Bicol Region, as Region V is more popularly known, is situated at the southernmost tip of the Luzon landmass. It is straddled between 11o-30’ to 14o-20’ North latitude and 122o-20’ to 124o-30’ East longitude.The Region has a total land area of roughly 18,139.08 square kilometers, 6.0 percent of the country’s total land area. It is politically subdivided into six provinces, one chartered city, six component cities, 107 municipalities, and 3,471 barangays. At present, it has 14 congressional districts.

The population of the Bicol Region reached 5,420,411 as of May 1, 2010, growing at an average annual rate of 1.46 percent between 2000 and 2010. The region’s population density increased to 298.8 persons per square kilometer in 2010. A region rich in history and natural resources, Bicol is inhabited by hospitable, smiling and fun-loving people.

The province of Albay, which is strategically located in the center of the region, is home to the world famous Mount Mayon with its perfect cone shape. Legazpi City, also in Albay and is called the Gateway City of Bicol, is the regional center. On the northernmost part of the region is the province of Camarines Norte whose capital, Daet, holds the distinction of being the town to erect the first monument of the country’s national hero, Jose Rizal. Naga City in the province of Camarines Sur is host to Colegio de Sta. Isabel, the first known normal school for girls in the Orient. The province of Catanduanes boasts of white beaches and resorts is an island paradise in the Pacific. The province of  Masbate, which lies exactly at the center of the Philippine archipelago, is known for its mining and cattle industry while Sorsogon, the province known for its historic and panoramic places, shelters the world’s largest fish – the whale shark locally known as Butanding.

With its strategic location in the Philippine archipelago, the region is accessible by land, air and sea transportation facilities.

AlbayCamarines NorteCamarines SurCatanduanesMasbateSorsogon

The Province of Albay is situated in the Southern Luzon land mass between the provinces of Camarines Sur on the north and Sorsogon on the south. It is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the northeast by the Lagonoy Gulf, and on the west and southwest by the Burias Pass. North of the province’ s mainland are the islands of Rapu-rapu, Batan, Cagraray and San Miguel, all falling under its jurisdiction.

Albay has a land area of 2,554.06 square kilometers, politically subdivided into 15 municipalities, three cities and 720 barangays. At present, it has three congressional districts. The province had a population of 1,233,432 as of May 1, 2010 reflecting an average population density of 482.9 persons per square kilometer. The population of the province grew at the rate of 1.23 percent from  2000 to 2010.

 

The landscape of the province is dominated by the world famous Mayon Volcano rising over 7500 feet above sea level. The volcano has erupted 47 times since 1616 with the catastrophe of February 1, 1814 as the most destructive, burying the church and houses in Cagsawa. Mounts Masaraga and Malinao in the northeast and Mount Catburauan in the west borders the expanse of Albay’s land area.

The Province of Camarines Norte serves as the gateway to the Bicol Region from the rest of Luzon. It is bounded by Quezon Province on the southwest and Camarines Sur on the south. Along its coastlines, the province faces Basiad Bay on the west, the Pacific Ocean on the north, and the San Miguel Bay on the east.

Camarines Norte is composed of 12 municipalities, 282 barangays and two congressional districts spread over a land area of 2,112.5 square kilometers. It had a population of 542,915 as of May 1, 2010 with a growth rate of 1.44 percent from 2000 to 2010.

 

The topography of the province is generally mountainous prominently straddled by the Bacacay and Colase mountains. Coconut and abaca are its traditional agricultural crops. The province is the largest producer of pineapple (Formosa variety) in the region. It has abundant reserves of gold, iron, copper, uranium, lead and zinc. With its long coastline, a thriving fishery industry has gained importance among the seacoast towns.

The capital town of Daet boasts of being the first municipality in the entire Philippines to erect a public statue of our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

The tourist attractions in the province are the Shrine of the Black Nazarene in Capalonga, the Bicol National Park in Basud and Daet, the San Miguel and Lamon Bays, the Apuao Island in the north and the Daet Pineapple Festival held on June 15 – 21 every year.

Camarines Sur lies across the middle of the Bicol Peninsula at the southeastern portion of Luzon. It is bounded on the north by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by Maqueda Channel, on the south by the Province of Albay, on the west by the Ragay Gulf and on the northwest by the Provinces of Camarines Norte and Quezon.

Camarines Sur is politically subdivided into five congressional districts, one chartered city, one component city, 35 municipalities and 1,063 barangays. The province has a land area of 5,502.0 square kilometers, roughly 30 percent of Bicol Region’s land area and 1.83 percent of the Philippines.

 

The province is flanked by some the richest marine fishing grounds in the country making fishery one of its major economic activities. Camarines Sur sits on vast tracts of metallic and non-metallic mineral deposits. Mineral reserves are estimated at 5.1 million metric tons, 82 percent percent of which are gold ore deposits. Non-metallic mineral reserves is estimated at 3.5 billion metric tons composed mainly of limestone, sandstone, calcaceous clastics, marble and ball clay.

Naga City is the province’s and the region’s financial, trade, religious and educational center. Hundreds of thousands of devotees and guests flock to the city on the third week of September for its Peñafrancia Festivities.


Catanduanes, an island paradise of howling winds and strange calm, lies east of the Bicol mainland. It is bounded on the west by the Maqueda Channel, by the Pacific Ocean on the north and east, and by Lagonoy Gulf and Cabugao Bay on the south. The island province has a total land area of 1,492.16 square kilometers. With Virac as its capital, Catanduanes is subdivided into 11 municipalities, 315 barangays and one congressional district.

The population of the province as of May 1, 2010 was 246,300 reflecting a population density of 165.1 persons per square kilometer. The province has an average annual growth rate of 1.35 percent from 2000 to 2010. Due to its exposed location, Catanduanes is directly open to typhoons which had frequently visited it in the past immobilizing its economy and its people.

The province is rich in natural resources, forests, waterfalls, rivers, mineral deposits and productive soil made fertile by volcanic ashes of distant Mayon Volcano. Rattancraft, fishing, buri hat and mat making and abaca craft are its most important industries. Catanduanes tops other provinces in the production of the finest grade of abaca hemp.

Surfing in Catanduanes

Catanduanes is famous for its unspoiled beaches, pre-historic caves, exotic places, quaint stone chapels and massive churches. Despite the typhoons, safe anchorage are provided by its many bays and coves notably Kalapalan, Gigmoto, Soboc and Cabugao. Its Pacific coastlines are havens for surfers.

The province, formerly known as “Catanduan”, “Catandongan”, and finally Catanduanes, derived its name from the “tando” trees which then abound in the island.

The Province of Masbate lies at the center of the Philippine Archipelago. It is composed of a wedge-shaped mainland (Masbate), two major islands (Ticao and Burias) and 14 small islands. It is bounded on the north by the Bicol Mainland, on the south by the Visayan Sea, on the west by Sibuyan Sea and on the east by the Burias Pass, Ticao Pass and Samar Sea.

The province covers a total land area of 4,151.78 square kilometers. It is politically subdivided into three congressional districts, 20 municipalities, one city and 550 barangays. Masbate had a population of 834,650 as of the 2010 census, growing at an average rate of 1.66 percent from 2000 to 2010. The province had an average population density of 201.0 persons per square kilometer.

Rodeo de Masbateño

Masbate is the biggest cattle raising province in the region. Its main economic activity is agriculture with copra, rice, corn and tobacco as its main products. Fishing is also a major industry in the province. Until lately, the province is the site of the biggest gold mining operation in the region. Other minerals found in the island province are manganese and limestone.

The Province of Sorsogon is located at the southernmost tip of the Bicol Peninsula. It is bounded on the north by the Province of Albay, on the east and northeast by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the San Bernardino Strait and the west and northwest by the Ticao and Burias Passes. The province has an irregular coastline with good harbors in Bulan, Magallanes and along the shore of Sorsogon Bay.

Sorsogon has 14 municipalities, one city and 541 barangays with two congressional districts. It covers an area of 2,119.01 square kilometers. With a population of 740,743 in May 1, 2010, it had a population density of 349.6 persons per square kilometer. Sorsogon had an  average annual population growth rate of 1.31 percent between 2000 and 2010.

The province has an agricultural economy with coconut, rice, corn, abaca, and pili nuts as the major products. Its rich marine resources yield various products such as fish, crabs, clams, mollusks and seaweeds.

Sorsogon is known for its historic and panoramic places such as the “baluartes” in Sta. Magdalena, Bacon, Matnog, Casiguran and Bulusan; the “Tulong Gapo” and Rizal Beaches in Bacon and Gubat, respectively; the Irosin Church in Irosin; the tranquil Bulusan Lake and the geologically young Bulusan Volcano in Bulusan.

The province of Sorsogon connects Bicol Region and the rest of Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao areas through the ferry service in Matnog.

Source: http://www.nscb.gov.ph/ru5/overview/default.html
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