narrow fringing reef with sandy slope to approximately 20m. Large tabulate Acropora reaching a diameter of a 3m, and abundance of the calcareous algae Halimeda characterize this area.

San Ildefonso and Dunog has a mean live coral cover range from 36-51% while dead coral cover range from 5-11%. A soft coral cover is low in almost all the sites (<(1)%), except for Casapsapan (8%). Algal cover range from 18-26%, abiotic cover is highest in San Ildefonso at 30% and lowest at 17% in Dunog.

A total of 35 genera are recorded, with Casapsapan registering the highest (27) and Añao the lowest (14). Based on occurrence, the top five coral genera were Acropora, Porites, Pachyseris, Montipora and Pocillopora. The most dominant soft coral genus is Lobophytum (Alino et al., 2002).

2.5.2. Mangrove Areas

Aurora has a total of 430 has of mangroves (AIADP, 1996). Ninety present of the mangrove forest is located in the northern municipalities of Casiguran and Dilasag, while the remaining 10% is scattered in small patches, particularly in Baler, the capital town in the province and where the main population of Kandeliacandel is located. Kandeliacandelis one of the major mangrove species belong to the Rhizophoraceae family.

There are other mangrove areas namely; Tinib, Esteves in sitioMutiong, San Ildefonso in sitio Dalugan, Calabgan, Dibet, Dibacong, Cozo, Ditinagyan, Casapsapan, Lual and Marikit in Casiguran and Masagana, sitio Dipalatpat and Dikasewin in Dilasag.

2.6. Freshwater Resources

2.6.1. Riverine System

The main drainage systems of Aurora consist of six rivers, namely: Aguang River of Baler, Calabgan River in Casiguran, Ditale River in Dipaculao, Dibatuan River in Dipaculao, Ibuna River in Dingalan, and Sinagnuan River in Dingalan.

2.7. Mineral Resources

2.7.1. Metallic Minerals

Aurora is rich in mineral deposits. Metallic ores such as copper, iron, chromate, manganese, gold and nickel are abundant especially in the Sierra Madre area. The province also has many non-metallic minerals, including guano, black sand, cement, marble, carbon and silica (Table 5). Largely untapped, these deposits can contribute significantly to the country's mining industry.

2.8. List of Threatened Species

2.8.1. Mammals, birds and reptiles

Threatened and endangered mammals, reptile’s (Table 6) and birds (Table 7) species were sighted and found living in Aurora province. There are sightings in the area of Mingan Mountain, Baler and San Luis, Aurora. Species become endangered and go extinct because of habitat destruction like fill swamps and marshes, dam rivers and cut down trees to build homes, roads and other developments. Illegal hunting is another reason why species become endangered because some hunters ignore governmental rules that regulate the number of animals that should be hunted; they reduce populations to the point that species become endangered.

2.9. Land Uses

2.9.1. Existing Land Use

The province’s total land area is 312,864.74ha. The biggest portion was forestland with an area of 241,329.74 ha (77%) of the total land area. Second was agricultural land with 11% or 33,601.96 ha while the water reservoir had the smallest area with 28 hectares (Table 8 and Figure 3).

2.10. Environmental Hazards

2.10.1. Seismic Hazards

Aurora is also prone to geologic hazards such as earthquake related hazards like ground shaking, liquefaction, earthquake induced landslide and tsunami because of its proximity to Casiguran Fault.

As shown in summary matrix for ground, the municipalities of Baler, Ma. Aurora, Dipaculao, Dinalungan, Casiguran, Dilasag, Dingalan and San Luish as a susceptibility level of “Intensity VIII and above” (Table 9 and Figure 4).

The northern most part of the province specifically the municipality of Casiguran experienced frequent ground shaking. Recorded damage sustained to date in the province has been relatively minor and has been restricted to some incidence of cracked foundations, walls, and pictures falling off of the wall.

2.10.2. Hydrologic Hazards

Flood-prone areas in Aurora include the influence areas of the six major rivers, namely: Aguang in Baler; Calabgan in Casiguran; Ditale and Ditubunan in Dipaculao; and, Ibuna and Sinagnuan in Dingalan. These areas have been the subject of seasonal destructive flash flooding which caused substantial damage to agricultural land and crops, infrastructure, dwelling and occasional loss of lives. The primary factor which contributes to the occurrence of these hazards is the denudation of the forest cover in the upper watersheds and river tributaries. This causes heavy siltation resulting in the incapability of the river waterways to handle heavy flash flood water flow from the rain catchment areas.

As shown in the summary matrix for flood hazard, susceptibility level was high on municipalities of Baler, Maria Aurrora, Dingalan, Dinalungan and Casiguran. San Luis, Dilasag, Dipaculao and other municipalities previously mentioned under high susceptibility were also classified under moderate level (Table 11 and Figure 6).

2.10.3. Mass Movement Hazard

For rain-induced land slide, the summary matrix indicated that the municipalities of Maria Aurora, Dinalungan, Casiguran. Dilasag and Diingalanhas high susceptibility level, while Baler, Ma. Aurora, Dipaculao, Dinalungan, Casiguran, Dilasag, Dingalan and San Luis were considered in moderate susceptibility level. Marked as low susceptibility level are Baler, Maria Aurora, Dipaculao and Dilasag (Table 12 and Figure 7).

2.11. Climate

2.11.1. Climatic Type

The prevailing climate over Aurora falls under the type IV climate of the Corona's classification. An almost even distribution of rainfall throughout the year is experienced in the province.

2.11.2. Temperature

The mean monthly temperature of Aurora is 25.3oC. The coldest months are January and February, with a temperature ranging from 19.3 to 20.4 oC. The warmest months are from June to July, with temperature from 30 to 33 oC.

2.11.3. Precipitation

The province of Aurora has rainfall evenly distributed throughout the year. Average monthly rainfall ranges from a minimum of 30-90mm to a maximum of 450-1,200mm as recorded over a 40-year period by synoptic stations in Casiguran and Baler. The annual maximum daily rainfall is associated with typhoons. The average number of cyclone occurrences in the province is 3.4 per year or 17 percent of all the cyclones which occur in the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). The main risk occurs over the 6 months from June to November, with an average of about0.5 per year of each of these months. In May and December, the average drops to 0.2, or about once in 5 years.


3.1. Social Composition and Characteristics

3.1.1. Total population

Based on the 2010 statistics, Maria Aurora is the most populous town with a total of 38,128 residents. This constitutes 19% of Aurora population. Baler follows at 18% with 36,010 residents. Dipaculao represent about 14% of the total population with 27, 729, residents and Dinalungan is the least populated town with 5% of the total population at 10, 988, residents (Figure 8).

3.1.2. Total household population

According to 2010 data of NSO, Maria Aurora had the most number of households at 38,109, or roughly 19% of the total households. Baler comes next at 35, 826 households or 18% of the total households, while Dinalungan comprises the least at 10, 984 households, 5% of the total households (Figure 9).

3.1.3. Population density

The municipality of Baler was recorded to have the highest population density of 266 persons/km2 in 2010. On the other hand, the lowest registered was Dilasagwith 29 persons/km2 (Figure 10)

3.1.4. Age-sex distribution

Based on the 2010 census of population, ages 0-14 years old represents 40.91%. However, the production age group of 16-64 years old has the biggest proportion contribution of 55.62% of the provincial total, while 65 years and above was recorded at a low 3.46% (Figure 11).

3.1.5. Sex ratio

Sex ratio in the province shows that male population has outnumbered the females. The highest number of males recorded falls under the age group of 5-9 while the least was at the age group of 65-80.

On the other hand, the highest number of females was also noted to be between ages 5-9, while the least was also at 80 and above. Statistics suggests that for every 10 males, there is one female. In ages 65 and above, it showed that the females were greater in number compared to males, because usually male was pretty reckless- they drive fast and play dangerous sport, also not concern to their health they smoke and drink more than women and their nature of work, that’s the reason why the age of 55 and above men are more exposed to diseases that can shorten their live because their defenses is weaken quicker (Table 13).

3.1.6. Age dependency ratio

The working age group of 15 to 64 years old comprises 64% (96,675 individuals) of Aurora population. Young dependents, which are under 1 year old to 14 years old, constitute 32%, while the old dependents under ages 65 and over are only 4% (Figure 12).

3.1.7. School-age Population

In 2010, the biggest number of schooling population are those that age between 5-9 years old followed by age between 10-14. Across all age groups, the number of schooling population was consistently decreased from age 5-9 until age 25-29, because some of student cannot continue their study due to poverty, health and family problem (Figure 13).

3.1.8. Urban to Rural Distribution

In 2010, records showed that the rural population (131,829) had higher population than urban population with 41,968 per individual, because 75% of total municipalities in the Aurora are under rural area and only 25% are urban (Figure 14).

3.1.9. Education

Aurora exhibited a relatively high literacy rate of 98 percent (DepEd, 2002). This is due to the existence of government schools which provide formal and non-formal education even in the remote areas of the province.

There are three (3) levels of formal education, namely: Elementary, Secondary and Tertiary. Government schools pre dominate the educational system and complemented by private schools. Aurora's educational needs are met by public institutions consisting of 128 primary and elementary schools, 25 secondary schools, and one state college. This is augmented by 25 private elementary and secondary schools as well as three private colleges. Public schools dominate the educational system of the province. The tertiary education in the Province of Aurora is being served by government owned Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT) and two private sectarian institutions, the Mount Carmel College (MCC) in Baler and Wesleyan University-Philippines in Maria Aurora. TESDA caters to vocational and technical education.

3.1.10. Health

There are four (4) hospitals with a combined bed capacity of 75 attending to the medical needs of the province of Aurora, all of which are owned and operated by the Provincial Government. These are the Aurora Memorial Hospital in Baler; Casiguran District Hospital serving the northern municipalities; and a Community Hospital in each of the municipalities of Maria Aurora and Dingalan.

Along with the hospitals, the Provincial Health Office also maintains a technical division that collaborates with the different municipalities in the implementation of the various public health programs of the Department of Health. All eight (8) municipalities of the province have a Rural Health Unit to support these programs. Health Stations are accessible in most barangays throughout the province to aid the health promotional and health care needs of the populace.


4.1. Primary Sector (Extractive)

4.1.1. Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry Agricultural production

Agriculture is the primary industry in Aurora, employing approximately half of the population. About 49,991 has, or 15% of the provincial land area, consist of cultivated land. Major crops include rice, coconut, coffee, bananas, root crops, corn, citrus fruits, peanuts and abaca.

Table 14 shows the grain production of Aurora province, secondary data shows that the province has a total of 11,310 ha of rice field with 81,198.0 metric tons of production per year, the Maria Aurora is the highest producing municipality of Aurora with the annual production of 22,735.44 tons of paddy rice while Dingalan and Dinalungan are the least towns engage in rice production with the annual production of 3,247.92 tons of paddy rice.

In terms of corn production, the total devoted area is 3,132.0 ha with annual production of 34,254.33 metric tons. The municipality of Dilasag is the highest corn producer with a production of 12,461.68 metric tons while Dingalan is the least corn producing municipality (48.0 metric tons).

Fruit bearing trees are also grown in the province of Aurora. Most of the municipalities in the province were engaged with coconut production with total production area of 23,504.06 has. Dilasag is the only municipality engaged in coconut production with a total plantation area of 313.50 has. The least fruit bearing trees of the province is rambutan with the total area of 75.0 has (Table 15).

Eggplant is the major cash crop planted in Aurora province with a total production area of 53.86 has while pepper is least cash crop grown in the province with a total production area of 17.99 has (Table 16).

Table 17 shows the area planted with root crops. Data shows that yam is the major root crop produced in the province with a production area of 84.5 has which 98% of the yam production came from the municipality of Dipaculao. Gabi and cassava are the minor root crops of the province with annual area planted of 18.0 ha and 9.5 ha, respectively.

Other crops were also produced in the province. Data shows that citrus has the highest production area among other crops with an area of 771.30 ha while watermelon is least planted with only 1.5 ha of production area (Table 18).

As of 2014, the province has a total of 1,132 units of 2-wheel tractor, 96 units of water pump, 45 units of 3-wheel tractor, 19 units of disc harrow, 15 units of disc plow, 3 units of power tiller, 2 units of power tiller, 1 unit of 4-wheel tractor, drum seeder, and shallow tube well (Table 19).

Moreover, the province has a total of 309 units of rice thresher, 80 units of rice mill, 52 units of multipurpose drying pavement, 51 units of warehouses, 31 unit of flatbed dryer wherein 26 units came from the Department of Agriculture (DA) while 5 units are privately owned, there are also 18 units of copra dryer and multi-purpose thresher/shredder, 9 units of columnar/ recirculation/ electric grain dryer, 8 units of cono, 7 units of multi- commodity grinder and 4 unit of corn shelter (Table 20). Livestock/Poultry

The province also has many poultry and livestock farmers. Chicken is the biggest poultry and livestock produced followed by swine and ducks. Although there are quite a large number of carabaos in the province, most of these are used in farming (Table 21).

4.1.2. Forestry

Forestry is another significant industry. About 74% percent of the province's 323,954 hectares can be classified as woodland. Virtually all (99.9%) of the forest areas are classified as woodland, steep sloping land and inaccessible land. In some of these forest areas, one can observe the practice of slash-and-burn agriculture (kaingin) by upland cultivators. Cottage industries in the province make use of such forest products as rattan, nito, sabutan, luknoy, puroy and pandan.

4.1.3. Fishing

Fishing is also a major industry in the province; seven of eight municipalities lie along coastal areas. Approximately one-third of the province's population located in 48 barangays along the coastline is dependent on the fishing industry.

The fishing season and common species caught per municipality in the province of Aurora is shown in Table 22. The three major aquatic species present in the area are fin fishes, crustaceans and mollusks/shellfishes.

There were one hundred thirty nine farmers that operate at brackish water and 339 operators at fresh water with a total number of 448 fish operators. The main aquatic commodities cultured in brackish water are tilapia, bangus and sugpo while tilapia is being cultured in freshwater (Table 23).

4.2. Secondary sector (manufacturing and industry)

4.2.1. Mining and Quarrying

The mineral resources of Aurora are considered young and untapped. Copper and gold are possibly among the major minerals that can be found in its mountain areas. This is the reason why the office of the Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences is drenched with applications for mining exploration by different mining companies/corporations which almost cover the whole province of Aurora. At present, there are twenty three (23) applications under APSA covering a total area of 107,705 has and 1,329 blocks while 225,301 has and 2,781 blocks are applied for exploration by 18 mining corporations/companies under EXPA.

4.2.2. Business and Industry

The primary industry in the province is agriculture with major crops such as coconut, palay or rice, banana, camote or sweet potato, calamansi or Philippine citrus, corn cassava, peanuts, pineapple, coffee, eggplant and abaca. About 49,991 hectares, or 15% of the provincial land area, consist of cultivated land. Aurora is also into poultry and livestock such as chicken, swine, duck, carabao, goat and cattle.

Forestry and fishing is a significant industry as well particularly in making products of rattan, nito, sabutan, luknoy, puroy and pandan. The province also has an abundance of mineral deposits such as copper, iron, chromate, manganese, gold and nickel found in the Sierra Madre area, as well as non-metallic minerals, including guano, black sand, cement, marble, carbon and silica.

The home/cottage industries are dominated by hat and mat weaving activities with a total of 2,369 persons involved, mostly concentrated in Baler (698 persons), Maria Aurora (567 persons), Dipaculao (510 persons) and San Luis (498 persons). Next to the hat and weaving are charcoal making with 568 households involved, basketry with 179 households, rattan craft with 155 households and wood curving with 131 households involved. Other home and cottage industries are hollow block making, pottery, food processing, abaca, processing shell craft, iron and steel foundry, processing of native wine and vinegar and salted egg making.

Currently, tourism also helps in the economic gains of Aurora with its many natural tourist attraction.

4.2.3. Roads and Networks/Transportation

The majority of the road network of the province is in poor condition except the Poblacion and some highways which are concrete. In central Aurora, the part of the circumferential road in the municipalities of Baler, San Luis, Maria Aurora and Dipaculao is now concrete except the western section connecting Maria and San Luis, and about half of the section between Maria and Dipaculao. Even within the Poblacion, gravel roads still exist that need to be concreted. Coastal roads are likewise waiting to be developed. Most barangay roads are not concretely paved (Table 24).

4.2.4. Port Network

There are two existing ports in Aurora, one is located in Sitio Cemento, Zabali and Baler with a length of 400 L.M. and the other one is in Dibacong Casiguran with a length of 300 L.M. These ports are accessible by land and serve as the only link from Casiguran to Baler during the rainy season when some sections of the Baler-Casiguran road are not passable. Casiguran port has a good potential for development as a deep water port in view of its relatively sheltered location. However, such project is likely to be economical if there are major developments within the area.

4.2.5. Air Transportation

Baler airfield (Bacong) is classified as a feeder airport. It has a runway of 12 km. x 30 m of sodden sandy loam and has 30.0 m x 100 m concrete touchdown. Private airstrips are located in the municipality of Casiguran and Dilasag.

4.2.6. Communication

As regards to telephone system, Baler is serviced by the PT & T, RCPI and PLDT and now Smart Satellite. The PT & T has installed individual household connections while the RCPI and PLDT are using a centralized booth calling systems. In other municipalities of the province like Dingalan, Maria Aurora, Dipaculao, Casiguran and Dinalungan, also the Bayan Tel (RCPI) centralized booth calling systems, while Dilasag is still working on the installation of their telephone communication systems.

All municipalities had telegraphic communication facilities and single side band radios. Likewise, most municipal and barangay officials have been provided with portable hand-held radios. These communication facilities provide a quick transmission of communications between municipalities, barangays and the provincial capitol.

4.2.7. Power Supply

Almost all municipalities of Aurora, except Dingalanis now served by the Aurora Electric Cooperative, Inc, (AURELCO). The AURELCO subscribed power supply from the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) through the latter's power station in the Sta. Rosa Grid, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija with sub-station in San Isidro, San Luis serving Central Aurora, and Power Generator Plant in Casiguran serving the DICADI areas. Dingalan's power source comes from the Nueva Ecija Electric Cooperative Company II (NECCO II) via Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija but distribution lines are installed by the AURELCO.

Within the municipalities, some remote barangays are not reached by the electrification program which left the areas without distribution power lines. Some households use portable power generators to run their appliances and lighting fixtures (Table 25).

5. Gap Analysis

The latest available data for the socio-economic profile was a result of census conducted in year 2010. It is very imperative that the concerned agency provide us an updated data. This will make our study more accurate and reliable.

6. Literature Cited

  • Alino, P. M., E. F. B. Miclat, C. L. Nañolo, Jr., H. A. Roa-uiaoit and R. T. Campos, 2002. Atlas of Philippine Coral Reefs. Philippine Coral Reef Information (Philreef). Good will Trading Co., Inc., Quezon City Philippines. 43 p.
  • Association of Institutional Advancement and Development Professionals- Consolidated Land Use Plan, 2010
  • Association of Institutional Advancement and Development Professionals–Consolidated Land Use Plan, 2012
  • Aurora Electric Cooperative, Inc., 2010
  • Aurora Provincial Profile, 2012
  • Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, 2012
  • Consolidated Land Use Plan –Aurora/Association of Institutional Advancement and Development Professionals CY 2010
  • Consolidated Municipal Comprehensive Land Use Plan, November 2010
  • Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2012
  • Municipal Agricultural Office-Local Government Unit of Aurora, 2010
  • National Statistic Office, 2013. The 2010 Census of Population
  • National Food Authority, 2010
  • Office of the Provincial Agriculture, 2010
  • Outer Planets Assessment Group, 2012
  • Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Baler Station or period recorded 2010.
  • Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, 2014
  • Pulse Domestic Water Heater (Accomplishment Report Inventory), 2012
  • Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Office, 2012
  • Provincial Planning and Development Office, 2012