Map of the Philippines with Catanduanes highlighted
|Region||Bicol (Region V)|
|Founded||September 26, 1945|
|• Governor||Araceli Wong (Independent)|
|• Vice Governor||Jose Teves, Jr. (Lakas-CMD)|
|• Total||1,492.16 km2 (576.13 sq mi)|
|Area rank||70th out of 81|
|• Rank||67th out of 81|
|• Density||170/km2 (430/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||48th out of 81|
|• Independent cities||0|
|• Component cities||0|
|• Districts||Lone district of Catanduanes|
|Time zone||PHT (UTC+8)|
|ZIP codes||4800 to 4810|
|ISO 3166 code||PH-CAT|
|Spoken languages||Bikolano, Filipino, English|
Catanduanes is an island province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region of Luzon. Its capital is Virac and the province lies to the east of Camarines Sur across Maqueda Channel. As of the 2010 census, the population of the province is 246,300 people. The island province was among the 42 provinces in the country listed as “Peaceful and Ready for Development” last year 2014.
The province consists primarily of Catanduanes Island (also called Virac Island), but also includes Panay Island and a few other minor surrounding islets.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Culture
- 6 Education
- 7 Economy
- 8 Services
- 9 Accessibility
- 10 Notable people from Catanduanes
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 External links
"Isla de Cobos" was Catanduanes' first name, given by Spanish conquistadores during the early part of 1573 when came upon several tribes living in the thatched huts called cobos.
Catanduanes, is a hispanized term derived from the word tandu, a native beetle and the samdong tree, which were both found in abundance throughout the island. Common reference to "katanduan" or "kasamdongan", meaning a place where the tandu or the samdong tree thrives in abundance, led to the coining of the word Catanduanes.
The scions of the then Bornean Datus who had moved on the island of Panay and then, spread out throughout the archipelago were the first settlers to have set foot in Catanduanes. The island was not spared from the adventurous raids of the Moros who came from the island of Mindanao. Because of these destructive raids, many records of the past were destroyed and lost.
Juan de Salcedo arrived in this island in 1573, hunting for pirates, and conquered the natives. Three years later, a galleon expedition from Acapulco was shipwrecked near the island and the survivors were either killed or made servants. The Batalay Church in Bato, just several kilometers from the capital town of Virac, marks that historical event.
The Christianization of the island started some twenty years later. The conquistadores, after subjugating the Bicol mainland, came back to the island with Franciscan missionaries. From 1600 to 1857, the colonizers were able to put up nine centers of local governments through the establishment of parishes.
During the American Regime, the local insurgents refused to recognize the sovereignty of the United States. Most of them fled to the mountains. The American occupation did not last long. In 1934, the Americans had ceased control of the island.
World War II
During World War II, Catanduanes was not spared from Japanese invasion. The Japanese erected garrisons in different parts of the island. The Japanese committed many atrocities in the island province.
Major Salvador Rodolfo (a.k.a. Phantom) organized the Catanduanes Liberation Forces.It was the back bone of the resistance movement in Catanduanes. It performed numerous ambuscades against the Japanese Imperial Army and conducted intelligence gathering, which was necessary in paving the way for the eventual liberation of the province by the combined American and Filipino troops. During his exploits as a guerilla leader, Rodolfo was rumored several times to have been killed in battle but time and again he keeps on coming back to destroy every vestige of enemy control in the province of Catanduanes, hence he was called "Phantom" or the Man who never dies.
On February 8, 1945, when Rodolfo was about to declare the independence of the province, one of his men approached him and said that there were Japanese reinforcements on board 2 vessels approaching the island. He then talked to his men, most of whom were wounded and exhausted, he said:
Japanese reinforcements are coming. I have two options for you, we can go to the hills and save ourselves and wait there until the joint American and Filipino troops was arrive, but I assure you that all civilians left behind will be massacred by the incoming Japanese, or we can repeat what happened in the Battle of Thermopylae and stand our ground. Most of us will die, but we will live forever in the pages of history as the men who fought for the liberation of Catanduanes.
With that, everybody decided to stand their ground and fight the incoming Japanese. They went to their posts to wait for the enemy’s arrival but then, as if by providence, American planes arrived and bombed the Japanese vessels. Rodolfo declared independence of the entire province on February 8, 1945.
When the local Filipino soldiers and officers of the 5th, 52nd, 53rd, 55th, 56th and 57th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was landing the beaches and captured the liberated from the island province of Catanduanes and helping the local guerrilla fighters and American liberating troops and defeated and fought against the Japanese Imperial armed forces during the Battle of Catanduanes and ending World War II.
Three months after the Philippine independence from the Americans, Catanduanes was finally recognized as a separate and independent province from Albay by the Commonwealth Act No. 687. It was approved by Congress on September 26, 1945, signed into law by President Sergio Osmena, Sr. on October 24, 1945, and took effect on October 26, 1945. Catanduanes became the sixth province of the Bicol Region with the signing of the Act.
Catanduanes is situated in the easternmost fringe of Luzon: 13.3 to 14.1 degrees north latitudes and between 124.1 to 124.3 degrees east longitudes. The island bounded on the west by the Maqueda Channel, on the south by Lagonoy Gulf, and on the north and east by the Philippine Sea. Several islands compose the province, but beside the main island, they are all too small to be of relative significance. Its aggregate land area totals approximately 1,511.5 square kilometers or 151,150 hectares. The coastlines, that stretch to almost 400 km (249 mi), are jagged with many bays.
The topography of Catanduanes Island is rugged and mountainous, becoming more pronounced towards the central portion of the island. Less than 10 percent of the land area has a slope gradient under 8 percent, mostly fractured and narrow strips of plains located along the coastal areas where most of the inhabitants are settled. The highest mountain peak is in Boctot, located between the municipalities of Virac and San Miguel with an elevation of 803 metres (2,635 ft) above sea level. It is the premier mountain range with broadly spread old growth forests and watershed which exerts widespread influence over its immediate environs that include the municipalities of Virac, Bato, and San Miguel. Other prominent mountain forms with important significance include the ranges: Obi in Caramoran, Cagmasoso in San Andres, and the Summit and Magsumoso ranges within the Viga and Gigmoto areas.
The lowlands include the Virac Plain, Viga Plain, San Andres Plain and the Bato River Flood Plain. The coastal municipalities with limited lowland agricultural areas are Pandan and Caramoran. The more extensive lowlands are found in the southern parts of the province. The largest coastal plain is the contiguous wetlands of Viga, Panganiban and Bagamanoc over which lays the widest area of rice paddies and nipa mangroves.
The province is mostly rugged and mountainous terrain. Its slope characteristics are 13% gently sloping to undulating, 1% classified rolling to hilly, 2% very hills and mountains, 47% level to very gently sloping, 32% steep hills and mountainous, and 5% undulating to rolling. Ten of the eleven municipalities of the province are situated along the coastal fringes, over which locate its mostly fractured plains. The only landlocked municipality is San Miguel with its poblacion [town center] sitting in a location entirely devoid of flat lands. The majority of the built-up areas occupy zones that are classified as flat to rolling.
Weather and climate
Without a pronounced dry season, precipitation is distributed fairly well throughout the year becoming wetter in the last quarter into the early months of the first quarter, when tropical disturbances and monsoon winds especially the Northeast Monsoon (Amihan) bring in heavy rains. Other months are characterized by short periods of dryer days and fine weather except in July and August, when the dry and gusty northwest monsoon winds intensify.
Catanduanes' geographical position has it lying completely exposed to the Pacific Ocean. Therefore it is known as "Land of the Howling Winds" because it is frequently visited by tropical storms.
Flora and fauna
The island is a biodiversity hotspot. Its lush rainforest is home to Philippine brown deer, flying foxes, and other endemic bat species, warty pigs, civets, cobras, giant pythons, monitor lizards, sailfin lizards and other endemic animals. Exotic bird species such as Philippine hornbill, rail, parrot, bittern, egret, pheasant, coot, lapwing, plover, Philippine duck, quail, owl, oriole, kingfisher, swiftlets and many more are also found. In fact, a record of "Philippines Birding Trip Reports" has found out massive bird species in several portion of the island such as the watershed and timberland forests reserve in Gigmoto where scattered deer populations are also usually reported.
Unfortunately, one bird subspecies, the Catanduanes Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba luzonica rubiventris) had experienced over-exploitation in the late 20th century. Although most forests are still intact, this species has suffered over-hunting. It is very rare and believed to be near extinction or already extinct as its last reported specimen was collected in 1971.
The Southern giant slender-tailed cloud rat (budkon/bugkon) which is found only in Catanduanes and the southern half of Luzon Island, is still widely reported. It is critically endangered as humans hunt them for food and for some extent, as pets. In mainland Luzon, sightings of this wonderful creature is already rare while in Marinduque, it is generally considered extinct.
Inventory of the entomological fauna in the island has been conducted by various scientific institutions. A survey which was submitted in the national museum has revealed interesting species in forest reserve of Gigmoto and Pandan. A total of 2,000 entomological specimens and its allies were collected compromising 323 species under 45 genera and 50 families.
The Catanduanes narrow-mouthed frog (Kaloula kokacii), an arboreal amphibian which is found only in Catanduanes and some parts of Bicol, enjoys its diversity but being carefully monitored. Clearing of some forests may possess threat to amphibian species. The one stored in Philippine National Museum is taken from the Gigmoto Forest Reserve near Buadan River. Another amphibian Hylarana similis is found only in Catanduanes and Luzon islands. The published research by Brown and Siler in Journal of Biogeography (2013) actually reported this species in the forests of Gigmoto.
The rich dipterocarp forest also harbor numerous tropical plant species including the threatened species of pitcher plants and rafflesia as well as endemic banana varieties. Many highly economical hardwood tress such as yakal, apitong, palosapis, and molave are still found in the central forests though local reports indicate that these species are already threatened. Mangrove forests exist in several coastal areas but the largest locations are in Banquerohan (Viga-Panganiban), Agoho in San Andres and Batalay in Bato.
The marine environment of the island is also ecologically rich as its terrestrial zones. Some of its potential marine reserves and diving spots are Mamunglo Island reef in Bato, Macalanhog Island reef in Gigmoto, and several reef spots along the Bato-Baras-Gigmoto-Viga coastlines. Catanduanes reefs harbor many endangered and threatened types of mollusks such as giant Triton, cowries, abalone, cone snails, conches, octopuses, squids, and nautiluses. Marine mammals are also reported to frequent on its eastern coasts such as species of dolphins and whales which appear in March–June. Many edible marine algae such as caulerpa, valonia, and turbellaria also grow abundantly on its rough coasts.
The island is nestled in the very beginning of the Kuroshio Current; a sea current that runs through Eastern Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. This current performs an array of physical and biological functions in countless marine life like migration and breeding. This explains why migratory fish tracks are usually encountered in its waters. Tuna migration can be seen in Maqueda channel which is on its peak in the months of April and May. Dugongs were once known to swim on Catanduanes coasts but this event is already becoming extremely rare.
Catanduanes coast is one of the best spots for flying fish population; a flying fish can attain its fullest size in Catanduanes which may weigh 300 grams (11 oz). Rabbitfish, a kind of reef fish is one of the most heavily exploited marine tropical fish in Catanduanes. Its fry that comes out in shallow coasts during the breeding season (March–May) are fished in large volumes. Approximately 10 million rabbitfish fries are caught annually. That natural event supplies food for many people but its ecological impact can be devastating. Nature advocates started to strengthen their campaign for an eco-dialogue for this matter. Sea cucumbers are also known to be abundant in many islets of the eastern coasts facing the Pacific Ocean.
Palumbanes Island (a satellite island of Catanduanes) has one of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines known for its fine yellowish-white sand. It is also one of the most biodiversed marine zone of the island; however, coral reef exploitation has severely inflicted for the last 10 years on its waters. The local government and some sectors are already undergoing efforts to revive Palumbanes Island through building artificial reefs and employing fishing regulations.
Catanduanes is subdivided into 11 municipalities.
|San Andres (Calolbon)||38||16,731||33,781||35,779||213.8|
Catanduanes fishermen have always been linked to Benham Rise (a newly declared Philippine Territory in the Pacific Ocean). Catandunganon people have been calling it Kalipung-awan (loneliness in an isolated place). Benham Rise is an integral part of Catandunganon culture. Rich marine resources are usually given by this marine biodiversed zone to Catandunganons. In fact, Catandunganons have long been celebrating this place even in their ancient folksongs, stories and poetry.
|Population census of Catanduanes|
|Source: National Statistics Office|
In May 2000, its total population was 215,356 with an annual growth rate of 1.42% from 1990 to 2000, and a population density of 142 per sq. kilometer. Over the following 10 years the average annual growth rate was 1.35%, increasing the population to 246,300 persons in the May 2010 census. Almost all of the people of the province are natural born citizens. Naturalized citizens mostly Chinese and some other nationalities is only about one per cent of the population.
The number of households totaled 41,019 with an average household size of 5.25.
Roman Catholicism is the religion of the vast majority, comprising 97% of Catanduanes population. The remaining faith of Catandunganon people are divided with the various Protestant groups such as Baptists, Methodists, other Evangelical Christians, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Iglesia ni Cristo as well as Moslems.
Two dialects of the Bicol language are being spoken locally: Northern Catanduanes Bicolano and Southern Catanduanes Bicolano. The northern accent has a very pronounced letter R that becomes a diphthong of non-vowel letters L and R in the southern towns. In written form, the conventional mainland Bicol language is used. Tagalog, by virtue of being officially taught in schools and the affinity of most Bicolanos to it, is the second most common language and easily the most understood by people of all walks of life. English is the normal medium used in primary communications. The use of the Spanish as a local language seems to have vanished after the turn of the 21st century.
Migrants from Visayas and Mindanao regions far outnumber other ethnic groups. A good number of people of Chinese descent are also living in the province.
Traditions and inherited lifestyles are being slowly supplanted brought about by a high degree of exposure to the western culture. Significant shift in values, beliefs, morals and customs and outlook in life of younger and future generation will likely take place with the advent of digital information age. State-of-the-art technologies in Communication and Information unheard of in the last decade bring a wide range of information to an increasing number of island residents. Television sets link to satellite cable television system are now common in households notably in areas where local television broadcasts are not accessible, computers linked to the internet, satellite phone and cellular phone services are some of these technologies.
Festivals and Celebrations
- Catandungan Festival is an annual prime celebration of the island province. It is the anniversary celebration and tribute to its founders, to continuously remind the people of Catanduanes of the provinces' independence from the province of Albay. The main features of the festival are: Street Dancing - Pantomina Dance, Beauty Pageant, Agro-Trade Fair, Sports Fest, Guided Tour, Surfing Cup, Art/Photo Exhibits, Etc. It happens every 24th-26 October.
The folk festivals celebrated as part of the local religious rituals are with unique traces of the Spanish colonization. Among these festivals are:
- Dinahit Festival is a prime festival in the municipality of Pandan celebrated every April. The word Dinahit is a native sailing vessel used by the Austronesians to travel across the ocean to reach Pandan, the northernmost municipality of the province. The activities of the festival include street dancing, beauty pageant, trade fair, and different contests such as carabao race and boat race.
- Kalbaryo or Calvary which is commonly staged during the Holy Week is a reenactment of the passion of Christ’s way of the cross can be best seen in the Municipality of San Andres during Holy Wednesday and Good Friday of every year.
- Kagharong is a native depiction of the nativity scene is held every year during the yuletide season.
- Pantomina is purely a native dance, popular on occasions of importance. It is a dance interpretation (pantomime) of a rooster courting a hen. Pantomina dance is mostly practiced in rural areas.
- Padadyao sa Tinampo is purely native cultural presentation of street dancing held every 24 October to commemorate the province‘s founding anniversary.
- Sugbo Festival is a very recent addition to these traditional festivals. The notable contemporary event is celebrated by the seven barangays of Hitoma in Caramoran that produces sugbo or tiger grass - a bamboo like perennial grass used to make brooms. Celebrated every month of May coinciding with the Hitoma barangay fiesta, it is being institutionalized with the support of the provincial government, LGU of Caramoran and national line agencies to promote the commercial development of the local lasa or tiger grass industry and to create signature products from tiger grass.
The Philippine elementary school begins from Grade 1 to Grade 6. The high school program takes six years to finish, taken after graduating from elementary school. Virac is the main educational institute in the province. It has several colleges, institutes and a state university with a university branch in the northern town of the province and a number schools specializing in various courses such as Nursing, Engineering, Nautical courses, Business and Accounting, Education, Computer and IT and other professions. The most prominent are the Catanduanes State University (CSU) with campus in Panganiban, a northern municipality of the province, Catanduanes Colleges (CC), Catanduanes Institute of Technology Foundation (CITFI), and Christian Polytechnic Institute of Catanduanes (CPIC).
The Catanduanes State University located in Calatagan Virac, the capital town of Catanduanes. It was elevated to university status in October 2012. The Catanduanes State University (CSU) is an institution of higher learning in the province of Catanduanes in the Philippines. It was established on June 19, 1971 by virtue of Republic Act 6341,authored by the Catanduanes Congressman Jose M. Alberto, which converted the Virac National Agricultural and Trade School into the Catanduanes State Colleges. On July 8, 1972, Republic Act 6590 provided for opening of additional courses at CSC.
Agriculture, fishing and tourism is the other source of living in this beautiful island. Several handicrafts, jewelry manufacturing, other small-scale industries and manufacturing enterprises also one of the contributors to the province's economy. The province is rich in natural resources, forests, waterfalls, rivers, mineral deposits and productive soil made fertile by volcanic ashes of distant Mayon Volcano. Rattancraft, fishing, buri hat and mat making and abaca fiber craft are its most and among the important industries of the island.
Virac, the capital town of the island was among the top in terms of infrastructure in 2012 Most Competitive Municipality category according to the National Competitiveness Council (NCC).
From 2001 through 2010, the Philippines production of abaca fiber (Manila hemp) averaged 65,701 mt per year and had been decreasing at a minimal rate of 0.8% per annum caused by the devastating typhoons in 2006 coupled with abaca viral diseases that continued to affect the plantations as well as the dampened foreign demand brought about by the global economic recession beginning in the latter part of 2008, considered as the most severe downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Production reached its peak in 2008 at 77,387 mt as outputs of all producing regions, particularly Bicol, Davao Region and Caraga, substantially increased during the period. This was primarily the effect of the incremental production from the abaca plantations established in 2005 and 2006 under FIDA’s program Goal I “Development of New Agri-Business Lands” and the continued strong demand and attractive prices offered for the fiber by local traders, processors/manufacturers and exporters. The abaca industry, however, suffered a setback in 2009 when fiber yield slumped to its lowest level of 54,584 mt due to the weakened market demand and falling prices as a consequence of the worldwide financial crisis.
Then year 2009, Bicol Region emerged as the biggest producer of abaca, and the Island province of Catanduanes remained the biggest producer of Manila Hemp in the country. The home of the finest grade of abaca fiber.
Tourism Industry in the province is relatively growing despite of almost year round typhoon, naming the province as a "Typhoon Capital of the Philippines" with a tagline "The Land of the Howling Winds". Catanduanes is famous for its unspoiled beaches, pre-historic caves, exotic places, quaint stone chapels and massive churches. Despite the typhoons, safe anchorage are provided by its many bays and coves notably Kalapalan, Gigmoto, Soboc and Cabugao. Its Pacific coastlines are havens for surfers. Known as the home to the "Majestic Waves," this slice of surfer paradise in idyllic Baras, Catanduanes is the perfect spot for guests who want to enjoy riding the waves in a secluded, pristine setting.
Catanduanes Island is the native habitat of the endemic abaca plant (a banana relative) which is globally renowned for its strong fiber. In fact, the Philippines FIDA (Fiber Industry Development Authority) declared the island as the highest abaca producing province in 2010.
By comparison, the prevailing peace and order situation in the province is much better than that of the other provinces in the region. This is attributed to the inherent affable character of the Catandunganons, the all-out government support and a vigilant religious hierarchy. To arrest attempts of criminal elements to make the province a market for illegal drugs, the police force with the support of LGUs launched a massive information campaign for a better-informed citizenry.
Police Services - The Philippine National Police in the province is composed of the local police force and the fire brigade’s services. Among its objectives, the PNP organizes missions to protect lives and property, enforce laws and maintain peace and order; to prevent crimes and to investigate the commission of all crimes and offenses and to bring the offender to justice; And finally, to take the necessary measures to prevent and control fires and to maintain public safety.
The prevailing peace and order remains the best argument for promoting the province. The province crime rate is 6.39 in 2006. Crime volume over the same period was 191.
By air, Mon-Wed-Fri-Sun flights are available from Manila to Virac Airport which takes less than an hour flight by commercial jet.
Over land, a 12-hour bus ride from Manila to Tabaco in Albay province, is needed to cover the 580 km (360 mi) distance. Several ferry services in Port of Tobacco offers connection to San Andres which takes about 2½ hours or go Virac Seaport, at 3½ hours.
Notable people from Catanduanes
- Carmen Camacho - 1960s Philippine Kundiman Diva
- Bernabe Concepcion - Filipino featherweight boxer
- Jose Tomas Sanchez - Roman Catholic Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy and Cardinal Priest from the Philippines
- Shalani Soledad - Politician and TV personality
- Francisco Tatad - former Senator of the Philippines (1992-2001)
- Mike Velarde - Tele-evangelist, Founder and Servant-Leader of El Shaddai DWXI-PPFI
- "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities". 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 2013-01-21.
- "Brief Historical Background". About Catanduanes. Retrieved on 2012-04-17.
- "Province: Catanduanes". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Dinahit Festival". About Catanduanes. Retrieved on 2012-04-17.
- Tiger Grass. Flowers of India. Retrieved on 2010-06-12.
- Reaching Catanduanes. Catanduanes Island Promotion. Retrieved on 2010-06-11.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Catanduanes.|
- Official website of the Provincial Government of Catanduanes
- DILG Regional Office No. 5 (Bicol Region)
- Region V Local Government Units
- DILG Region V Provincial Offices
- Local / Bicolano Radio Stations Online
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- Philippine Census Information
- Discover Catanduanes
- Catanduanes Information Online
- Fiber Industry Development Authority
- The Most Competitive in the Philippines
|Camarines Sur / Maqueda Channel||Philippine Sea|
|Albay / Lagonoy Gulf||Philippine Sea|