Canaman, Camarines Sur

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Canaman Church 002.jpg
Official seal of Canaman
Nickname(s): Citadel of Bicol Culture; Birthplace of Tancong Vaca Guerilla Unit
Motto: "Bangon Canaman!" ("Rise Canaman!")
Map of Camarines Sur showing the location of Canaman
Map of Camarines Sur showing the location of Canaman
Canaman is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 13°39′N 123°10′E / 13.650°N 123.167°E / 13.650; 123.167Coordinates: 13°39′N 123°10′E / 13.650°N 123.167°E / 13.650; 123.167
Country Philippines
Region Bicol (Region V)
Province Camarines Sur
District 3rd district
Founded 1583
Barangays 24
 • Mayor Emmanuel S. Requejo
 • Total 43.27 km2 (16.71 sq mi)
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 32,390
 • Density 750/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Canamanons
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 4402
Dialing code 54
Income class 4th class; urban

Canaman is a landlocked 4th class municipality centrally located in the province of Camarines Sur, Philippines. It is bounded on the north by Magarao, on the south by Gainza and Camaligan, on the east by Naga City, and on the southwest by the broad Bicol River. From north to south it is 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) long, and 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) wide from east to west. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 32,390 people.[3]


The area that is now Canaman used to very thickly forested. According to Fr. Frank Lynch, S.J., who said that Canaman is the purest among Bicol dialects: “The name Canaman is locally said to be derived from the root kana, meaning "building materials". The suffix -man is taken as a locative, the name thus indicating “place where there are building materials”.[4]


Spanish colonization in Canaman began around the 1580s when some Nueva Caceres-based missionaries apparently on their way back from gospel work in either the visita of Quipayo (now Calabanga) or San Gabriel (now a barangay of Pamplona), got their bearings confused and, thinking they were turning eastward from the Bicol River to its Naga tributary, instead entered the Canaman creek which at the time was still a deep and fast flowing stream. They continued paddling until they ended up at a native settlement in what is now the barangay of Poro.

In June 1583, the place was organized into a parish, administered by Fray Pedro Matias de Andrade, a Franciscan who later became the fifth Bishop of Diocese of Caceres. In the 1590s, its church was constructed, which was rebuilt in 1669.[4] The patron saint at that time was San Roque, whose image, said to have come all the way from Spain was met at its arrival by the people of Canaman in the shores of Pasacao.

Philippine-American War[edit]

In 1900, after militant Canamanons heard that the Americans were closing in, they burned the church to the ground in an act of self-immolation to prevent desecration of the church at the hands of the new imperialists.[4] The burning was a deliberate and intentional act: the arsonists even gathered and piled on top of the church’s expensive organ dry grass and big tree branches to which they touched the match, to make certain that the fire consumed all combustible parts of the 231-year-old building and its interiors.

In 1902, during the provincial governorship of Captain George Curry, the Municipality of Canaman and its office of the presidente municipal was dissolved and lost its independent existence.[4] Canaman was annexed to Nueva Caceres (now Naga City), though some barrio were attached to Magarao and Canaman’s top position of presidente municipal was downgraded to concejal encargado.

Public educational system reached Canaman in 1903 with the arrival of a certain Miss Long, an American schoolteacher. She opened the first school now known as Canaman Central School in Dinaga, at the house of Don Basilio Severo (at the spot where the Facoma building stands at present) which the government rented.

In 1909, Canaman regained its status as an independent municipality, when it was separated from Nueva Caceres by an act of the First Philippine Legislature. This was mainly due to the efforts of Tomas Arejola, the representative of the first district of Ambos Camarines to the first legislature.[4]

World War II[edit]

On March 8, 1942, three months after Japanese Imperial Forces landed in Legaspi and Naga City, the Tangcong Vaca Guerilla Unit (TVGU) was organized in Barangay San Nicolas, with Juan Miranda as the Commanding Officer, Leon Aureus as the Executive Officer and Elias Madrid as the Finance Officer.[4] Among the numerous taga-Canaman who joined-up soon afterwards either in the unit’s intelligence or combat components were Jose and Antonio Madrid, Mamerto Sibulo, Andres Fortaleza, Marcos Severo, Damaso Avenilla, Federico Crescini, Nicolas Vargas, Venancio Begino, Eugenio Ragodon, Juan Pachica, Santiago Amaro, Jose Gervas, Pedro Angeles, Aproniano Lopez, Andres Alzate, Modesto Sanchez, Blas Alcantara, Andres Aguilar, Florencio Frondozo, Alfredo de la Torre and Flaviano Estrada.

In April 1945, Canaman was liberated by the 5th, 51st, 52nd, 53rd, 55th, 56th and 57th Infantry Divisions of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and the Bicolano guerrilla resistance fighters of the Tangcong Vaca Guerrilla Unit (TVGU).


Canaman is politically subdivided into 24 barangays.[2]

  • Baras (Pob.)
  • Del Rosario
  • Dinaga (Pob.)
  • Fundado
  • Haring
  • Iquin
  • Linaga
  • Mangayawan
  • Palo
  • Pangpang (Pob.)
  • Poro
  • San Agustin
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose East
  • San Jose West
  • San Juan
  • San Nicolas
  • San Roque
  • San Vicente
  • Santa Cruz (Pob.)
  • Santa Teresita
  • Sua
  • Talidtid
  • Tibgao (Pob.)


Population census of Canaman
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 20,298 —    
1995 22,732 +2.14%
2000 27,719 +4.34%
2007 31,583 +1.82%
2010 32,390 +0.92%
Source: National Statistics Office[3][5]


Farming, fishing, and small business are the primary sources of employment and household income.[6]

While most of the people's market activities are done in Naga City, Canaman has a public market and a privately owned "talipapa". Two agro-industrial establishments are found in Canaman: the poultry feeds and palay.

Various types of cottage industries like handicraft, furniture, fan making (made of anahaw), ragiwdiw and nipa shingles are conducted in this town.[6]

In 1998, it was recorded that agricultural workers made up only 27.3% of the work force while 70.8% were engaged in non-agricultural activities. 88.38% of the total land area is devoted to agriculture.

In 2014, Canaman Dragon Boat Camp was launched in the village of Mangayawan along the Bicol River which serves as the turf of the Bicol River Hot Paddlers.[7]


Every month of May, the community honors the Holy Cross through Lagaylay, a tradition which began over a century ago. For nine nights, women dance on the church or a chapel's square while chanting prayers to the Cross.


Most of the roads and main streets in the poblacion (urban barangays) are concrete with few earth and gravel roads, 4 can be reached only through water transportation while 11 can be reached either through water transportation and/or by land transportation.


  1. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: CAMARINES SUR". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "History". About Canaman. Local Government Unit of Canaman. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Province of Camarines Sur". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Economy". About Canaman. Local Government Unit of Canaman. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Canaman holds first Dragon Boat race Bicol Mail

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