Thursday, August 4, 2011

Region 5- Bicol Region (part 2)

Masbate, Sorsogon & Catanduanes

Region 5-Bicol Region

Catanduanes - Eco-adventure Paradise

Catanduanes, “An Eco-Adventure Paradise,” is for those who love nature at its best. The whole strip of this pearly island of the Pacific is virtually untouched, unspoiled, and unexplored. It has a long string of palm-fringed beaches backed by jungle-covered mountains and crowned with jewel-like islets. It offers a totally laid-back rural charm, a beautiful natural environment and plenty of easy action at a pace that is always relaxed. The local folks have always preferred a relaxed rural village life. They seem to be disinterested in accelerated development or any head-long rush into the modern world. As a result, the tourism industry is still in its early stages. But if you are interested in outdoor pursuits, an easy lifestyle among warm and friendly people and a general escape from the frantic pace of urban life, Catanduanes is the perfect hideaway. It is a place where you could go back to simplicity and revel in the absence of man-made preoccupations and self-made entrapments; a total escape, they say. 

Lies in the easternmost part of the Bicol peninsula, separated from the mainland Bicol by the Maqueda Channel and the Lagonoy Gulf. It is the first land mass of the Philippine archipelago to kiss the Pacific Ocean, making it directly open to the path of tropical cyclones, hence the appellation, “The Land of the Howling Winds.”

Political Subdivisions
Composed of 11 municipalities, 315 barangays all over the province and one Congressional district.

*San Andres
*San Miguel.

Bicol is the native tongue but with different nuances and variations, especially when one goes up to the northern towns like Pandan, Caramoran, and Panganiban. English and Tagalog are commonly spoken and understood.

The best time of the year to visit Catanduanes is from the months of March to August when the weather turns dry. It is coolest and rainiest from October to the early part of January, hottest from March to May.

Abaca and lasa abound in the whole province. Native products made of abaca fiber like bags, lamps, utility boxes, handmade paper, among others, adorn the local souvenir shops and serve as local “pasalubong” and souvenirs. Lately, the indigenous abaca fiber, commonly called “pinukpok,” produced and woven by the locals of Baras, Catanduanes, has now found its niche in the local and international fashion industry. This indigenous fabric has shown its versatility in the globally appealing designs and creations of famous fashion designer Dita Sandico-Ong.


The PROVINCE OF CATANDUANES, (opposite the Bicol Region), is bounded by the Maqueda Channel on the west, the Pacific Ocean on the north and east, and the Lagonoy Gulf and Cabugao Bay on the south. 

The Island, with a land area of 1,511.5 square kilometers and a population of 215,356 in 2000, is composed of 11 towns, with Virac as the capital. Its fertile soil was made richer by the volcanic ashes form the distant Mayon Volcano. 

Catanduanes is frequently visited by storms. However, the vessel that visits its ports are provided with safe anchorage by the bays and coves of Kalapalan, Giogmoto, Soboc, and Cabugao. 

The important industries of the province are fishing, and cattle rising. In Pandan, "buri" hats and mats, roof shingles, and alcohol are manufactured for local consumption. 

The province, formerly known as "Catanduan," "Catandognan," and finally, "Catanduanes," derived its name from the "tando" trees which then abound in the Island. 

In 1573, Juan de Saceldo explored Catanduanes. Later, on January 6, 1576, Fr. Diego de Herrera with nine Augustinians sailed from Acapulco to the Philippines aboard the galleon, "Espiritu Santo." 

Although it was reported that the galleon was shipwrecked near the coast of Catanduanes in April 1576, the others claimed that the disaster was caused by bad weather and all the crewmembers perished. Some said that the survivors were either killed by natives or made servants of a certain "Datu" of the island. 

Catanduanes was once a part of Ibalon, now Albay. The ecclesiastical mission in the province was controlled by Nueva Caceres. However, in 1582, it was allotted to four "encomenderos. 

In 1663, Fr. Francisco Colin, SJ. described the inhabitants as noted shipbuilders, without using nails or futtock timbers. 

In 1755, the Muslims overran the island, defeated the "alcalde mayor," and pillaged and burned the towns including important ecclesiastical and municipal records. 

During the Philippine Revolution, the Spaniards left Catanduanes on a motorboat named Josefa on September 18, 1898, before the arrival of the first Philippine revolutionary troops under Major Estanislao Legazpi. 

When the Philippine-American war broke out, Brigadier General William A. Kobbe occupied Virac on January 24, 1900. 

The island was governed by Japanese Imperial Forces after they occupied Legazpi in 1941. After the liberation of Bicol region in 1945, including Catanduanes, the United States Armed Forces maintained a military base in Panay island. 

On September 26, 1945, Commonwealth Act. No.687 I Catanduanes (a subprovince of Albay) became a separate and independent province. Under Republic Act No.159, dated June 26, 1947, the former municipality of Caramoan was recreated out of the Municipality of Pandan; under R.A. No.491 , dated June 12, 1950, the Municipality of Bagamanoc was also created. 

In the town of Bato, Msgr. Teotimo Pacis, Bishop of Legazpi, declared the Holy Cross of Batalay as a Diocesan Shrine on April 1, 1973. The cross was said to be the place by Geronimo Galves at the burial site of Fr. Herrera in 1576.

Tourist Attractions :

The surfing area also boasts of a magnificent view of mountains and coves. It is the home of the world-renowned “Majestic” waves with its breathtaking long-barrel-type surf. Offshore waves are in their greatest shape during the months of August to September. 
Photo enthusiasts could get a perfect view of the sunrise in this area. For holiday seekers, this is a place for total relaxation, communing with nature, and simply, rejuvenation and serenity.

The indigenous abaca fiber, commonly called “pinukpok,” produced and woven by locals of Baras, Catanduanes, has now found its niche in the local and international fashion industry. This indigenous fabric has shown its versatility in the globally appealing designs and creations of famous fashion designer Dita Sandico-Ong. 

Bato Church
This magnificently situated edifice greets everyone upon entrance to the town of Bato. It is the only remaining structure of its kind in the entire island. Despite the tests of time, wars, and ravages of natural calamities, it was able to retain its old glory of massive structure of mortar and coral stones. It took 53 years, from 1830 to 1883, to build this Church under six different parish administrators.

Batalay Shrine
The site of the first cross in Catanduanes, believed to have been constructed over the grave of the shipwrecked Fr. Diego de Herrera of the Augustinian order in 1576, who died in the barangay of Batalay. A well believed to have water with healing powers can be found in this shrine. From the town proper of Bato, it would take only 15 minutes to reach this place.

Batong Paluay
The locals relate that the image of the mystical face of Our Lady of Sorrows has been found in a flooded stream near the barangay of Batong Paluay. The image was etched on a piece of stone that has progressively increased in size. At present, one can view the image with bare eyes, unlike before, when one has to use a magnifying lens. Its repository has already been replaced three times to accommodate the increasing size of the miraculous Mother Mary.

Virac Cathedral
The Church of the Immaculate Conception is situated at the hearth of the capital town of Virac where one can marvel at the stained glass windows.

Luyang Cave
Feel the cool, damp air as you go inside this mute witness and tomb to the massacred natives who fled from the Moro pirates during the 17th century. The natives sought refuge inside Luyang but the marauders traced them. The Moros uprooted sili (red pepper) plants teeming near the cave, added dried leaves, stuffed them in the cave entrance, and set the cave afire, suffocating the hapless natives. To appease their troubled souls, a mini-grotto and altar were built inside. In memory of this massacre, a “Requiem Mass” is said every April 28 of the year. 

The adventurer could revel in the sight of the corridors of majestic and colossal stalactite and stalagmite pillars and rock formations. Plus hanging from the ceilings and walls of the cave are countless bats who reign the whole length of the cave.

Twin Rocks
Splash in waters of incredible clarity beneath which lie sanctuaries of rich and colorful marine life. Its underwater coral formations offer an added adventure for spear fishing and snorkeling. Scuba diving, either as a fun-filled introduction or a recreational dive, is a very promising activity in this resort.

Amenia Beach
Reeling with the textures of sun, sea, and sand, one can easily lose oneself and be drifted away while leisurely walking along the stretch of its powdery-white sands and dabbling in its undeniably tamed waters. The entire stretch of the shoreline beckons visitors to take a dip in its pristine waters and wave-combed sands. The well-manicured landscape by itself is so inviting for a relaxed, laid-back retreat. Ideal for family and office outings.

Kosta Alcantara
Its shoreline is covered with fine white sand and its pristine azure waters never fail to lure visitors to take a dip. It faces the mainland Bicol where one could take a full view of the breath-taking Mayon Volcano. Accommodations are truly classy and elegant.

Emmalyn Paradise Resort
It boasts of luxurious and world-class air-conditioned cottages, an orchidarium, and a spring-fed swimming pool. Its complete line of scuba diving equipment makes it stand out from the rest of the resorts. Luxuriate in the comforts of truly high-end accommodation facilities.

Balite Beach
The whole stretch of Balite and Mamangal continues to beguile visitors with its unspoiled beauty – an asset which the locals within the area are guarding zealously. The sprawling beach is covered with cool and shady trees and blessed with fine white sands, both in the shorelines and in the swimming area. Provides an alternative area for recreation, fun, relaxation, and picnics.

Bosdak Beach Resort
Bask in the glow of deep blue waters stretching like an expanse of warm silk that kisses the velvety sky. Complete with amenities like a swimming pool, restaurant and bar, and hostel accommodations.

Solong Falls
Secluded and relatively unexplored, the waterfalls beckon trekkers for a refreshing dip. Located along lush vegetation that grow under the damp mist of the clouds, creating forests with peaceful and ethereal beauty. It has several cascading waters flowing into natural pools. Cottages are available for picnic goers and adventurers at a minimal entrance fee.

Maribina Falls
Gushing with breath-taking rapids of crystal-clear waters, the cascading falls are located amid rustic surroundings and lush-green vegetation.

Japanese Tunnel
This is the former radar site of the Japanese Imperial Navy during World War II

Festivals :

A re-enactment of the Passion of Christ, staged in all parishes during season of Lent or the Holy Week.

A depiction of the rejection by the Jews of Joseph and Mary in their search for a place to stay in anticipation of the delivery of Jesus on the eve of the Nativity. It is held every year during the Yuletide Season.

Padadyaw sa Tinampo
A people’s celebration through streetdancing and merriment to the beat of music on major streets, highlighted by choreographed theatrics. Held every 24th of October to coincide with the province’s foundation anniversary celebration.

Catandungan Festival
Celebration of the province’s founding anniversary, and a tribute to its founder, to continuously remind the people of Catanduanes of the province’s independence from the province of Albay. Main features: street dance – Pantomina, beauty pageant, agro-trade fair, sports events, guided tours, photo exhibits, and more. Held every 24th of October in Virac, Catanduanes.

Dinahit Festival
Celebration commemorating the first migrants to the island province of Catanduanes using the “dinahit “ sea craft. The celebration is being done through dinahit racing (Layag) with different racing categories and styles. It is usually participated in by fishermen from the town of Pandan or from the other municipalities of the province. Held every July 30- 31 at Pandan, Catanduanes.

Surfing Competition
A week-long invitational surfing competition featuring local and foreign surfing enthusiasts is part of an amateur surfing circuit held every October at Puraran, a promising surfing spot in the town of Baras.

Special Interest :

For surfers, though, Catanduanes is simply home to a break called Majestics- everything else fades into insignificance. The eastern coast of the island faces straight on to the depths of the Pacific and picks up swells that have traveled hundreds of uninterrupted kilometers to finally crash on the shores of Catanduanes. The island lies directly in the path of the Pacific typhoons, many of which make their first landfall here. It's not for nothing that Catanduanes has earned the nickname: "Land of the Howling Winds". 
Majestics breaks on to an offshore reef 200m from the beach on Puraran Bay. The break is known to be fickle and will not always be there, but when it's working, it kicks off one of the fastest, most hollow, right-hand barrels in the world. This is no beginner's wave, especially when it's above 6ft, and the water drains right off the sharp reefs in front of the wave. Sooner or later, you are going to end up on the reef, so protective gear is in order.

Masbate - Rodeo Country Of Bicol

The islands of Masbate were formed out of volcanic rocks over one hundred million years before man made his appearance in the tropical regions of the earth. Humans then made tools of stone, bone, and wood. Some of these very early stone stools and bones have been found in Masbate. 

Village settling grew from the development of farming, pottery flourished, stone tools were improved, and the early Masbate farmers made axes of polished stones. Many stones axes of this kind have been found in Masbate. They are the remains of the first farmers who used the axes to cut down trees. The early farmers also made beautiful ornaments of shells. They buried their dead in burial caves and jars. Two large caves in Masbate, the Bat-ongan Cave in Mandaon and the Kalanay Cave in Aroroy, are known worldwide as burial caves. 

About four hundred years BC, iron and glass as well as woven cloth appeared in Masbate. The stone tools gradually disappeared; agriculture improved. Beautiful decorated potteries were produced. Unearthed fragments of porcelain tell the brisk trade that existed with China.

The island of Masbate lies exactly at the center of the Philippine archipelago between latitudes 11o43’ north and 123o09’ east and 124o5’ east. It is bounded on the north by Vurias and Ticao Pass, east by San Bernardino Strait, south by the Visayan Sea, and west by the Sibuyan Sea. Relative to mainland Bicol, the province faces the southwestern coasts of Camarines Sur, Albay, and Sorsogon.

The general surface configuration of the province ranges from slightly undulating to rolling and from hilly to mountainous. In each island, the rugged topography is concentrated in the northeastern portion and gradually recedes to blunt hills and rolling areas in the south, southeast, and southwest.

Political Destination
Masbate is the capital town. The province is composed of 21 municipalities which are politically subdivided into three districts:

*San Pascual
*San Jacnto
*San Fernando
*Pio V. Corpuz

Burias and Ticao Island and the western and central parts of mainland Masbate are covered by a climate characterized by no very pronounced maximum rain period, with a short dry season. The southeastern parts have rainfall more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. Masbate has the lowest average annual rainfall distribution in Bicol.

Language / Dialect
The people speak predominantly Visayan with a unique mixture of Tagalog and some shades of Ilonggo. In Burias island, they speak Bicol similarly as the people of Camarines Sur, due to the island’s close proximity to the Bicol mainland. The people generally speak fluent English and Pilipino.

When Captain Luis Enriquez de Guzman anchored on the shores of Masbate in 1569, he found tiny settlements spread along the coasts engaged in a flourishing trade with China. Chinese traders visited Masbate and found small settlements during the Shri-Vijaya and Madjapahit periods. Ruins of cave-like dwellings resembling “kiva,” possibly built by Indians who accompanied the Chinese traders, were found along the coast of Aroroy, Palanas, and Masbate. Porcelain jars dating back to the 10th century were excavated at Kalanay (Aroroy) in the 1930s.

Historic accounts show that the Christianization of the Bicol Region actually began in Masbate in 1569. Father Alonso Jimenez was the first missionary to the islands of Masbate, Burias, Leyte, and Samar. Then he went to Ibalon (Bicol) in the province of Camarines, where he resided for many years, and made many religious incursions into Albay and Sorsogon. Fray Jimenez is considered the apostle of the island of Masbate.

In December 1600 Dutch Commander Admiral Oliver van Noorth sought refuge at San Jacinto Harbor after his fleet lost to the Spanish Armada in Manila. He was later engaged in a fierce clash with Limahong’s fleet at the Canlibas-Matabao passage.

At the height of the Galleon trade, Mobo contributed first class lumber for the construction of galleons, making it the center of trade in the province apart from having been the provincial capital in the early part of the Spanish occupation.

The Americans came to Masbate in 1900 to extend their pacification campaign. In December 1908, Masbate was annexed to the province of Sorsogon. A bill declaring Masbate as an independent province was approved on February 1, 1922.

As early as 1906, the Masbate representative made the proposal to the United States Congress to grant the Philippines its independence.

The first Japanese elements arrived in Masbate at dawn on January 7, 1942 from Legazpi. They landed in several places without facing opposition – the province was too stunned to mount any resistance.

The Japanese occupation reduced Masbate to economic shambles. Economic activities were limited to fishing, buying/selling or stealing. Food production ground to a halt. Camote, pakol, banana blossoms, pith, and even such obscure fruits as barobo were used as food substitutes. Lakan-bulan served as cigarette, tea or coffee. Barter transaction prevailed. For lack of nutrition and sanitation, many people succumbed to beri-beri or malaria. Lice and tick infestations spread to an unlucky few.

Dr. Mateo S. Pecso, who was governor of the province, having refused to cooperate with the Japanese, evacuated the provincial government to Guiom, a command post used by the guerillas. Pecson was eventually arrested by the Japanese and incarcerated in Cavite. He managed to escape; he later joined the guerilla movement in Central Luzon.

Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa, the lone house representative of Masbate, fought against a congressional bill authorizing the conscription of Filipinos into service of Imperial Japan and for this he was detained in Fort Santiago.

When Masbate was formally liberated on April 3, 1945, Pecso was sent to Masbate by President Osmeña to organize the civil government. Pecso took reins of government on May 11, 1945.

Tourist Attractions :

Bugui Point Lighthouse (Aroroy, Masbate)
Located at Brgy. Gumahaang, it was constructed during the Spanish era.

Jintotolo Lighthouse (Jintotolo Island, Balud, Masbate)
Picturesque in its 19th century architure.

Colorado Lighthouse (Aroroy, Masbate)
Believed to have been built during the Spanish era but was renovated during the American Regime.

Limestone Hills (Kalanay, Aroroy, Masbate)
Located in Kalanay at Aroroy, the Limestone Hills are believed to have been inhabited by the Kalanay people. These early inhabitants of the province practiced jar burials. On-site excavations, in fact, yielded human bones. 

Rodeo Filipino
Cattle raising is the trademark of the province as well as the major source of livelihood. Rodeo Filipino, celebrated provincewide every March 18, highlights the Masbate Livestock Week. Featured are various sports activities such as the grand rodeo parade, agro-livestock fair, individual and group competitions in bull riding, steer wristling, carabao race, and other traditional Filipino games.

Mata Cave (Aroroy, Masbate)

Bat-ongan Caves (Mandaon, Masbate)
This series of caves located in Mandaon at Masbate is the perfect site for the daring and adventurous. Bat-ongan Caves is approximately 10 kilometers from the subterranean river to Mandaon town.

Underwater Cave
The cave is located in Claveria, within the jurisdiction of Barangay Boca Engaño, with an entrance that is undersea. During high tide, it will take even an unskilled diver only a few seconds to enter the cave; it is neck-deep during low tide. Inside Underwater Cave are will-sealed human caskets carved out of solid wood. Believed to be 500 years old, these caskets still contain human remains. Each casket measures 24 inches in length and 12 inches in width.

Catandayagan Falls
The well-known falls located at Tical Island is one of the most beautiful the province has to offer. Its water cascades from 60 feet down to its base, where multi-colored fishes cavort. Catandayagan is accessible within an hour by motorboat from the provincial capital, also called Masbate.

Kalanay Falls (Nabingig, Palanas)
Located in Brgy. Nabingig, it is famous for its theatrical structure. A family haven for horseback riding and exotic entertainment by the Barangay folks.

Alta Vista Falls (San Fernando, Ticao Island)
One of the most unique falls in the country. It is a zigzag cascade from 45 feet to its base where multi-colored fishes cavort.

Cagpating Island (Monreal, Masbate)
Noted for its crystal-clear waters and beautiful pebbles on one side and a deep rocky side that provides a panoramic view of Masbate Island.

Veagan Island, Magcaraget Hamorawan & Daquit-Daquit Island (Dimasalang, Masbate)
The getaway to the exotic Naro Bay. Ideal for Island hopping, scuba diving, wind surfing, and noted for its beautiful beaches.

Tinalisay Island
Located in Burias Island, this enchanting place is ideal for sunbathing and swimming.

Sombreno Island (San Pascual)
Hot-shaped island with stretches of white sand beaches.

Mataba-Tinigban to Napayaun Island (Aroroy, Masbate)
A five-kilometer stretch of glittering white sands. At Napayauan Island, the surrounding water is full of marine life. It is ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Putting Island (Claveria, Masbate)
Famous for its wide and white sands polanged with crystal clear water.

San Isidro (Claveria, Masbate)
Beach located in Brgy. San Isidro extending south to east from the barangay proper with an approximate and aggregate length of four kilometers. Its fine and silvery white sand can easily accommodate over a thousand people. The bottom of the sea is clear and sandy extending some one hundred meters from the shoreline with a gradual depth of 5 to 7 feet during high tide. Extending further from the shoreline are beautiful and colorful coral reefs which are inhabited by a wide variety of fishes. The beach is lined with coconut trees.

Ki-albay River and Beach (Claveria, Masbate)
This beach extends east-southeast from the town proper with an approximate length of one and a half kilometers of sandy and well-polished pebbles ending on Ki-albay River, a place believed to have been inhabited first by people from Albay.

Matangtubig Spring (Monreal)
A unique spring with three sources. The spring comes out of a rock. Tree and lush vegetation give shade in the area around the spring.

Aroroy Beach
Natural beauty at its most unspoiled is the dominating feature of Aroroy Beach. This well recommended destination is fast becoming a popular attraction among excursionists 

Talisay Beach
Famous for the rocks which serve as a natural diving board for swimmers. Located 13 kilometers southwest of San Fernando in Ticao Island. Smooth, shiny pebbles of various sizes abound.

Cambatang and Cangcayat Beaches (Aroroy, Masbate)
Famous for white sands and crystal-clear waters.

Cadulou Beach
Famous for swimming and sunbathing. Perfect for its serenity, the undisturbed crystal-clear water, and the friendly people of the barangay.

Festivals :

Rodeo Filipino (Masbate; March 18)
Cattle raising is the trademark of the province as well as the major source of livelihood. The Rodeo highlights the Masbate Livestock Week and features various sports activities such as grand rodeo parade, agro-livestock fair, individual and group competitions in bull riding, steer wristling, carabao race, and other traditional Filipino games.

Corn Festival
A harvest festival among Moncadistas in San Ramon, Uson. Famous for the people dancing on glowing embers. The celebration is a ritual for thanksgiving after the plentiful corn harvest.

Bantigue Festival
A festival among the Bantigue folk, right across the Masbate town proper. The barangay is famous for its deeply preserved traditional folk dance called the “Batigue Dance.” Batigue is famous for its boatmakers.

Sorsogon - Bicol's Whaleshark Paradise

Sorsogon is situated at the southernmost tip of Luzon. As a part of the gateway to the Visayas and Mindanao, the province is a melting pot of cultures and influences. From its earliest days as a trading post frequented by Chinese and Malay merchants, Sorsogon has evolved into a center of trade and commerce in the Bicol Region.

Sorsogon offers the visitor a wide variety of diversions from scuba diving to snorkeling, sport fishing, swimming, boating, island hopping, mountain climbing, biking, hiking, spelunking, or just simply touching base with nature. The tourist, too, can revel in Sorsogon’s pageantry and celebration during its numerous festivals and fiestas, and experience its rich cultural heritage.

In Sorsogon, you will never run out of things to do, sights to see, places to explore, folk celebrations to join and enjoy. This is Sorsogon, the Land of Kasaggayahan – a land of peace and serenity, and happy, hospitable people.

The province of Sorsogon on the north extends westward from 124° to 123° longitude and on the north-south axis from 120° to 130° north latitude. Forming a triangle 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 the Pacific Ocean, and on the west by Burias Island and Ticao Pass.

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

The Bicol dialect is spoken in the province, being at the gateway between the Visayas and Luzon through the Bicol Region. Sorsogon’s brand of Bicol, however, is a unique mixture of the Visayas and Bicol dialects. Most of the natives can speak English and Filipino fluently.

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

Sorsogon is rich in natural resources but many of them remain undeveloped. The major crops are abaca and copra. The province boasts of producing the best hemp in the Bicol Region. Its 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.

How Sorsogon Got Its Name

As to how such name came to be, there were several versions but the most plausible is the term “sosogon,” which means to follow a trail, a river or a route continuously.

The theory goes that when the Spaniards reached this unexplored portion of the Bicol peninsula in the latter part of the 16th century, they reached a river and, upon seeing a native, asked about the name of the place. Not knowing the Castillan language, and thinking that they were asking for the location of the settlement, the native answered: “sosogon,” pointing to the direction up-river.

The strangers corrupted the word and wrote the name “Sorsogon,” referring to the area, which was situated between what are now the barangays of Capuy and Bulabog, originally called Domanaog, now Binanuahan.

When the province was separated from Albay on October 17, 1894, the town was selected as its capital, and the province adopted the name “Sorsogon.”

Tourist Attractions:

Barcelona Church (Barcelona, Sorsogon)
Built in 1874, coral reefs were used to form the church walls. The carvings on the coral reef façade makes the church a priceless relic.

Irosin Church (Irosin, Sorsogon)
Built on top of a hill, it dominates other structures in the town of Irosin. From the vantage point of the church unfurls the panoramic view of the town and from afar the towering Bulusan Volcano.

PNOC / Inang Maharang Eco-Park
Covering 25,000 hectares of a forest reservation, it is the site of the Bacon-Manito Geothermal Plants of the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC). The eco-park itself offers a lot of eco-tour delights and adventures including mountain falls, hot and cold springs, boiling water lakes, and exotic flora and fauna.

Prieto Diaz Mangrove Forest & Coastal Management Showcase
The natural mangrove forest and wide expanse of seagrass is a recipient of the 1998 Best Community-Based Coastal Resources Management Program Award given by the United Nations Agency for International Development (USAID). It features a wood and canopy walk.

Donsol Butanding/Whaleshark Interaction
Swim with the biggest fish in the world – the whalesharks or butandings of Donsol. Peak interaction season is February to May each year. 

Mt. Bulusan Natural Park & Bulusan Mountain Lake
The site is a favorite destination of mountain climbers and nature lovers for a number of excellent reasons: Mount Bulusan remains to be an active volcano; the surrounding forests boast of exotic flora and fauna; and the mystical Lake Bulusan lying 2,084 ft. upon the slopes of the volcano 

Picturesque Islands off Matnog
Island hopping is a must-do when in Matnog, with its picture-pretty little islands featuring fine white, black, and even pink sand beaches. The islands are jump-off points for scuba diving and deep-sea sport fishing.

Hot & Mineral Springs of Irosin
All located in the barangays around the foot of Mount Bulusan, in the adjacent towns of Irosin and Bulusan, are the hot and cold spring resorts of San Benon and Mapaso, and the mineral (soda) water spas of Masacrot and Palogtok to soothe tired bodies and rickety bones. 

Rizal Beach Resort
Located in Gubat town, the Rizal Beach Resort offers a wide expanse of fine white sand beach. It has two well-appointed beachside resort hotels. Tolong-Gapo Beach Resort
Located merely a 15-minute ride from the center of the city, in the Bacon District, is the Tolong-Gapo Beach Resort. It offers a long stretch of fine white sand beach, complete with beachside cottages made of native materials that are ideal for picnics. Tolong-gapo means “three stones” – a resort landmark.


Butanding Festival (Donsol, Sorsogon)
A festival which ushers in the Butanding (Whaleshark) Season as well as a thanksgiving for the blessings that the butanding’s presence has given the people of Donsol. The festival is highlighted by a street parade

Pili Festival (Sorsogon City; June 28-29)
Pili is an indigenous crop of the Bicol region, particularly Sorsogon. Coinciding with the city’s patronal fiesta, the festival showcases the Pili, known as “The Majestic Tree” because of its myriad economic uses. A street dance presentation, a highlight of the festival, presents the three growth stages of the Pili, from green (young fruit) to violet (half-mature) to black (mature). The Pili nut is being processed into different kinds of sweets and delicacies.

Padaraw Festival (Bulan, Sorsogon; May 30)
A festival showcasing colorful costumes fashioned from abaca fiber. It is highlighted by a grand street presentation with the participants clad in these colorful abaca costumes.

Hin-ay Festival (Irosin, Sorsogon; September 28-29)
This festival is a commemoration of the feast day of the town’s patron, St. Michael the Archangel, and at the same time a rediscovery of the town’s cultural heritage. The festival traces the struggles of the people of Irosin at various stages of its history and aims to renew the enthusiasm in community building. Various activities include the Mardi Gras, which depicts the victory of the Archangels over the Black Angel, cultural show, agro-trade fair, beauty pageant, food festival, among others.

Kasanggayahan Festival (October 14-17)
A celebration of the province’s Foundation Anniversary. Highlighted by street dancers performing the traditional Bikolano dance Pantomina, also known as Sinalampati, which tells of love and courtship by imitating the movement of doves.

Special Interest :

Donsol Butanding/Whaleshark Interaction
Swim with the biggest fish in the world – the whalesharks or butandings of Donsol. Peak interaction season is February to May each year.

Good Friday Procession
On Holy Week, the Sorsogon City’s main streets are transformed into a sea of bodies as barefoot devotees join the two-hour Good Friday procession that wends through the city streets in a display of piety and reverence. The procession is also the occasion for taking out more than 40 santos, some of which have been in the families for generations.

During Lenten Season, the “Pasyon” is being practiced all over the locality. Both young and old sing the “Passion of our dear Lord” in Spanish Language.

Bulusan nang si Agingay
The play showcases the legend of the famous Mt. Bulusan


Major Industries

The major agricultural-based products of the province are abaca and copra and it also boasts of producing the best hemp in the Bicol Region. Its fishing industry ranks next although freshwater and offshore fishing resources are not yet fully developed. There are plenty of raw materials available for cottage industries.

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