Tarlac (Kapampangan: Lalawigan ning Tarlac; Pangasinan: Luyag na Tarlac; Ilocano: Probinsiya ti Tarlac; Tagalog: Lalawigan ng Tarlac) is a landlocked province located in the Central Luzon region in the Philippines. It is bounded on the north by the province of Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija on the east, Zambales on the west and Pampanga in the south. The province comprises three congressional districts and is subdivided into 17 municipalities and one city, Tarlac City, which is the provincial capital. The province is situated in the heartland of Luzon, in what is known as the Central Plain covering the provinces of Region III. Tarlac covers a total land area of 305,345 hectares (3,053.45 km2). It is approximately 125 kilometres (78 mi) northeast of Metro Manila. Early in history, what came to be known as Valenzuela Ranch today was once a thickly forested area, peopled by roving tribes of nomadic Aetas who are said to be the aboriginal settlers of the Philippines, and for a lengthy period, it was the remaining hinterland of the Central Plain of Luzon. Tarlac is the most multi-cultural of the provinces in the region for having a mixture of four distinct groups, the Kapampangans, Pangasinenses, Ilocanos and Tagalogs. It is also known for its fine food and vast sugar and rice plantations in Central Luzon.