Aurora is a coastal province of Central Luzon region in the Philippines. Little is known about the province due to its remoteness, but its capital is known for its surfing scene, and the province has one of the largest expanses of rainforest spared from development, and also has hidden beaches and mountains.
- San Luis, Dinalongan, Dilasag.
Named after the wife of the second president of the Philippines, Manuel L. Quezon, Aurora used to be part of a larger Quezon province until it was made a sub-province in 1951, and finally made a province through a law passed in 1975. One obvious reason for creating Aurora is due to the area's isolation from the rest of Quezon province: there are no direct links to the rest of the province and much of the terrain is mountainous and heavily forested, which makes the area relatively isolated.
Aurora houses one of the final swaths of lowland tropical rainforest in Luzon, and much of the province is off the beaten track. The towering Sierra Madre mountain range separates Aurora from the central plains of Luzon, and most of the province faces the Pacific Ocean.
Aurora's population is about 215,000 as of 2015, and is the least populated province of Central Luzon. Aurora's population is approximately 50% Tagalog, 30% Ilocano, and the remainder indigenous peoples (Kankana-ey, Casiguran, Dumagat), Bicolano and Visayan. Southern and central Aurora are generally Tagalog, and the northern part mostly Ilocano. The Dumagat, a Negrito group believed to be a cross of Austronesian and Melanesian features, inhabit the hillsides and mountains of the province.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Being largely covered by rainforest, Aurora has a rainforest climate, which means it frequently rains at almost every day, especially in the afternoon, though it can rain at any time of day. Except for occasional above-average highs or lows, there is not much variation in temperature, with highs between 28–31 °C (82–88 °F) and lows between 21–24 °C (70–75 °F), but the amount of rainfall varies by month. It rains at Aurora for almost half a year.
Facing the Pacific Ocean, Aurora often firsts faces the havoc wreaked by typhoons, and the province is also at the heart of the typhoon belt.
The high season for travel to Aurora is generally from March to October. Surfing season is generally from May to October, where it rains frequently and winds are perfect for surfing.
Tagalog and Ilocano are the main languages spoken in Aurora. The Tagalog dialect spoken in Aurora is basically the same as in Quezon (as Tayabas Tagalog), but with much Ilocano influence. Other languages spoken are Kankana-ey and the Dumagat languages.
UV Express vans run from Cabanatuan to Baler, but are slower than the bus, and take the longer route via Bongabon.
Being separated from the central plains by the Sierra Madre, driving to Aurora involves mountain roads with many sharp curves.
Aurora is connected to the rest of Central Luzon by two highways from Nueva Ecija. The most commonly traveled route runs from the town to Rizal to Maria Aurora via Pantabangan and Alfonso Castañeda. The other less traveled route (Nueva Ecija-Aurora Road, Route 111) runs from the town of Bongabon directly to Baler; it is paved but has one one-lane bridge upon leaving the Sierra Madre and one ford due to a bridge being replaced.
Dingalan is reachable by a lone road link (Route 114) from Nueva Ecija. Construction is ongoing for a coastal route from northern Quezon Province.
There is at least one bus everyday at 7AM from Baler going up the coast until Dilasag.
The province sees less cars, and there are more motorcycles on the roads; you can rent a motorcycle from most dealers around Baler.
There is no direct road connection between Dingalan and the rest of Aurora, and to get there means passing through Nueva Ecija.
The region is very prone to typhoons, and its rainforest climate does give also another danger. Avoid surfing when typhoon warnings are raised. Locals surfers do try to surf during storm surges, but remember, surfing when a typhoon is approaching is outright dangerous. Tsunamis are risks as well, even from sources across the Pacific.