Between the rugged coastal mountains, in central Luzon, lies the Central Plain, watered by the Pampanga and Agno rivers. Barely above sea level, c.100 mi (160 km) long and 40 mi (64 km) wide, it is the most important agricultural land in all the Philippines. It supplies food for almost the entire Manila area and is the nation's major rice-producing region and its second (after Negros island) sugarcane-producing area. Elsewhere, the Bicol peninsula is known for its extensive coconut plantations; the Cagayan River valley for its tobacco and corn. Other major crops are fruits, vegetables, and cacao. Luzon has important lumbering and mining industries; there are gold, chromite, nickel, copper, and iron deposits, and the bamboo on Bataan peninsula has many commercial uses. Manufacturing is centered in the Manila metropolitan area, where the major industries produce textiles, chemicals, and metal products. Scattered throughout the island are fertilizer plants, an occasional oil refinery, cement factories, and plywood mills and wood product plants.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.