Candelaria, despite being primarily agricultural is considered an urban first class municipality. Agriculture hasbeen evidently the main source of income for most households where crops are produced for local consumption as well as export commerce. According to the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO), the production area covers 80.57% the total land area of Candelaria, which is 14,111.74 hectares. It is divided into agriculture, of about 74.56% and production forest which covers 6.01% of the total production area. It is estimated that the cultivated and cropped areas cover only 6,380.5 hectares which is 48.86% of the total agricultural area.
Rice production is done on irrigated and rain-fed farms. Irrigated rice production is highest in Barangays Sta. Catalina Norte and Sur, and Buenavista West. While rainfed rice production is mostly found in Barangays Sta. Catalina Sur, Kinatihan I and San Isidro.White corn production is dominant in Barangays San Andres, Mayabobo and Pahinga Sur. Eggplant production is highest in Barangays Mangilag Norte, Mayabobo, and Malabanban Sur; ampalaya in Barangays Mangilag Norte, Malabanban Sur and Kinatihan II. Banana is mostly produced in Barangays in San Isidro, Masalukot II and Kinatihan I; lanzones in Barangays Sta. Catalina Sur, Masalukot III and Sta. Catalina Norte. Lastly, citrus is highest in Barangays Bukal Norte, Masalukot III, and IV; and cassava in Barangays Masalukot II, Masin Norte and Mayabobo. Most of the agricultural crops of the municipality are sold either locally or transported to other parts of the county.
Coconut is considered the most important and dominant agricultural crop of Candelaria covering about 5,243.50 hectares or 30% of Candelaria’s total land area, and comprised about 62.83% of its agricultural land. As of 2009, a total of 773,971 coconut trees were recorded of which 547,068 are bearing (ages 8-60) while 32,620 are non-bearing (ages 1-7) and senile (ages 61 and above). Moreover, 5.37% of coconut farms in the province of Quezon are in the Municipality of Candelaria with the coconut trees usually producing around 36 coconuts per tree per year.
Most of the lands dedicated to coconuts are found from the middle slopes of Mt. Banahaw going south down to the lowlands. Candelaria is considered the “Desiccated Coconut Capital of the World”. The largest single production facility for desiccated coconut, with a rated capacity of 22,000 metric tons per year and operated by the Peter Paul Philippine Corporation (PPPC), is located in Brgy. Pahinga Norte. The PPPC provides supply of fresh premium coconuts year round, maintaining a substantial share in the municipality’s export products. This company also maintains a coconut plantation.
LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY
Most of the residents usually have their own livestock and poultry in their backyard for their own consumption. As of 2013, it shows that poultry is the most common animal raised by the locals with 71.30% of the overall animal population. The next would be swine which is used for both commercialand domestic consumption. Carabaos are also raised since they are commonly used as farm animal for land tilling, transporting farm goods and agricultural supplies to and from the market especially in lowland areas.The horses, on the other hand, are the ones used for transporting goods in the upland areas since it is hard for vehicles to go up the steep slopes of Mt. Banahaw. Cattle, however, is raised primarily for market distribution while goat, duck, and chicken are all raised for domestic consumption and also as additional source oflivelihood.
The average number of slaughtered swine heads is 50 per day and 200 per day during special occasions such as fiestas. The slaughterhouse located in Brgy. Pahinga Sur serves the whole municipality. In 2010, there were 29,533 animals slaughtered. These were swine, cattle and carabao. The animals are examined prior to slaughtering to ensure their quality and fitness for human consumption.
The public market of the municipality which occupies a hectare of land is located in Barangay Pahinga Norte near the Poblacion. It houses differentstalls and buildings for market products like meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Sunday serves as their market day during which, transient vendors occupy portions of Bustamante and Gonzales streets.Seafood products like fish (talakitok, blue marlin, maya-maya, sapsap, galunggong, tilapia etc.), shrimp and the like are sourced from ports in Quezon (Lucena, Atimonan), Laguna (Los Baños), Batangas (Lipa, Talisay), Bataan and Metro Manila. Meat products like pork and beef are mostly from commercial piggeries and cattlefarms within Candelaria, although some are grown from backyard farms before they are brought to the slaughterhouse. Most of the fruits and vegetables are bought wholesale from Prosi in Sariaya, Quezon, considered as the “bagsakan” of all locally grown produce. Other places where vendors get their produce are Benguet and Nueva Ecija. Transport of products are usually by means of tricycles, jeepneys and trucks.
AGRICULTURAL SUPPORT FACILITIES
Since the municipality is primarily agricultural, the LGU always ensures the provision of different production support services and facilities to help their local farmers. These services include production support facilities, fertilizer assistance, training services for farmers and post-harvest machineries. Some agricultural equipment are rented or borrowed from the municipality or from private firms, or owned by farmers themselves to save cost. There are also available agricultural post-harvest facilities found in some barangays like milling, multi-purpose drying pavement, and warehouses for storage. To support in the continuous agricultural farming activities and in order to generate sufficient goods and supplies for the locality, there are 13 availableirrigation pumps and 12 communal irrigation systems distributed the municipality. However, only a few avail of these facilities due to prohibitive maintenance costs.
Manufacturing corporations and establishments in Candelaria engage in coconut oil production and exportation of desiccated coconuts. Several top manufacturing business entities and corporations are located in the municipality and most of them cater to both local and export markets. The listed establishments are located within the one kilometer radius of the Poblacion area. Most of them are found in Barangays Malabanban Norte and Sur, Mangilag Sur and Pahinga Norte, probably because of access to the main road for easier transportation of goods. These industrial establishments constantly provide an increase in revenue and employment to the locality.
COMMERCE AND TRADE
Candelaria has numerous wholesale and retail businesses especially that the locality is rapidly urbanizing. This is evident along the main streets of Poblacion where commercial establishments are proliferating. Most of them are restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, hardware, hotels and other real estate businesses. Also in other barangays there are a lot of small sari-sari stores that offer a wide range of grocery products like canned goods, hygienic products and many more. At present, there is a total inventory of 812 registered commercial establishments. Most prominent of these are wholesale, retail trade, and real estate leasing.
There are several banking institutions, pawnshops and foreign exchange establishments within the Poblacion. As of December 2011, there were 18 pawnshops, 9 foreign exchange dealers/money changers/remittance establishments, 5 credit cooperatives and 22 banking institutions.
An array of potential tourist destinations in Candelaria can be developed in various sites of the town such as historical landmarks, natural springs and waterfalls, resorts and parks. With the additional scenery of its natural environment (Mt. Banahaw) and resources like the different agricultural crops, and vegetables, it is possible that it can be a haven for tourism. The top two (2) potential tourist attractions in Candelaria can be found within the protected areas, the Adarna Waterfalls in Masalukot IV and the beautiful landscapes at the slopes of Mt. Banahaw in Masalukot V. These tourist destinations may be further explored including the upgrading of the present facilities of some attractions in order to compete with other tourist spots nearby. There are at least 11 tourism establishments in Candelaria that could be further developed into natural and historical attractions.
Other than these possible tourist destinations, Candelaria is also known for its various festivities celebrated between the months of January to August. One of its famous festivals is the Candle Festival, which is a five-day celebration from January 29 to February 2. The people reflect on their devotion to “NuestraSeñora de Candelaria” also known as the Candlemas Virgin. The celebration is done through a candle float parade and procession along the streets of the town featuring street dancing by the youth and devotees in the community. Also, featured during this festival is a parade of floats and agri-stalls featuring local produce from each of the 25 barangays of Candelaria.