Bicol Region

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Bicol Region
Region V
Nickname(s): Kabikolan; Bicolandia
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Country Philippines
Island group Luzon
Regional center Legazpi
 • Total 18,054.3 km2 (6,970.8 sq mi)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 5,420,411
 • Density 300/km2 (780/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ISO 3166 code PH-05
Provinces 6
Cities 7
Municipalities 107
Barangays 3,471
Cong. districts 14
Languages Bikol, Albayano, Masbateño, Rinconada, Pandan Bikol, Sorsoganon, Tagalog
Website Bicol Region Official Website

Coordinates: 13°30′N 123°20′E / 13.500°N 123.333°E / 13.500; 123.333 The Bicol Region (Filipino: Kabikulan; Spanish: Bicolandia) is one of the 17 Regions of the Philippines, designated as Region V. Bicol (also spelled Bikol) comprises four provinces in the Bicol Peninsula: the southeastern end of Luzon island, and two island-provinces adjacent to the peninsula, namely: Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.[2] The regional capital, political/administrative center, and largest city is Legazpi.[3][4] Legazpi City is also considered as the center of tourism, education, health services, commerce[5] and transportation[6] in the Bicol Region.


The Bicol Region is located in the southernmost tip of Luzon Island, the largest island in the Philippine archipelago. The total land area of the region is derived from the summation of provincial areas from the table below which or 5.9% of the total land area of the country. Around 69.3% of the total land area is alienable and disposable while the remaining 30.7% is public forest areas."Overview of Bicol Region". Department of Agriculture Web Site; retrieved 22 May 2012.

The region is bounded by Lamon Bay to the north, Pacific Ocean to the east, and Sibuyan Sea and Ragay Gulf to the west. The northernmost province, Camarines Norte, is bordered to the north by the province of Quezon, connecting the region to the rest of Luzon.



The Bicol region was known as Ibalon, variously interpreted to derive form ibalio, "to bring to the other side"; ibalon, "people from the other side" or "people who are hospitable and give visitors gifts to bring home"; or as a corruption of Gibal-ong, a sitio of Magallanes, Sorsogon where the Spaniards first landed in 1567. The Bicol River was first mentioned in Spanish Documents in 1572. The region was also called "Los Camarines" after the huts found by the Spaniards in Camalig, Albay. No prehistoric animal fossils have been discovered in Bicol and the peopling of the region remains obscure. The Aeta from Camarines Sur to Sorsogon strongly suggest that aborigines lived there long ago, but earliest evidence is of middle to late Neolithic life.[7]

A barangay (village) system was in existence by 1569. Records show no sign of Islamic rule nor any authority surpassing the datu (chieftain). Precolonial leadership was based on strength, courage, and intelligence. The native seemed apolitical. Thus the datu's influence mattered most during crises like wars. Otherwise, early Bicol society remained family centered, and the leader was the head of the family.

Colonial era[edit]

Spanish occupation[edit]

The Spanish influence in Bicol resulted mainly from the efforts of Augustinian and Franciscan Spanish missionaries. The first churches in Bicol, the San Francisco Church, and the Naga Cathedral, both in Naga City , along with the Holy Cross Parish in Nabua, Camarines Sur are instituted by the Holy Order of the Franciscans. of the oldest dioceses in the Philippines, the Archdiocese of Caceres, was also instituted in the Bicol Region.


Population census of Bicol
Year Pop. ±%
1990 3,910,001 —    
2000 4,686,669 +19.9%
2010 5,420,411 +15.7%
Source: National Statistics Office[8]


Further information: Bikol language

The people of the Bicol region, called Bicolanos, speak any of the several languages of the Bikol sociolinguistic language, also called Bikolano, an Austronesian language closely related to other Central Philippine languages such as Cebuano and Tagalog. Bicol languages include the Inland Bikol of Bikol-Rinconada (Iriga City area), Bikol-Cam. Sur (Buhi, Cam. Sur; Libon, Oas, Daraga, Albay and Donsol, Sorsogon), Bikol-Pandan (Northern Catanduanes). Standard Bikol is based from the coastal Bikol language of the dialect of Legazpi City. Bikol Central is most centralized of all the dialects. Bikol is the dominant language of the region. The Filipino language (Tagalog) is also spoken in northern parts of Camarines Norte as well as in the municipality of Del Gallego, Camarines Sur. Two Visayan languages, Sorsoganon and Masbateño or Minasbate, are spoken in Masbate and Sorsogon; they are collectively referred to as Bisakol.[citation needed]

Celebration of Our Lady of Peñafrancia


The region retains Roman Catholicism as the overwhelming religion of the great majority. The Catholic religion has the highest number of followers than any other area in the Philippines. The Catholic church grew in the Bicol Region through the efforts of the Bishops from Nueva Caceres(Naga City) from the late 14th century until the Philippine Revolution(1898). Naga, Camarines Sur is the religious center of the Bicol Region. The region houses one of the oldest dioceses in the Philippines, the ecclesiastical Archdiocese of Caceres which is centered in Naga, Camarines Sur. Other dioceses include are the Dioceses of Legazpi, Sorsogon, Daet, Masbate, Libmanan and Virac. Fiestas (Feast day of saints) are annual celebrations of parishes, from a simple barrio fiesta honoring a patron associated for good harvest, to a town fiesta honoring a miraculous saint, a diocesan fiesta like the feast of Our Lady of Salvation, or a regional one such as the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Fiesta, the largest Marian devotion in Asia, a week-long celebration to honor the Virgin Mary, dubbed as the "Patroness of Bicolandia". It is widely acknowledged that in Luzon, it is Bicol Region that holds the most number of men entering the seminary for Catholic priesthood, or women entering the religious life to become Catholic nuns. This can be accredited to the Holy Rosary Seminary, Daughters of Mary, and Daughters of Charity Convents in Naga City.


  • Coron Festival

A showcase of events highlighted by a street presentation participated in by the town’s different public and private schools and sectors gives a week of fun and merriment to visitors and locals. Held every third week of August in Tiwi, the religious package of devotion and prayer in honor of Albay’s patroness, Nuestra Señora de Salvacion (Our Lady of Salvation), is the peak event of the festival, colorfully drawing thousands of devotees and religious groups through a long maritime procession of different local sea vessels on the sea spray of the serene Pacific Ocean going to the quiet barangay of Joroan, the home of the miraculous image.

  • Ibalong Festival

Is a non-religious festival in Legazpi City, Albay, Philippines and is held during August.

  • Kadagatan Festival

Formerly called the Bancathon race, the festival is a water sport activity participated in by fishermen from the different municipalities of Albay aimed to give recognition and at the same time provide a venue to the fishermen to show their strength, skills, and contributions to the socio-economic development of the region. Held in Bacacay every black Saturday.

  • Kamundagan Festival

Naga City celebrates the Kamundagan Festival every Christmas time. It begins with the lighting of the Christmas Village in the Plaza Quezon Grandstand. After the lighting of the Christmas Village, six locally handmaid stars, known locally as parols are lighted with different meanings. Love, progress, peace, happiness, prosperity, and joy symbolize the stars. The giant Christmas tree is lighted 2 weeks before Christmas. Every night, different fantasy-themed Christmas shows are held in the Plaza Quezon. A Grand Christmas Bazaar is also held near the Cathedral, exhibiting different talents in Magic, Trickery, Beauty, and Brains. The Bazaar also has some stores that sell locally made Christmas themed products for visitor.[9][10]

  • Katalingkasan Festival

The festivity retraces the valiant story of the virgins of the town who worked hard in making Libon as one of the earliest settlements in Albay. Featured activities are trade fairs, shows, and street dancing. Held every second week of July.

  • Kinalas Festival

Naga City celebrates Kinalas Festival during its yearly anniversary of Chartership or Cityhood. It honors the most famous local delicacies, the Kinalas, and Siling Labuyo, with it having a food contest. Also known as Charter Day Festival, different organizations and schools, compete in Sports and Academics, as sponsored by the local government.[11]

  • Magayon Festival

In admiration of the Majestic Mayon’s beauty and splendor, this festival is dubbed as Magayon, a Bikol term which means beautiful.[12]

Fluvial Procession for Our Lady of Peñafrancia
  • Our Lady of Peñafrancia Festival

The feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is celebrated on the third Saturday of September in Naga City, Bicol Philippines. All roads and routes will lead to Naga City in Camarines Sur where six million Bicolanos from here and abroad will flock to that progressive city to pay honor to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, miraculous patroness of the Bicol Region. Bicolanos from all walks of life will be in Naga City to meet their relatives and partidarios, share food, drinks, and prayers with them, and most of all, to pay homage and make thanksgiving to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, whom the Bicolanos fondly call Ina. Through the Franciscans, the annual feast of the Virgin of Peñafrancia, the Patroness of Bicolandia, was instituted. Fr. Miguel Robles asked a local artist to carve a replica of the statue of the Virgin in Salamanca; now, the statue is celebrated through an annual fluvial procession and regional feast in Naga City.[13][14] The Regional Civic Parade,[15] Regional Military Parade[16][17] are also held on the feast.

  • Pagsuwak Festival

The act of thanksgiving for Guinobatan’s growth, development, and progress, fitted in with the people’s gesture of offering for the bountiful harvest. Held every 9th-15 August.

  • Rodeo Masbateño Festival

Is an annual event which takes place in Masbate City which showcases skills in livestock handling, such as lassoing, wrestling, and riding cattle. Also included in the event are a fair and exhibitions and trade of cattle and horses. The event has taken place every summer since 1993 in the province of Masbate, which is traditionally considered the “Cattle Country of the Philippines.”

  • Salingoy Festival

Salingoy is a Bikol term that literally means looking back. A century of devotion (1901-2001) to one of Bacacay’s patron saints, Nuestra Señora de los Samparados, Salingoy Festival came into being, a centennial commemoration of unbroken reverence to God’s blessings and bounty. Salingoy looks back with humility by reminiscing into the richness of fidelity to Our Lady (Holy Mother Mary) and to relive Bacacay’s historical, socio-cultural, and religious heritage. Held every August 9 up to 15.

  • Sarung Banggi

An annual fun-filled eight-day summer festivity immortalizing the timeless love song Sarung Banggi, and a tribute to its composer, Potenciano V. Gregorio. Held every 18th - 25 May in Sto. Domingo, the Sarung Banggi festival showcases a variety of cultural and religious activities. The entire colorful performance is shown at nighttime when the street parade routes are brightly lighted with large torches. The whole town becomes a true picture of rural life with the multitude of people occupying the streets to watch and join the nighttime merriment.

  • Tinagbuan Festival

This festivity is in honor of the city’s patron saint, St. Stephen Protomartyr held every Christmas Day. Tinagbuan, from the term tagbuan, which means converging point, is exactly the essence of this festival as it enables Ligaoeños to come back to Ligao for a blessed reunion with their families and friends. The festival’s highlight is the street dance presentation.

Political division[edit]

Political map of Bicol Region

The region is composed of six provinces: Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon and the island-provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate. It has one independent component city, Naga City, and six component citiesIriga, Legazpi, Ligao, Masbate City, Sorsogon City, and Tabaco City. Masbate and Sorsogon are cities in their eponymous provinces. As of 2010, Camarines Sur is the largest province in area and population, occupying 5,481.6 km2 (2,116.5 sq mi) or around 30.4% of the total land area with a population of 1,822,371. Catanduanes is the smallest in area as well as population with only 1,511.5 km2 (583.6 sq mi) or 8.4% of the total regional area and a population of 246,300.[1]

The administrative center of the region is Legazpi.[2]


Provinces Capital No. of
ZIP Code Governor
Ph seal albay.png Albay Legazpi 3 2,552.60 1,233,432 4500-4517 Joey Salceda
Ph seal camarines norte.png Camarines Norte Daet 0 2,320.07 542,915 4600-4612 Edgardo Tallado
Ph seal camarines sur.png Camarines Sur
2 5,481.60 1,822,371 4400-4436 Luis Miguel Villafuerte III
Ph seal catanduanes.png Catanduanes Virac 0 1,511.50 246,300 4800-4810 Celly Wong
Ph seal masbate.png Masbate Masbate City 1 4,047.07 834,650 5400-5421 Rizalina L. Seachon-Lañete
Sorsogon City Seal.png Sorsogon Sorsogon City 1 2,141.45 740,743 4700-4715 Raul Lee


City Provinces City Class Income Class Population
Irigaseal.png Iriga Camarines Sur Component 3rd Class 105,919 137.35 Ronald Felix Y. Alfelor
Ph seal legazpicity.png Legazpi Albay Component 2nd Class 182,201 153.70 Noel E Rosal
Ligao Albay Component 4th Class 104,914 246.75 Patricia Gonzales-Alsua
Masbate City Masbate Component 4th Class 85,227 188.00 Rowena Rejuso-Tuason
Naga, Camarines Sur official seal 2011.jpg Naga Camarines Sur Independent
2nd Class 174,391 84.48 John G. Bongat
Sorsogon City Seal.png Sorsogon City Sorsogon Component 3rd Class 155,144 276.11 Sally Ante-Lee
Tabaco Albay Component 4th Class 125,083 117.14 Marie V Demetriou


Bicol region is volcanic in origin and part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Known as the Bicol Volcanic Arc or Chain, the volcanoes are the results of the Philippine Sea Plate subducting under the Philippine Mobile Belt, along the Philippine Trench. Volcanism is evident by the number of hot springs, crater lakes, and volcanoes that dot the region starting from Mount Labo in Camarines Norte to the Gate Mountains in Matnog, Sorsogon.[18]

Mayon Volcano is the most prominent of the volcanoes in the region, famous for its almost perfect conical shape and for being the most active in the Philippines. Its eruptions have repeatedly inflicted disasters on the region, but during lulls in activity, it is a particularly beautiful mountain. The southernmost tip of the peninsula is dominated by Bulusan Volcano, the other active volcano in the region. Tiwi in Albay and the Bacon-Manito area between Sorsogon and Albay are the sites of two major geothermal fields that contribute substantially to the Luzon Power Grid.[19][20]


From North to South

Photo Name
Philippines 2006 338.jpg Mount Isarog is a 1,966-metre (6,450 ft) fumarolic volcano with a 2.5-kilometre (1.6 mi) wide crater breached to the east.[21] The mountain and vicinity covering 10,112 hectares (24,990 acres) is a protected area in the Bicol Region under the name Mount Isarog Natural Park.[22]
Mount Iriga.jpg Mount Iriga is a 1,196-metre (3,924 ft) volcano with a large horseshoe-shaped collapsed crater located adjacent to Lake Buhi (foreground).[23]
Mount Malinao.jpg Mount Malinao is a 1,548-metre (5,079 ft) volcano with a large crater about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) at its widest, which is breached to the east, The geothermal fields of Tiwi are located on its lower eastern slope.[24]
Masaraga.jpg Mount Masaraga is a sharp-topped 1,328-metre (4,357 ft) Holocene volcano NW of Mayon.[25]
Mayon 0006.jpg Mayon Volcano, the highest at 2,463 metres (8,081 ft), is also the most popular in the region for its beautifully symmetrical cone. It is also the most active in the country.[26] The volcano is one of the protected areas of Region V under the name Mayon Volcano Natural Park encompassing 5,776 hectares (14,270 acres).[22]
Pocdolberge.jpg Pocdol Mountains with its highest elevation at 1,102 metres (3,615 ft), is a fumarolic group of volcanoes situated between Albay and Sorsogon provinces. It is the location of the Bac-Man Geothermal Power Plant and the PNOC Eco-Park, a 25,100-hectare (62,000-acre) ecotourism park maintained and protected by the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC).[27][28]
Mt-Bulusan.jpg Bulusan Volcano, the other active volcano of the region, has an altitude of 1,565 metres (5,135 ft). It is located on the remains of the 11-kilometre (6.8 mi) Irosin Caldera.[29] The volcano is a protected area and the centerpiece of the 3,672-hectare (9,070-acre) Bulusan Volcano Natural Park.[22]


Bicol Region has a large amount of rich flat land, and agriculture is the largest component of the economy, followed by commercial fishing. Coconuts, abaca, banana, coffee and jack-fruit are the top five permanent crops in the region. Rice and corn are among the chief seasonal crops. Mining is also one of the contributors to the region's economy.[30]

Bicol Region has a large amount of rich flat land, and agriculture is the largest component of the economy with close to 50% depending their livelihood on the industry. Coconuts, abaca, banana, coffee, and jackfruit are the top five permanent crops in the region. Rice and maize are among the chief seasonal crops of the region. Commercial fishing is also important with thirteen major fishing grounds supplying fish markets in places as far as Metro Manila. Agriculture and fishing are the major factors in the province's economy. Mining is also one of the contributors to the region's economy.


High schools[edit]

Legazpi City:

  • Ago Medical and Education Center, Science High School
  • Aquinas University - Science High School
  • Arimbay National High School
  • Banquerohan National High School
  • Christian Heritage Baptist Academy
  • Divine World College - High School
  • Dynamic Computer Science High School
  • Cabangan National High School
  • Forbes Academy
  • Global Two Wings Foundation School of Legazpi
  • Gogon High School
  • Holy Child's Amazing Grace Learning Center
  • Homapon High School
  • Legazpi Adventist Elementary School
  • Legazpi Chong Hua Institute of Technology
  • Legazpi City High School
  • Legazpi Hope Christian School
  • MABA Computer Oriented High School
  • Maslog High School
  • Mission Montessori Child Center
  • Nazarene Elementary and Kindergarten School
  • PRO5 Learning Center
  • Reyes Computer Oriented High School
  • Reyes Laboratory School and Tutorial Center
  • Saint Roche Learning Center
  • Oro Site National High School
  • Pag-asa National High School
  • Pawa High School
  • The PEP Center Foundation
  • St. Agnes Academy
  • St. Peter's and Paul Early Childhood Center
  • St.Raphael Academy
  • St. Therese of the Child Jesus Learning of Legazpi City
  • SPED Center Regional SPED Center
  • Tanchuling Computer Oriented High School
  • Sta. Magdalena National High School
  • Taysan Resettlement Integrated School[31][32][33]

Naga City:


Iriga City:

  • Rinconada National Technical Vocational School
  • Zeferino Arroyo High School
  • Perpetual Help High School
  • Sagrada High School
  • Sto. Niño High School
  • San Antonio High School
  • Modern Learning Center

List of universities and colleges[edit]


Legazpi City:

  • Ago Medical and Educational Center-Bicol Christian College of Medicine
  • AMA Computer University
  • Aquinas University
  • Bicol University - Main and College of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Computer Arts Technological College
  • Computer Communication Development Institute
  • Computer Systems Institute
  • De Vera Institute of Technology
  • Divine Word College
  • Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center
  • Forbes College
  • Genecom Institute of Science and Technology
  • Informatics Computer Institute Legazpi
  • MABA Computer Oriented High School & College Laboratory and Tutorial Center Foundation
  • Mariner's Polytechnic Colleges Foundation
  • Southern Luzon Technological College Foundation
  • STI College
  • Tanchuling College[38]

Camarines Norte:

Camarines Sur:

Naga City:

  • Ateneo de Naga University (ADNU)
  • University of Nueva Caceres (UNC)
  • Universidad de Santa Isabel (USI)
  • Naga College Foundation(NCF)
  • Bicol College of Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST)
  • Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation
  • AMA Computer University (Bicol Campus)
  • STI College (Naga Campus)
  • Philippine Computer Foundation College Inc. (Naga Campus)
  • Camarines Sur Community College
  • Worldtech Resources Institute Inc. (Naga Campus)
  • Naga View Adventist College
  • Brentwood College of Asia International School
  • Computer Communication Development Institute (Naga Campus)
  • The Raya School-Naga Campus[39][40]

Iriga City:

  • University of Saint Anthony
  • University of Northeastern Philippines
  • La Consolacion College
  • Worldtech Resources Institute (WRI)
  • AMA Computer Learning Center (ACLC)
  • Systems Technologies Institute (STI)
  • Global I.T.
  • Ceguera Technological College
  • Oliveros College





Whale shark spotting in Donsol, Sorsogon

The region's tourism industry has been revived by the popularity of Mayon Volcano, the new CamSur Water Sports Complex, whale shark spotting, among others, which consequently increased the number of upscale resorts. Naga City has its colonial churches, and pilgrimages to Our Lady of Peñafrancia.[41][42][43]

The municipality of Daet and Catanduanes province have long been destinations for surfers.[44] The opening of the Southern Luzon International Airport in Legazpi City, which is under construction, is hoped to further boost tourism in the region.


Large media networks such as ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network, GMA Network, Inc., TV5, National Broadcasting Network,Pacific Broadcasting Systems and RPN9 maintain their respective local stations and branches for viewership, commercial and news coverage purposes. Most of these stations broadcast local news and public affairs as well as entertainment and dramas to cater the local viewers.

Cable television operators are putting up cable TV stations in an effort to spread the TV signals all over the region. They also offer free worldwide array of television stations for various channels for news, sports, drama, cartoons, and advertisements.

Television networks

News Programs


Local newspaper Bicol Standard

Notable Bicolanos[edit]


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  19. ^ "Our Geothermal Projects". Energy Development Corporation; retrieved 1 August 2011.
  20. ^ (2009-01-20). "The Tiwi Geothermal Plant". Gallery; retrieved 1 August 2011.
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  22. ^ a b c "Protected areas of Region 5". Bureau of Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau; retrieved 22 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Iriga". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
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External links[edit]