Basic Facts - Sorsogon


SORSOGON, at the southeastern part of the Bicol Peninsula, 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 on the west and northwest by the Ticao and Burias Passes. The province has an irregular coastline. There are good harbors in Bulan, Magallanes, and along the shore of Sorsogon Bay.

Sorsogon, with an area of 2,141.4 square kilometers and a population of 426,935. In 1970, consists of 16 towns with Sorsogon City as the capital.

In 1569, Captain Luis Entiquez de Guzman, and Father Alonzo Jimenez and Juan Orta celebrated the first mass at Otavi (site of the old town of Bulan.) In 1570, a chapel was built along the Gingara River in Magallanes. The missionaries reached the town of Pilar where the Abuca-Catamlangan mission was estalished. Among the early towns founded in the province were Casiguran in 1600, and Bulusan in 1601.

Because of the urgent need of ships during the galleon trade, shipbuilding was developed as an important industry in the province. 1669, Fr. Pedro de Espellargas invented the abaca stripping knife which revolutionized fiber extraction, and promoted the pre-making or the cordage industry.

During the Muslim raids on the coastal towns of Sorsogon in 1737, 1740, 1749 and 1781, Captain Pedro de Gastambide built a fort at Sirangan. Several watchtowers were also constructed at Gubat, Bacon, Bulusan, Sta. Magdalena and Matnog.

On October 17, 1894, Sorsogon was separated as a province from Albay. Juan de la Guardia
became the first governor, succeeded by Guillermo Montes, Saliendo Salazar and Leandro Villamil.

The Spaniards abandoned Sorsogon during the Philippine Revolution of 1876. For sometime, the provincial government was administered by Father Jorge Barlin, Vicar Forane in Sorsogon, who later turned over the province to the revolutionary forces.

On January 20, 1900, the American forces under General William Kobbe occupied Sorsogon and set up a provisional military government. The resistance movement against the Americans ended when Emeterio Funes, head of the local revolutionary forces, was captured. He later took the oath of allegiance to the United States.

A civil government was established in Sorsogon on April 30, 1901. Bernardino Monreal was the first governor of the province.

During the World War II, after the Japanese occupied Sorsogon in 1942, Major Licerio Lopez and Salvador Escudero organized guerilla units which joined forces with the American Liberation Forces in the Liberation of Sorsogon on April 29, 1945.

The province is rich in prehistoric culture. The archaeological excavation conducted by Robert Fox in 1959 unearthed stone tools and burial jars at the "hacienda" of Juan Escuetura in Bato. Golden crons, believed to exist from 91 B.C. to 79 A.D., were also found in Bulan and Juban.

Sorsogon is known for its historic and panoramic places, such as the century-old towers or "baluartes" in Sta. Magdalena, Bacon Matnog, Casiguran and Bulusan; the eye catching waterfalls in Guinlajon; the summer resorts along Lake Bulusan; the "Tulong Gapo" in Bacon; the Bato Limestone in Bato; and the Irosin church in Irosin.



The province of Sorsogon on the north extend westward from 124O to 123O longitude and on the north-south axis from 12O to 13O north latitude. Forming a triangular shape, it is bounded on the north by the province of Albay and Albay Gulf, on the south by Samar and San Bernardino strait; on the east by Pacific Ocean and on the west by Burias Island and Ticao Pass.

Sorsogon has an area of 2,141.45 square kilometers or 214,144.86 hectares. It lies at the southeastern tip of Luzon Island and is located about 600 kilometers southeast of Manila.

The ratification on December 16, 2000 of Republic Act 8806, which merges the towns of Bacon and Sorsogon and converting into Sorsogon City, reduced the municipal composition of the province into fourteen (14) and one component city. Sorsogon City serves as the capital. The province has 541 barangays and two congressional districts.

Thirteen (13) municipalities dot the 336 kilometers long coastline, which stretches from the northern portion of Sorsogon City (Bacon District area) to the municipalities of Prieto Diaz, Gubat, Barcelone, Bulusan, Sta. Magdalena and Matnog, which faces the Pacific Coast. The towns of Bulan, Magallanes, Pilar and Donsol are found on the western side while Casiguran, Castilla and the southwestern portion of Sorsogon City line along the shores of the semi-circular Sorsogon Bay.

Irosin, the only inland town , is at the heart of the southern half of the province the southwestern side of the Bulusan Volcano.


Characterized by an irregular topography mountain sprawl over the northeast, southwest and west portions of the province. These mountains sloped down to small valleys and plains.

Mount Bulusan is the tallest peak as it towers 1,560 meters above sea level.
It is an active volcano located at the south-eastern part of the province.


Generally, the climate is pleasant the whole year round with only two pronounced seasons; rainy (July to December) and dry (January to June).


The NSO Survey of Population in 2000 shows that Sorsogon has a total population of 650,535. It increased by 58,608 persons from the 1995 census figure of 591,927. The populations grow at a mean annual growth rate of 2.04% from 1995 to 2000, which is remarkably lower that the 2.35% annual growth rate registered from the period 1990 to 1995.

Sorsogon City, the capital of the province registered the largest population at 134,678 while Sta. Magdalena the smallest with only 14,623 persons recorded in the year 2000 census.


Bicol is the local dialect. Being at the gateway between the Visayas and Luzon through the Bikol Region, Sorsogon's brand of Bicol, however, is the unique mixture of the Visayas and Bicol dialects. For languages, most of the natives can speak English and Filipino fluently. There is also smattering of Spanish. In fact, the local dialect has a liberal sprinkling of Spanish words and at times, colloquially corrupted.


Sorsogon is rich in natural resources, but many of them remained undeveloped. The major crops are abaca and copra. The province boast of producing the best hemp in the Bicol Region. Fishing industry ranks next. Freshwater and offshore fishing resources are not yet fully developed. There are plenty of raw materials for cottage industries. The province has untouched deposits of sulfur, kaolin, limestone and coal.


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