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For the city, see Sorsogon City. For other uses, see Sorsogon (disambiguation).
Flag of Sorsogon
Official seal of Sorsogon
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 12°50′N 123°55′E / 12.833°N 123.917°E / 12.833; 123.917Coordinates: 12°50′N 123°55′E / 12.833°N 123.917°E / 12.833; 123.917
Country  Philippines
Region Bicol (Region V)
Founded October 17, 1894[1][2]
Capital Sorsogon City
 • Governor Raul R. Lee (United Nationalist Alliance)
 • Vice Governor Antonio Escudero Jr. (Nationalist People's Coalition)
 • Total 2,119.01 km2 (818.15 sq mi)
Area rank 61st out of 80
Population (2010)[4]
 • Total 740,743
 • Rank 35th out of 80
 • Density 350/km2 (910/sq mi)
 • Density rank 16th out of 80
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities 1
 • Municipalities 14
 • Barangays 541
 • Districts 1st and 2nd districts of Sorsogon
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP Code 4700 - 4715
Dialing code 56
Spoken languages Bikol, Sorsoganon, Tagalog, English

Sorsogon (Bikol: Probinsya nin Sorsogon), (Tagalog: Lalawigan ng Sorsogon), is a province in the Philippines located in the Bicol Region. It is the southernmost province in Luzon and is subdivided into fourteen municipalities (towns) and one city. Its capital is Sorsogon City (formerly the towns of Sorsogon and Bacon) and borders the province of Albay to the north. Sorsogon is at the tip of the Bicol Peninsula and faces the island of Samar to the southeast across the San Bernardino Strait and Ticao Island to the southwest. Sorsogueños is how the people of Sorsogon call themselves.


In 1570 two Augustinian friars, Alonzon Jiménez and Juan Orta, accompanied by a certain captain, Enrique de Guzmán, reached Hibalong, a small fishing village near the mouth of Ginangra River, and planted the cross and erected the first chapel in Luzon. It was from this village that Ibalong, referring to the whole region, came to be. Moving inland with a northwesterly direction they passed by the territory now known as Pilar, before they reached Camalig, Albay. The establishment of the Abucay-Catamlangan Mission later was ample proof of this. The early towns established here were: Gibalon in 1570 (now sitio of Magallanes); Casiguran - 1600; Bulusan – 1631; Pilar – 1635; Donsol – 1668; Bacon – 1764; Juban and Matnog - 1800; Bulan - 1801; Castilla – 1827; Magallanes – 1860; Sorsogon – 1866 and Irosin – 1880. The province was eventually separated from Albay on October 17, 1894 and adopted the name Sorsogon. The town of Sorsogon was also selected as its capital.[1]

On the 1935 Philippine Constitutional convention, Sorsogon had its own delegates. They were Adolfo Grafilo, Francisco Arellano, José S. Reyes, and Mario Gaurino.


Sorsogon, at the southeastern part of the Bicol Peninsula, is bounded on the north by the province of Albay, on the east by the Philippine Sea, on the south by the San Bernardino Strait, and on the west and northwest by the Ticao and Burias Passes. It has a total land area of 2,119 km2.

It is characterized by an irregular topography, and, except for landlocked Irosin, all the towns lie along the coast. They are all connected by concrete and asphalt roads. Mountains sprawl over the northeast, southeast and west portions. Mt. Bulusan, the tallest peak, rises 1,560 metres (5,120 ft) above sea level.

Except for its overland link with the province of Albay to the north, it is completely surrounded by water. Sorsogon is the gateway of Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao through its Roll-on/Roll-off ferry terminal facilities located in the municipalities of Matnog, Pilar and Bulan.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Sorsogon is subdivided into 14 municipalities and 1 city. In 2000, Sorsogon City was created through the merging of the municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon.[5]

City or
District[6] Area
(per km²)
No. of

Barcelona 2nd 61.18 20,340 332.5 25 4712 5th 12°51′59″N 124°08′42″E / 12.8663°N 124.1451°E / 12.8663; 124.1451 (Barcelona)
Bulan 2nd 196.96 93,943 477 63 4706 1st 12°40′04″N 123°52′39″E / 12.6677°N 123.8775°E / 12.6677; 123.8775 (Bulan)
Bulusan 2nd 96.3 22,089 229.4 24 4704 4th 12°45′06″N 124°08′14″E / 12.7518°N 124.1371°E / 12.7518; 124.1371 (Bulusan)
Casiguran 1st 87.13 30,995 355.7 25 4702 4th 12°52′24″N 124°00′33″E / 12.8734°N 124.0093°E / 12.8734; 124.0093 (Casiguran)
Castilla 1st 186.2 52,903 284.1 34 4713 3rd 12°57′00″N 123°52′44″E / 12.9501°N 123.8789°E / 12.9501; 123.8789 (Castilla)
Donsol 1st 156.2 47,563 304.5 51 4715 3rd 12°54′28″N 123°35′55″E / 12.9077°N 123.5986°E / 12.9077; 123.5986 (Donsol)
Gubat 2nd 134.51 57,327 426.2 42 4710 2nd 12°55′04″N 124°07′27″E / 12.9178°N 124.1241°E / 12.9178; 124.1241 (Gubat)
Irosin 2nd 149.87 51,777 345.5 28 4707 2nd 12°42′08″N 124°02′03″E / 12.7023°N 124.0341°E / 12.7023; 124.0341 (Irosin)
Juban 2nd 121.49 30,335 249.7 25 4703 4th 12°50′51″N 123°59′22″E / 12.8476°N 123.9894°E / 12.8476; 123.9894 (Juban)
Magallanes 1st 150.09 35,443 236.1 34 4705 3rd 12°49′38″N 123°50′14″E / 12.8271°N 123.8371°E / 12.8271; 123.8371 (Magallanes)
Matnog 2nd 162.4 37,641 231.8 40 4708 3rd 12°35′10″N 124°05′08″E / 12.5861°N 124.0856°E / 12.5861; 124.0856 (Matnog)
Pilar 1st 248 68,245 275.2 49 4714 1st 12°55′23″N 123°40′27″E / 12.9231°N 123.6741°E / 12.9231; 123.6741 (Pilar)
Prieto Diaz 2nd 49.07 20,478 417.3 23 4711 5th 13°02′26″N 124°11′36″E / 13.0406°N 124.1932°E / 13.0406; 124.1932 (Prieto Diaz)
Santa Magdalena 2nd 43.5 16,520 379.8 14 4709 5th 12°38′47″N 124°06′28″E / 12.6463°N 124.1079°E / 12.6463; 124.1079 (Santa Magdalena)
Sorsogon City 1st 276.11 155,144 561.9 64 4700 3rd 12°58′15″N 124°00′19″E / 12.9707°N 124.0052°E / 12.9707; 124.0052 (Sorsogon City)
 †  Provincial capital and component city      Municipality
  • Coordinates mark the city/town center vicinity, and are sorted according to latitude.
  • Income classifications for cities are italicized.


Population census of
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1903 120,495 —    
1918 178,443 +2.65%
1939 247,653 +1.57%
1948 291,138 +1.81%
1960 347,771 +1.49%
1970 427,047 +2.07%
1975 446,502 +0.90%
1980 500,685 +2.32%
1990 522,960 +0.44%
1995 591,927 +2.35%
2000 650,535 +2.04%
2007 709,673 +1.21%
2010 740,743 +1.57%
Source: National Statistics Office[7][1]


As of 2007, the population increased by 9.1% to 709,673 from the 2000 census. The increase of population in 2007 from 2000 can be translated to an annual population growth of 1.21%.

The top 5 towns with the most number of population is Sorsogon City (151,454), Bulan (91,730), Pilar (63,539), Gubat (57,237), and Irosin (49,968). The least populated municipality both in 2000 and 2007 census is Sta. Magdalena.

Of the 704,024 household population in 2007, males accounted for 51.1% and while females compromised 48.9%.

The voting-age population of the province was 369,204 in 2007, equivalent to 52.1 percent of the household population.[8]


The Bicol dialect predominates in Sorsogon as a language used by its people. English and Tagalog-based National Language now commonly known as "Filipino" are the official languages used in education and various forms of communications. But Bicol as used in this province has some peculiarities. What is known as "Naga Bicol" is used in written communications and generally understood as a spoken language. However, there are Bicol dialects peculiar to certain specific places. For example, people in Bacon, Prieto Diaz and Magallanes speak the Albay or Legaspi Bikol. In Sorsogon City, Casiguran and Juban, Bicol is slightly different for some of the terms used are similar to Hiligaynon as spoken in Western Visayas. Barcelona, Gubat, Bulusan, Matnog, Irosin and Santa Magdalena speak a dialect which uses terms and tones similar to the Waray-waray of Samar Island. And again the people of Pilar and Donsol speak a dialect similar but not exactly alike to the "Miraya Bicol" or the dialect spoken by the nearby towns of Camalig and Daraga in Albay province. Castilla dialect is the same as that of Daraga.


Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Sorsogon is predominantly a Catholic province. Spanish conquistadores gave Sorsogon its first encounter with Christianity. This was in the year 1569 when Fray Alonzo Jimenez, OSA, chaplain of the expedition under Luis Enriquez de Guzman celebrated the first Mass upon landing on the coast of sitio Gibal-ong (or Gibalon), barangay Siuton, in the town of Magallanes. Christianity, however, was formally established in Sorsogon with the planting of the Cross on the shores of Casiguran town in 1600 by the Franciscan Friars. This was a prelude to the erection of the first church building dedicated to the Holy Rosary, still revered at present as the Patroness of Casiguran. From there, the Franciscan missionaries devotedly spread the faith to the other towns in Bacon (1617), Bulusan (1630) and Donsol (1668). The other twelve towns followed suit in the course of time. In the original geographic division, the province of Sorsogon formed part of Albay province. It seceded as a separate province on Oct. 17, 1984. Catholicism is followed by 93% of the population of Sorsogon.

The Diocese of Sorsogon was originally part of the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres. When it was made a separate diocese on June 29, 1951, it included the territory of Masbate. When the Diocese of Nueva Caceres was elevated into an archdiocese in the same year, Legazpi and Sorsogon were made suffragan dioceses of Nueva Caceres. On March 23, 1968, Masbate was made into a separate diocese. At present the Diocese of Sorsogon covers simply the civil province of Sorsogon and the City of Sorsogon.


Aerial View of Sorsogon City.

The province's economic activity is highly concentrated in its capital city, Sorsogon City, and the towns of Bulan, Irosin, Gubat, and Matnog as well. Sorsogon Province is classified as 2nd class with an average annual income of ₱339.4M (C.Ys. 2000-2003). This is about ₱11M short for the province to attain 1st class reclassification which requires at least ₱350M average annual income.

The province had a great contribution on the 97-percent growth in investments for the first quarter of 2008 and increasing tourism arrivals that buoyed the Bicol Region economy, despite the damage brought about by incessant rains and a rice shortage. This is according to the Quarterly Regional Economic Situationer (QRES) released by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Office in Bicol (NRO 5).

Among the provinces, Sorsogon posted the highest growth (293% respectively) in investments from the previous year. Next to Sorsogon is Catanduanes that posted a growth of 280%. Albay contributed 39 percent to the region's investments and posted a growth of 221% from the preceding quarter.

“For the third time, Bicol Region hosted the kick-off of Asia's premier extreme sailing event, the Philippine Hobie Challenge last February 16 at Gubat, Sorsogon. This 260-mile journey from Gubat-Sambuyan-Bacsal-Marambut-Suluan to Siargao enticed both local and foreign water sports enthusiasts. It opened the opportunity for the municipality of Gubat to showcase the town's best,” the QRES stated.


Sorsogon belongs to Type 2 climate based on the Climate Map of the Philippines by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). Being a Type 2, Sorsogon has No dry season with a pronounced rainfall from November to January.

Climate data for Sorsogon
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31
Average low °C (°F) 23
Average precipitation mm (inches) 150.8
Average rainy days 18 14 12 7 10 14 17 18 18 20 20 22 190
Source: World Weather Online

"". World Weather Online. 2015. 

Typhoon Nina (known as Sisang) the strongest typhoon that hit the Province killing at least 200 people.

The province of Sorsogon normally gets 5 to 10 typhoons every year.

The most notable typhoon is in 1987, when Sorsogon was devastated by Super Typhoon Nina named Sisang. It was a major disaster in the Province of Sorsogon. Damages in properties cost million of pesos, and killing 200 people. It is said that Sisang is the strongest typhoon that hit the Province, especially its capital, Sorsogon City. According to PAGASA, Typhoon Nina ravaged with a wind of 180 kilometers per hour and a gustiness of 200 kph. Thousands of houses plus business establishments were destroyed by the said natural calamity. Typhoon Sisang hit the Sorsogon soil at around 7:00 pm and it last until dawn of the next day. it also caused massive storm surges particularly around the Sorsogon Bay area which contributed to the many fatalities during the battering of the typhoon.

Typhoon Xangsane (Milenyo) also battered the province in September 2006 with torrential rains and strong winds. It caused massive flooding and caused infrastructure and agricultural damages. Damages to the entire province was initially placed at P2.23 billion, of which P1.27 billion was accounted for by damaged houses. Agriculture suffered damage worth P234.21 million; school facilities, P51 million and infrastructure, P208 million.



Town Fiestas

Most of the inhabitants of the province belong to the ethnolinguistic Bicolano and Bisakol groups. Sorsogueños are very religious and fun-loving. Being mostly Roman Catholics, they are active in every festivity celebrated throughout the year. Like any other Filipino ethnolinguistic groups, each town honors their Patron Saint with celebration on its Feast Day. In Sorsogon City, the locals celebrate the Fiesta of the Patron Saints Peter and Paul on June 28–29 of each year. Another featured attractions during town fiestas are the Traveling carnivals that sets up near the town center or its vicinities. In Gubat, the feast of Gubat is celebrated in June 13.

Downtown Bulusan located East of the Province
  • Kasanggayahan Festival The festival, celebrated in the whole province in the last week of October, commemorates the founding of Sorsogon as a province. Festivities include a series of cultural, historical, religious, agro-industrial and economic activities, showcasing the province’s abundant agricultural products, particularly food and decorative items.
  • Pili Festival in Sorsogon City honors the Pili nut and tree which is indigenous to province. The festival coincides with the town fiesta of Sorsogon City. Celebrations include street dancing by locals donning pili nut costumes, cooking competitions, fireworks displays, and even a nutcracking session along the road by the locals.[9]


Minorities include Muslim immigrants from Mindanao, who engage in street vending and small shop businesses. A mosque is situated inside Sitio Bolangan on the outskirts of the city. A significant small Chinese population are owners of hardware stores and commodity shops and dwell in the business center. Indian communities are also present and are Hindus. They are typically known to engage in money lending businesses—colloquially called "five-six".

Education and language[edit]

Education is highly valued as an investment for the future, as illustrated by the many state and private schools and colleges which dot the province. Almost all people understand Tagalog and Coastal Bikol, the most widely used language in Bicol. The local language spoken by Sorsogueños varies from district to municipalities. To illustrate, the form of Bisakol (called Waray Sorsogon) spoken in Bulan, Barcelona, Gubat, Irosin, Sta. Magdalena, Matnog and Bulusan slightly differs from the form (called Masbate Sorsogon) spoken in the city of Sorsogon and the municipalities of Juban and Casiguran. North of Sorsogon City, Castilla, Pilar, Magallanes, and Bacon (merged with Sorsogon city; see History), a dialect of Coastal Bikol is spoken, called Coastal Bikol-Legazpi. A variety of Albay Bikol language of Inland Bikol group of languages called East Miraya similar to that of Daraga, Albay, is spoken in Donsol and some parts of Pilar (a language intelligible with Rinconada Bikol used in Camarines Sur). The former municipalities mentioned use words and intonations from Visayan languages such as Waray-Waray, Cebuano and Ilonggo, and Bisakol is considered a Warayan language like Waray-Waray of Samar and Leyte. English is also understood by most educated people. It is used in all government documents, schools, and in business. This language has also become increasingly important as businesses such as call centers and medical transcription require prospective applicants to be proficient in it.


Sorsogon is subdivided into 2 Congressional Districts. The 1st Congressional District comprises the City of Sorsogon and towns of Pilar, Donsol, and Castilla. The Sorsogon Provincial Capitol is located in the City of Sorsogon.

Places of interest[edit]

  • Bulusan Lake, Bulusan
  • Bacon Beach and Paguriran in Sawanga, Sorsogon City
  • Balading Beach Resort (Sta. Magdalena)
  • Balay Buhay sa Uma, Bulusan
  • Bantigue Beach (Matnog)
  • Barcelona Church, Barcelona, Sorsogon
  • Bayugin Falls, Bulusan
  • Bulusan Volcano, Bulusan and Bulusan Volcano National Park
  • Donsol for its whale shark watching
  • Juag Lagoon Marine Sanctuary (Matnog)
  • Mangrove Forests of Pilar, Sorsogon
  • Masakrot Spring, Bulusan
  • New Port Beach (Sta. Magdalena)
  • Olango Beach (Sta. Magdalena)
  • Pamana Beach Resort (Sta. Magdalena)
  • PNOC/EDC EcoPark, Sorsogon City
  • Rizal Beach, Gubat
  • Sabang Beach, Prieto Diaz
  • Sablayan Island Fish Sanctuary
  • San Benon Hot Springs, Irosin
  • Sorsogon Hydro Electric Plant
  • Subic White Beach (Matnog)
  • Tikling Island (Matnog)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b History of Sorsogon. Official Website of the Government of Sorsogon. Retrieved on 2010-06-06
  2. ^ Sorsogon, Where Comes the World's Largest Fish. The Philippines Agribusiness Center. Retrieved on 2010-06-06.
  3. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010 (Bicol)" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  5. ^ NSCB - 2001 Factsheet - 12 New Cities Created, July–December 2000.
  6. ^ a b c d "Province: Sorsogon". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority - National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  8. ^ 2007 Census
  9. ^ Festivals in Sorsogon. Sorsogon Tourism Website. Retrieved on 2010-06-06.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]