Basic Facts - Camarines Norte



CAMARINES SUR situated at the southeastern portion of Luzon, is bounded on the north by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by the Maquenda Channel, on the south by the Province of Albay, on the west by the Ragay Gulf, and on the northwest by the province of Camariens Norte and Quezon.


With a land area of 5,266 square kilometers, Camarines Sur has 34 municipalities and two cities.  In May 2000, it had a population of 1,551,549 composed of Bicolanos, Tagalogs, Visayas and Ilocanos.


Noted for its volcanic soil, the province produces abaca, rice and coconut.  Fishing is an important activity of its coastal towns.  The smallest fish �sinarapan� in the world is found in Lake Buhi.  Pili trees, known for its nuts, grow abundantly in Camarines Sur.  The capital town of Pili is named after the fruit.


Camarines Sur derived its name from �camarin� the Spanish word for �rice granary� or warehouse.


In 1569, Luis Enriquez de Guzman, with Augustinian friar Alonzo Jimenez, reached the present town of Camalig, then a thriving village or rancheria.  The natives lived in houses or thatched sheds called �Kamalig,� �rice granary� in the native tongue.


Andrez de Ibarra, in search for provisions, followed the route taken by De Guzman and reahed Kalilingo and Bua (the present towns of Bato and Nabua) in 1570.


In 1571, Miguel Loped de Legazpi dispatched Juan de Salcedo to explore the area as far a Paracale.  A year later, Salcedo cruised the Bicol River and went as far as Bato Lake.

Later, a Spanish garrison under Captain Pedro de Chavez was set up in Naga, a prosperous native rancheria.  In 1575, de Guzman founded the City of Nueva Caceres after the birth-place of Governor General Francisco de Sande in Caceres, Spain.


Camarines was divided into Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur in 1829.  The two were united Ambos Camarines in 1854, and again united in 1893.


The Philippine Revolution started in Ambos Camarines when Elias Angeles and Felix Plazo, Filipino corporals in the Spanish Army, sided with revolutionist and fought the local Spanish forces on September 17, 1898.  Governor Vicente Zaidin capitulated to the revolutionist on the following day.  With the arrival of General Vicente Lukban, the revolutionary government in the Bicol region was established.


The American forces occupied the Bicol Peninsula in January 1900.  In March of the same year, General John M. Bell was made the military governor of the southeastern Luzon.  Civil government was finally established in Ambos Camarines in April 1901.


In March 1919, the Philippine Legislature issued an Act authorizing the Governor General to divide the province into Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur.


At the outbreak of World War II, guerilla units were organized by Wenceslao Q. Vinzon that waged underground operations against the Japanese troops stationed in Camarines Sur.  After the capture of Vinzons on July 8, 1942, the guerilla movement was carried on by Lieutenant Francisco Boayes.  In April 1945, Camarines Sur was finally liberated from the Japanese invaders.


Among the great sons of Camarines Sur were W. Q. Vinzons, Bishop Jorge Barlin, first Filipino Catholic Bishop; Elias Angeles and Felix Plazo, leaders in Naga during the Philippine Revolution; and the Bicol martyrs, led by Manuel and Domingo Abella, who died for freedom against Spanish sovereignty.




The province lies across the middle of the peninsula at the southern tip of Luzon.  It embraces the fertile valleys of the Bicol River and its contributing tributaries as well as the volcanic regions of Mt. Isarog and Mt. Iriga.


 On the north, it is bounded by Camarines Norte and San Miguel Bay.  On the south, by Albay.  On the east, the Pacific Ocean and Lagonoy Gulf.  On the west, by Ragay Gulf.

 It is traversed by the long wide and meandering Bicol River and other streams that descend from the southwestern side of Pasacao-San Fernando-Libmanan mountain ranges and on the northwestern side of Mt. Isarog.


 Except for some highlands found in some island towns such as Ocampo, Baao and Iriga, the rest are mountain ranges, which bordered the rugged coastlines.  They surround the vast fertile plains and arable lowlands except those along found in Nato, Sag�ay, Sabang and San Jose beaches in Partido, San Miguel, Cabusao and Calabanga.


Camarines Sur boasts of three beautiful lakes namely: Baao, Bato and Buhi and four mountains such as: Isarog, Iriga, Buhi and Tangcong Vaca.




The province is politically subdivided into four districts: first district (Del Gallego, Ragay, Lupi, Sipocot, Libmanan, Cabusao, Pasacao, Pamplona, Minalabac and San Fernando), second district (Naga City, Bombon, Calabanga, Camaligan, Canaman, Gainza, Magarao, Milaor, Ocampo, and Pili), third district (Caramoan, Tinambac and Siruma) and fourth district (Iriga City, Baao, Balatan, Bato,  Buhi, Bula and Nabua).




Its climate is characterized generally by no dry season and no pronounced maximum rain period.




Not to include the Cities of Naga and Iriga, the 1990 Census of Population and Housing statistics show that the province has reached 1,115,402.




If Bulacan Tagalog is to the Tagalogs, the Naga Bikol is to the Bicolanos.  Variations of the Bicol dialect have reached not only in some parts of Camarines but in the other provinces of the region.  Language authorities have considered the Naga Bikol as grammatically correct in comparison with the other Bikol dialect of similar shades of diction and word usages.




Rice and Coconut are the leading industries in the province.  Abaca and banana are next because of the kind of soil prevalent in the province.  It is indeed very suitable for these two kinds of plants.


Mining is a growing industry, too.  Aside from this it is also sufficient in fish due to its virtually untapped, rich fishing grounds.


Cottage industries are rising source of income Bamboocraft is a booming industry in Nabua.  For the town of Baao, it is embroidery.  The rest of the province, fibercraft is the common means of livelihood engaged in by the people.


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