The Province of Aurora (hereinafter referred to as “Aurora”) lies at the mid-eastern coast of Luzon some 232 kilometers from Manila and is located between 15º 31’ 02” to 16º 31’ 00” N Latitude and 121º 31’ 02” to 122º 01’ 30” E Longitude. It is the north-eastern most province of Central Luzon (Region III). It is bordered on the north by the provinces of Isabela and Qurino, on the west by Nueva Ecija and Nueva Viscaya, on the south by Bulacan and Quezon, and on the east by the Pacific Ocean. Aurora is considered the gateway to the Pacific with coastline stretching spans 410 kilometers.
Aurora has a total land area of 323,954 hectares, representing about one percent of the country’s total land area. The province’s main link to the rest of Luzon is through a narrow mountain gravel road that twists through the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. The road is located between Baler and Bongabon, Nueva Ecija. Travel by car from Baler to the nearest urban center of Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija takes three hours.
There are five (5) land routes going to the Province of Aurora, namely:
1. Subic-Clark-Tarlac-Nueva Ecija-Aurora Dingalan Port Road;
2. Bongabon-Villa-Aurora Road;
3. San Luis-Ma. Aurora-Castañeda-Pantabangan Road;
4. Dinadiawan(Aurora)-Madella (Nueva Vizcaya)-Cordon (Isabela) Road; and
5. Dinapigue-Dilasag Road.
During typhoons and heavy rainfall, these roads are blocked by landslides and swollen rivers making land transport to and from the province very difficult.
Aurora covers the eastern portion of the Sierra Madre Mountains, hence it is generally mountainous. There are flat lands unevenly distributed throughout the province. The municipality of Dingalan, in the south, has the most irregular topography.
The Province of Aurora is the 73rd province of the Philippines created by Batas Pambasa Blg. 07. It is the youngest among the seven (7) provinces of Central Luzon. It has eight (8) municipalities with a total of 151 barangays divided into three (3) development zones, i.e. Northern Zone (Dilasag, Casiguran, Dinalungan); Central Zone (Baler, Dipaculao, Ma. Aurora and San Luis ); and Southern Zone (Dingalan).
Current Development Trend. The recent “super-region” development initiative of Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has included Dingalan municipality under Metro Luzon Urban Beltway and the rest of the province under North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle.
The topography of the province of Aurora is generally influenced by the forest-covered Sierra Madre Mountain Range which runs through the whole province from north to south and reach up to 1,900 meters above sea level. It has two major alluvial plains around Casiguran in the north and Baler Valley in the central area of the province. The foothills are dissected by numerous alluvial valleys and descend further to coastal plains. Headlands taper along the coastal areas of the municipalities of Dingalan, San Luis, Dipaculao and San Ildefonso in Casiguran.
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. The main risk occurs over the 6 months from June to November, with an average of about 0.5 per year of each of these months. In May and December, the average drops to 0.2, or about once in 5 years.
Study conducted by AIADP in 1989 reveals that there are 315 individual watershed areas of which 96 is true watersheds while 70 major catchments are identifiable throughout the province. The two largest watershed areas in the province with combined drainage impact area of 30,900 hectares are those of Cabatangan/Malupa River and Diteki River affecting the central municipalities. Amro (7,190 has) and Calabgan (6,150 has) are the next largest watersheds affecting Dilasag and Casiguran.
Physiography and Geology. Four main terrain units characterize the province, i.e., coastal landscape, alluvial landscape, foothill slopes, and mountain slopes.
The coastal landscape shaped by tidal processes is characterized by mixed coarse and fine alluvial deposits. It forms an almost level terrain of beaches, swamps and mangroves, rising to only a few meters above sea level and represents around 2 percent of province’s total land area.
The alluvial landscape consists of mixed gravel pebbles and boulders, sand silt and clay. This type of terrain is subject to varying degrees of flooding and represents around 11 percent of the province of Aurora.
The foothill slopes, formed by volcanic uplift and natural earth movement or crustal stress, range from 51 to 500m above sea level and comprise up to 20 percent of the province’s land area.
The mountain slopes of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range considerably typify the topography of the province ranging from 501 to 1,900m above sea level and occupy around 68 percent of the entire province.
The topographic configuration of the province and the abundant watershed resources in the province provide adequate supply of water to a number of population for household consumption and other domestic purposes. Springs from mountain and foothill areas serve as main source of water for upland dwellers. Groundwater, either in the form of spring flows or directly from well and boreholes supplies water for domestic consumption. At present, there are no consuming industries in Aurora and industrial water consumption should be considered in the overall domestic consumption. Household connections are made possible in the municipalities of Baler and Dipaculao through local water utilities, whereas Casiguran and Dinalungan by their respective municipal governments. All municipalities have levels 1 to 3 water facilities except Dilasag which lacks level 3 type of water source.
Though Aurora has plethora of water resources, there is paucity of information on water quality in the province.
Power Supply. Almost all municipalities of Aurora, except Dingalan are served by Aurora Electric Cooperative (AURELCO). AURELCO subscribes power supply from the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) through the latter’s power station in Sta. Rosa Grid, Nueva Ecija. The power sub-station in San Isidro, San Luis, Aurora supplies a 24-hour power to Central Aurora and the power generator plant in Casiguran, a maximum of 20 hours supply for the northern municipalities of Dinalungan, Casiguran, and Dilasag.
Aurora has a population of approximately 211,604 based on the estimates provided by the National Statistic Office for the year 2007 (see Table-3 below) and has a density of 54 persons per square kilometer, the fifth lowest in the country. The annual growth rate of Aurora has slowed down to an annual rate of 1.84%.