Nabua, Camarines Sur

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Parish of the Holy Cross Church.JPG
Official seal of Nabua
Map of Camarines Sur showing the location of Nabua
Map of Camarines Sur showing the location of Nabua
Nabua is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 13°24′5″N 123°22′35″E / 13.40139°N 123.37639°E / 13.40139; 123.37639Coordinates: 13°24′5″N 123°22′35″E / 13.40139°N 123.37639°E / 13.40139; 123.37639
Country Philippines
Region Bicol (Region V)
Province Camarines Sur
District 4th district
Founded July 25, 1569
Barangays 42
 • Mayor Delia C. Simbulan (Lakas-CMD)
 • Total 96.20 km2 (37.14 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 80,111
 • Density 830/km2 (2,200/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 4434
Dialing code 54
Income class 1st class; partially urban

Nabua is a first class municipality in the province of Camarines Sur, Philippines.[2] According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 80,111 people.[3]

Nabua is the mother town of Iriga City, Buhi, Bato, Balatan, Bula and Baao in Camarines Sur. Nabua has five districts: Antacudos, Binoyoan, Caobnan, Lupa and Sabang.

Nabua is home of the modern kuntaw,[4] and jota rojana.[5]


The Municipality of Nabua traces the historical origin of its name way back during the Spanish Colonization. It was said that in 1571, an Augustinian Friar named Fray Alonzo Gimenez reached one of the rancherias called Lupa which was then under Datu Panga from Borneo. The good friar found persons inside the said rancheria cutting coconuts. He was offered to partake the inside shoot of coconut which the natives called “BOA”. Immediately, the good friar tagged the place as “NABUA” pronounced with his Spanish Accent. From that time onwards this place become popularly known as NABUA.

In another version, a historian named Fray Felix Huerta claimed that the name came from the story that the original sitio of the town is in the shape of the “BOA”, young embryo of the coconut which was surrounded by five rancherias named Lupa, Antacodos, Sabang, Caobnan and Binoyoan. Other believe otherwise and said it was centrally located in the middle of said rancherias thus closely resembling a delicious “BOA” which children loved to eat. For a time, the town was called “NABOBOWA” but years of long usage shortened and corrupted it to the present name of NABUA.

In 1578, a group of Franciscan missionaries headed by Fray Pablo de Jesus and Fray Bartolome Ruiz put up a church in a place known as Antacodos and there they placed a big cross. These missionaries soon merged the villages of Lupa, Antacodos, Sabang and Binoyoan into one place, which at present is known as the town of Nabua. The name Nabua was originally a longer one, Naboboa, from boa, the word for a young coconut embryo.

In a research mission to Spain funded by the municipality, it was learned that Nabua was officially established as a municipality on July 25, 1569.


The municipality of Nabua ranges approximately 123.25–123.39° east longitude and 13.35–13.42° north latitude. It is bounded on the north by the municipality of Baao and Bula; on the south by the municipality of Bato; on the east by Iriga City; and on the west by the municipality of Balatan. The municipality is an established growth center in the southeast part of Camarines Sur Province or the midsection of Bicol River Basin Area. Along the Legazpi-Iriga-Naga-Daet Growth Corridor or LINDGC, the municipality is located about 53 kilometers from Legazpi City which is the Regional Center; 37.0 kilometers from Naga City which is a major urban center; 135 kilometers from Daet which is a secondary Urban Center and only 2.0 kilometers from Iriga City which is a minor urban center.


The municipality of Nabua possesses a climate belonging to the 4th type wherein rainfalls are more or less evenly distributed throughout the years. Its rainfall is classified as TYPE B or HUMID characterized by rains well or evenly distributed throughout the year with at most three dry months. General wind direction prevailing the municipality is from northeast to southwest at an average velocity of eight knots.

The municipality has a dry, a cold, and a wet season. From June to November, the town experiences heavy rains. The cold season comes every December to February. Then, from March to May, the dry season commences.


The municipality of Nabua is one land mass containing a total land area of 8,854.4193 hectares. This total land area distributed among the 42 barangays, nine of which are considered as urban barangays; namely, San Antonio (Poblacion), San Esteban, San Francisco, San Juan, San Luis, San Isidro, San Miguel, San Nicolas, San Roque (Poblacion) and 33 are considered as rural barangays. Among the urban barangays, San Antonio (Poblacion) has the biggest land area of 234.1798 hectares while San Luis has the least land area of 2.1746 hectares. In the rural barangays, La Purisima has the largest land area as well as in the entire municipality of 428.1501 hectares while San Roque Madawon has the smallest land area of 76.3228 hectares.

The municipality of Nabua given its land mass is entirely classified as alienable and disposable lands. Previous land classification has its slight share of forestlands but was absorbed by the adjacent municipality of Balatan which requires political solution.

Elevation and slope[edit]

The municipality of Nabua has about 8,803.0600 hectares or 99.42% very low elevation or less than 100 meters elevation and remaining 51.3593 hectares or 0.58% of low elevation or between 100–300 meters elevation. Its slope covers about 7,927.3616 hectares or 89.53% which are level to nearly level (0-3%) while the remaining 927.0577 hectares or 10.47% are rolling to moderately steep (18-30%)

As the dominantly alluvial plain, the municipality of Nabua has the prevalent soil types classified as either clay loam or sandy loam having silty texture. These soil types are very favorable for agricultural usage.

The geological characteristics for the municipality of Nabua consists of: Upper Pleistocene (Sandstone and shale), Pliocene Pleistocene (Volcanoclast alluvial fans), and Recent (Alluvium or rice terraces).

The natural drainage tributaries for the municipality of Nabua consist of numerous creeks interconnected with the three major rivers namely: Bicol River, Waras River, and Barit River.


Nabua town hall

Nabua is politically subdivided into 42 barangays.[2]

Barangays Area
Barangay Captain
1 Angustia (Inapatan)
Salvador Rabeje
2 Antipolo Old
Lilia B. Rebellon
3 Antipolo Young
Francisco Olivares
4 Aro-aldao
Rosita Quino
5 Bustrac
Clarito Atian
6 Dolorosa (Inapatan)
Antonio Lorzano
7 Duran
Joel A. Beltran
8 Inapatan (Del Rosario)
Santos T. Estrebello
9 La Purisima (Agupit)
Sergio Beltran
10 Lourdes Old
Myrna Pecundo
11 Lourdes Young
Romulo R. Arales
12 La Opinion
Manuel Obis
13 Malawag (San Jose)
Virgilio Nillo
14 Paloyon Oriental
Jaime Brila
15 Paloyon Proper (Sagrada)
Honorio Parañal
16 Salvacion Que Gatos
Fredirick Gamban
17 San Antonio (Poblacion)
Ruben Pasion
18 San Antonio Ogbon
Dolores Lanuzo
19 San Esteban (Poblacion)
Romeo J. Quidep
20 San Francisco (Poblacion)
Espiritu Priela Jr
21 San Isidro (Inapatan)
Joseph Fermante
22 San Isidro (Poblacion)
Loreto Simbulan
23 San Jose (Pangaraon)
Julian C. Ocampo
24 San Juan (Poblacion)
Rene Bachiller Sr
25 San Luis (Poblacion)
Sulieto Murillo
26 San Miguel (Poblacion)
Alneil Hernan Hernandez
27 San Nicolas (Poblacion)
Lydia Brina Docot
28 San Roque (Madawon)
Atanacio Balindan
29 San Roque (Poblacion)
Ruel Miguel Sarmiento
30 San Roque (Sagumay)
Jesus Abonita
31 San Vicente (Gorong-Gorong)
Diosdado Docot
32 San Vicente (Ogbon)
Orlando Paranal
33 Santa Barbara (Maliban)
Hermelina Sapinoso
34 Santa Cruz
Mariano Nierva
35 Santa Elena (Baras)
Aproniano Abala Jr
36 Santa Lucia (Baras)
Adelaida N. Bacsain
37 Santiago Old
Zaldy Palenzuela
38 Santiago Young
Renair Ravalo
39 Santo Domingo
Nestor Soreta
40 Tandaay
Edgar Sabas
41 Topas Proper
Mario Reginales Sr
42 Topas Sogod
Jose Hosana


Population census of Nabua
Year Pop.   ±% p.a.  
1990 60,885 —    
1995 65,988 +1.62%
2000 70,909 +1.45%
2007 75,422 +0.89%
2010 80,111 +2.03%
Source: National Statistics Office[3][6]

The municipality of Nabua has a total population of 80,111 persons based on the 2010 National Population Census. The municipality’s total population accounts for 4.6% of the total provincial population of Camarines Sur, ranked fifth behind much larger population sizes of Naga City, Iriga City, Libmanan and Pili.

Historically, the municipal population has experienced positive growth rate, beginning in Censal Year 1903 up to 1999. Municipal population records show only one exception in Censal Year 1970 where the municipal population decreased. This population shift in number can be attributed to migration patterns due to socio-economic reasons. Thus, from a mere population size of 18,893 in 1903, the current municipal population more than tripled in size for 1999.

Spread out among the 42 barangays of Nabua, there are 10,093 persons living in the urban barangays while 65,329 persons live in the rural barangays. Among urban barangays, San Antonio Poblacion has the largest population with 2,363 persons while San Luis has the smallest with 358 persons. For rural barangays, La Purisima has the largest population with 8,165 persons while Salvacion Que Gatos has the lowest with a population of 523 persons.

Population density for the entire municipality of Nabua is 75,422 persons spread over the total municipal land area of 8,854.4193 hectares, which is equivalent to 7.9482 persons per hectare or 794.82 persons per square kilometer.


The Nabua dialect can be considered having its base from the Bikol languages. However, there are other smaller social groups within the Bicol region where Nabua derives the foundation of its dialect. The Rinconada area composed of Baao, Buhi, Bula, Balatan, Bato and Nabua shares the same “Rinconada” dialect that the local folks are still enriching up to this day. The local folks coming from the Rinconada “B” towns and Nabua can be easily recognized by the way they enunciate words or phrases when they talk or use the dialect.

Additionally, Spanish influences are frequently encountered in the languages of Nabuenos. Some examples of Spanish words embedded in the local dialect are: “Abreya raw iton puertan.” This is a command statement, meaning “Open the door” in English or “Buksan ang pintuan” in the Filipino language. “Abreya” is an inflection of the Spanish verb “abrir” (to open) and “puertan” is from the Spanish word “puerta”.

Other variations of Spanish words being used in the Nabua local dialect can be found, but many of these words or terms due to usage over time do not follow proper Spanish language conjugations and grammar.

Customs and Practices[edit]

Nabua has a rich array of customs and colorful practices that are found up to the present day.


This is the Nabua version of “serenading”. When a man wants to show his intent to court a woman, the man (sometimes accompanied by his friends) armed with a guitar or possibly a karaoke machine shows up on the woman’s doorsteps unannounced late at night. The woman or her family have either the option to turn on the lights and acknowledge the serenaders or just ignore them. In some cases, the event turns into an unforgettable event as the woman’s family may come up with some unique ways to get the serenaders out of their property, such as throwing a bucketful of hot water or unleashing “bantay”, the household watch dog.


The local folks are religious in nature so it is common for them to make a religious promise or ‘panata’ expressing their exultation to God because of a bountiful harvest or they have a petition that they wish would be granted. This is manifested through the local practice of “Aurora”. On nine consecutive nights, they would decorate an improvised "carroza" for their local patron saint and then visit the households in the neighborhood with singing and prayers.

Pista sa mga Kalag

On November 1, nearly all citizens take a trip down to the cemetery. This is their practice of honoring and remembering departed loved ones. They would offer flowers and light candles in their tombstones, sarcophagus, or decorate the family mausoleum with flowers and food. The local cemetery comes alive the night of November 1 to commemorate All Saints Day until the early morning of November 2 for All Souls Day. Masses at the cemetery are often offered on both days.

Tang-gal kin Cuaresma

During the season of Lent, some of the prominent families in Nabua will sponsor a “Tang-gal”. Tang-gal is the re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s Passion and Death on the cross. After the passion of Christ is re-enacted, the “tang-gal” is concluded with “Ire-Helena”, the story of Helene and Constantine in search of the True Cross.


When a family member or loved one passes away, the family, friends and relatives of the dead offer nine days of prayers. This is the nine days of mourning where they go to the local church to attend Mass and then continue their novena prayers at the house of the deceased. Prayers are offered to help the soul of the deceased rest in peace and at the same time to console the grieving family.


After forty days of mourning, the family, friends and relatives of the dead celebrate the passage by hosting a feast and invite all those who consoled them in their time of grief. Once everyone invited are gathered, they say the litanies and pray the Rosary of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Local folks believes that the soul of their dearly departed have now passed the stage of “roaming” and ready to rest in eternal peace. This is the time to let go and as a symbolism, they can now wear other colors of clothing instead of the traditional all black or all white.


Before the baranggay fiesta, "DOTOC" is a custom of nabueñans in honoring their patron saint through nine nights of thanksgiving.


Primary Products

Agriculture contributes a major role to the economy of the municipality of Nabua given its vast alluvial plains. Its agricultural contribution consists of crop production, livestock, and fishery. Crop production is more intense rather than livestock and fishery.

Rice production, both irrigated and non-irrigated occupies about 87.26% of the total agricultural land devoted to crop production while corn and other types of crops occupies merely 7.96% and 4.78% respectively. However, crop production in the entire municipality represents only about 36.94% of the total municipal land area. Livestock production can be described as one merely that of backyard raising style despite the presence of at least two farms located at Inapatan with aggregate of only 1.00 hectare and only 22,000 animal heads. Likewise, inland fishing can hardly produce much-needed agricultural revenues both for the inland fishermen as well as for the benefit of the local government.


The Poblacion of the municipality of Nabua is strategic area for commercial development. Presently, its commercial area can be classified as a minor central business district which is reflective of being a tertiary urban growth corridor along the Legazpi-Iriga-Naga-Daet growth corridor.[7] It services the commercial needs of the neighboring municipalities of Bato and Balatan secondary only to Iriga City. Among the commercial establishments to be found within the Poblacion are wholesale trade, general merchandise, auto and motor supplies, school supplies, funeral parlor, groceries, insurance companies, banks, lending investors, pawnshops, drugstores, restaurant and sari-sari stores.

Several barangays outside of the Poblacion functions as neighborhood centers. Those rural barangays include Sto. Domingo, Malawag, La Purisima, La Opinion, Dolorosa and San Jose. Most common in about 30 rural barangays are the mushrooming of sari-sari stores.


The municipality of Nabua remains predominantly agriculturally-related in terms of industrial activities at present. The existing industrial establishment within Nabua consists mainly of rice mills with total industrial of about 3,000 square meters. Cottage industries generating household employment and incoe proliferate in rural barangays. Nabua has a potential for agro-industrial development. This is manifested by its: (1) proximity to both Balatan Port and Pantao Port (2) Inherent vast agricultural lands (3) As an urban growth center and, (4) suitable agro-industrial site.

Infrastructure and Utilities[edit]

Maharlika Highway

Road Network

For the municipality of Nabua, transportation is very much important because of (1) its strategic location and membership in the Legazpi-Iriga-Naga-Daet growth corridor; and (2) preferred development strategy of agro-industrial commerce and tourism. Thus, enhancement of the municipal transport system would play crucial role in the attainment of the desired development.

Land transportation available are the various road systems and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) track facilities traversing the municipalities. Generally, the municipality has adequate road lengths based on the standards of 1.5 km. per 100 hectares of arable land.

Power and Electricity

The strategic location of Nabua along the Luzon grid makes it an ample recipient of power supply from NAPOCOR. Within the municipality itself, the Camarines Sur Electric Cooperative (CASURECO) 3 as the exclusive provider retails supply of electricity. All barangays within the municipality are already energized both in urban and rural barangays.

Water Resources

There are three existing Level 3 water supply systems that provide potable water, namely: Nabua Water District, Duran Water System and Sagumay Water System.

Communication Facilities

Existing communication services and facilities includes cable television, telephone services, telegraph services and telegraphic transfer, cellphones, and postal services.


The town of Nabua is known for having a large contingent of active and retired United States Navy servicemen. That makes Nabua a veritable destination for tourists, retirees, and balikbayans from the United States. Oftentimes, coyly and with a tinge of amusement, the town is usually referred to as the Town of the Green Bucks (U.S. Dollars). Most of the families of these servicemen reside in Southern California, particularly in the San Diego area. During religious and special holidays, these U.S. based Nabuenos plus a growing number of Nabua natives now residing in other parts of the world would unfailingly return to their beloved Nabua, tagging along their friends, and freely spending their hard-earned foreign currency which definitely boosts the local economy and tourism.

Among the celebrations and local sites in the town includes:

  • Nabua celebrates its fiesta with the now-famous Annual Boa-Boahan Festival on the third of May. The highlight of the festival is the reenactment of the traditional "Boa Feast," a 13th-century rite where ancient Bicolanos offered chains of coconut embryos called boa to their pagan deities, in the belief that this would give them ample harvests, favorable weather, and make their lives more prosperous and happy throughout the year. The feast is enlivened with frenzied street theater, heart-pounding street dances and spectacles, and a riveting display of colorful and dazzling ethnic costumes. This annual festival was initiated and given unprecedented impetus and funding by ex-Mayor Ulpiano Duran and the town's first lady then, Mrs. Delia Duran (a U.P. alumna), in tandem with the late District Supervisor Mrs. Patricia Romano and the principals, teachers, and pupils from both public and private schools. Sadly Mrs. Romano passed away a couple of years later. She would have been very glad and honored to see that the baby (Boa-boahan Fest) she had midwifed to a healthy birth has turned into a spectacular and much-anticipated annual event. The first-ever festival was held in 1974, a street pageantry that was graced in the evening by a memorable dramatic revue performed by the legendary U.P. Mobile Theater under Professor and National Artist Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero, with the help of the touring company's long-time national coordinator, Mr. Timothy O. Albano (incidentally, he and his staff volunteered to research extensively the legend and authentic lore behind the festival's underlying mythology). The late U.S. Engr. Cleto Descalso, a Nabueno philanthropist who chose to retire in Nabua after the decades he spent working in the United States, generously funded the creation of the Descalso Garden Park near the Municipal Hall. This exquisitely-designed garden became the staging point for this first festival. A poetry-reading featured during the first Miss Boa-boahan/Alinsangan beauty pageant was delivered by National Artist Rio Alma (Virgilio Almario). The guests of honor who helped crown the first Miss Boa-boahan Festival had included the commanding generals and commodores from both the Subic Bay Naval and Clark Air bases. Today, this fascinating festival can proudly stand side by side with the world-famous Sinulog, Ati-atihan, and Dinagyang Festivals.
  • The over 400-year-old church of Nabua known as the Vicariate of the Holy Cross is a prominent landmark along the national diversion road connecting the municipality of Baao directly to this town without passing the city of Iriga.
  • Starting from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, you will find 400-year-old religious customs and traditions being celebrated by the locals. Semana Santa starts with the Palm Sunday procession and blessing of Palms. On Holy Wednesday and Good Friday, the Processions of 'Pasos' are solemnly held to depict the Passion of the Christ. To commemorate Christ's resurrection, the "Balo-balu" is celebrated the night of Black Saturday and then the "Ton-ton" at dawn on Easter Sunday after the "Salubong" procession.
  • Existing local industries such as bamboo craft, handloom weaving, woodcraft and basketry derived from available raw materials.


Nabua boasts of a high literacy rate of 96.54% within the municipality. The people of Nabua put a premium on higher education as their key to social and economic mobility. The present level of educational services within the municipality covers a number of teachers and classrooms vis-a-vis current and projected enrollments.

For elementary level, there are a total of 33 elementary schools divided into East and West Districts with a total current enrollment of 11,947 pupils. The secondary level of education is currently provided by Nabua National High School, La Purisima Nationalized High School, Malawag Nationalized High School, Sto. Domingo Institute, and Saint Jude Agro-Industrial College.

The Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges, a public school located in San Miguel, offers tertiary, post-graduate, as well as short–term courses, technical or vocational in nature.

Nabua is the site of large state-run and private educational institutions in Rinconada. Some of the leading schools in Nabua are:

  • Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges
  • St. Jude Agro-Industrial College
  • Sto. Domingo Institute
  • Ryden Technological Institute
  • Nabua National High School
  • La Purisima High School
  • Malawag High School
  • Victor Bernal High School
  • Tandaay Provincial High School
  • Holy Cross Parochial School, beside the Holy Cross Parish (the best and only Catholic school in Nabua)
  • Nabua Central Pilot School
  • Nabua Educational Learning Center
  • Nabua Music Learning Center
  • St. Jude Thaddeus Learning Center
  • Montessori House of Learning
  • Santiago Elementary School
  • Don Telesforo Llorin Elementary School
  • Baras Elementary School
  • Antipolo Young Elementary School


  1. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Province: CAMARINES SUR". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Kuntaw History- Nabua". Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  5. ^ "Jota Dances of the Philippines". Retrieved 2008-05-11. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Province of Camarines Sur". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  7. ^

External links[edit]