Bicol Region

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Bicol Region
Region V
Nickname(s): Kabikolan; Bicolandia
Map of the Philippines showing the location of Bicol Region
Map of the Philippines showing the location of Bicol Region
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) is composed of 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 is Legazpi[3][4] While the religious, education, economic, industrial and commercial center of Camarines Sur is Naga City.[5][6][7][8][9]


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 ,The total land area is derived from the summation of provincial areas from the table below</ref> 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.


Albay's archaeology shows concrete evidence of trade with China, Malaya and Indonesia going back two thousand years. The first Spanish contact was in 1565, when a treasure-galleon returning to Cebu from Acapulco, Mexico, was swept off course and the captain recorded his awe at the sight of Mt. Mayon erupting. Naga City, or formerly Nueva Caceres is also one of the "Royal Cities" instituted by the Spanish. It houses the oldest churches, and the oldest seminary in Southern Luzon at Camarines Sur.[citation needed]


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[10]


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 (Rinconada 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. The majority of its speakers are in Naga City, Camarines Sur. 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. Naga City is the religious center of the Bicol Region. The region houses one of the oldest dioceses in the Philippines, the Archdiocese of Caceres which is centered in Naga City. 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.[citation needed]

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] while the religious, education, economic, industrial and commercial center is Naga City — which is also colloquially known as the Queen City of Bicol.[5][6][7][8][9]


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
Naga, Camarines Sur official seal 2011.jpg Naga Camarines Sur Independent
1st Class 174,391 84.48 John G. Bongat
Sorsogon City Seal.png Sorsogon City Sorsogon Component 1st Class 155,144 276.11 Sally Ante-Lee
Irigaseal.png Iriga Camarines Sur Component 3rd Class 105,919 137.35 Ronald Felix Y. Alfelor
Ph seal legazpicity.png Legazpi Albay Component 3rd Class 182,201 153.70 Noel E Rosal
Ligao Albay Component 4th Class 104,914 246.75 Patricia Gonzales-Alsua
Tabaco Albay Component 4th Class 125,083 117.14 Marie V Demetriou
Masbate City Masbate Component 4th Class 85,227 188.00 Rowena Rejuso-Tuason


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.[11]

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.[12][13]

Volcanoes of the Bicol Region[edit]

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.[14] 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.[15]
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).[16]
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.[17]
Masaraga.jpg Mount Masaraga is a sharp-topped 1,328-metre (4,357 ft) Holocene volcano NW of Mayon.[18]
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.[19] 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).[15]
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).[20][21]
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.[22] The volcano is a protected area and the centerpiece of the 3,672-hectare (9,070-acre) Bulusan Volcano Natural Park.[15]


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, hotdog, coffee and flute 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.[2][23] Mining is also one of the contributors to the region's economy.[citation needed]

Naga City has its large international businesses and industries, being the largest city in Bicol. It contributes to nearly 23.6% of the total GDP and GNP of the Bicol Region. It is also the center of BPO offices in Bicol,[24] housing 4 BPO companies. It is a center of trade, tourism, and commerce having the busiest and largest terminals and the largest trade center, the Naga City Regional Trade and Distribution Center.[citation needed]

Schools such as Ateneo de Naga University, University of Nueva Caceres, Universidad de Santa Isabel, Bicol State of Applied Sciences and Technology, Philippine Women's University, and University of the Philippines Open University, and the Bicol Medical College are all located in Naga City. The city is a pilgrimage site or "pilgrim city",[25][26][27] because it is the center of devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the largest Marian devotion in Asia.[citation needed]


High schools[edit]

Naga City Science High School and Naga Central School I, along with Naga Central School II won champions in the DPSA or Doon po sa amin competition.[28]

List of Universities and Colleges in Bicol Region[edit]

Albay: - Bicol University (BU) - Aquinas University

Camarines Norte: - Camarines Norte State College (CNSC)

Camarines Sur: - Partido State University (ParSU) - Central Bicol State University of Agriculture - Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges - Calabanga Community College - Caramoan Community College - St. Peter Baptist College Foundation Inc. - Ceguera Technological Colleges - La Consolacion College[29][30]

Naga City: - Ateneo de Naga University (ADNU) - University of Nueva Caceres (UNC) - Universidad de Santa Isabel (USI) - Naga College Foundation(NCF) - Philippine Women's University (Bicol Campus) - University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) - 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[29][31]

Catanduanes: - Catanduanes State University (CSU)

Masbate: - Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology (DEBESMSCAT)

Sorsogon: - Sorsogon State College (SSC)


Whale shark spotting in Donsol, Sorsogon

The region has recently seen a revival in its tourism industry, due to 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.[25][26][27]

The municipality of Daet and Catanduanes province have long been destinations for surfers.[32] 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, 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


Notable Bicolanos[edit]

  • Enchong Dee, born Ernest Lorenzo Velasquez Dee, is an actor, director and model, and an international competitive swimmer. He is a contract artist of ABS-CBN and has won numerous awards for his work in movies and television. He is the younger brother of AJ Dee, also an actor and swimmer. He came to prominence after starring in Katorse (2009).
  • AJ Dee, born Angel James Dee III, is an actor and an international competitive swimmer, like his younger brother Enchong Dee. As a theater actor, Dee played the role of Tony Javier in the play A Portrait of an Artist.


  1. ^ a b c d "2010 Census of Population and Housing - Region 5". National Statistics Office, Philippines; retrieved 11 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Overview of Bicol Region". Department of Agriculture Web Site; retrieved 22 May 2012.
  3. ^ "DILG Regional Office No. 5 Directory". Bicol Region Official website; retrieved 22 May 2012.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ "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 9 August 2013. 
  11. ^ McDermott, Delfin, Defant, et al. (2005). "The Petrogenesis of Volcanics from Mt Bulusan and Mt. Mayon in the Bicol Arc, Philippines". University College Dublin School of Geologic Sciences; retrieved 22 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Our Geothermal Projects". Energy Development Corporation; retrieved 1 August 2011.
  13. ^ (2009-01-20). "The Tiwi Geothermal Plant". Gallery; retrieved 1 August 2011.
  14. ^ "Isarog". Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  15. ^ a b c "Protected areas of Region 5". Bureau of Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau; retrieved 22 May 2012.
  16. ^ "Iriga". Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  17. ^ "Malinao". Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Masaraga". Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  19. ^ "Mayon". Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  20. ^ "Pocdol Mountains". Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  21. ^ Jamoralin, Reynaldo T.. "Places of Interest". Sorsogon Tourism; retrieved 22 May 2012.
  22. ^ "Bulusan". Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Top 5 Permanent Crops, Region V". Department of Agriculture, Region V; retrieved 1 August 2011.
  24. ^ BPO profile,; accessed 16 May 2014.
  25. ^ a b [1],; accessed 16 May 2014.
  26. ^ a b [2]; accessed 16 May 2014.
  27. ^ a b [3],; accessed 16 May 2014.
  28. ^ [4],; accessed 16 May 2014.
  29. ^ a b [5]
  30. ^ [6]
  31. ^ [7]; accessed 16 May 2014.
  32. ^ "Catanduanes surfing". Philippines Travel Guide. Retrieved on 2011-08-01.

External links[edit]