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Camarines Sur

Camarines Sur
Province of Camarines Sur
Official seal of Camarines Sur
Motto: "Viva Camarines!"
Region (Region V)
Founded 1637
Capital Pili, Camarines Sur
 • Governor Miguel Luis R. Villafuerte (NP)
 • Vice Governor Fortunato C. Peña (NP)
 • Total 5,497.03 km2 (2,122.42 sq mi)
Area rank 17th out of 81
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 1,822,371
 • Rank 14th out of 81
 • Density 330/km2 (860/sq mi)
 • Density rank 22nd out of 81
  Includes independent component city
 • Independent cities 1
 • Component cities 1
 • Municipalities 35
 • Barangays 1,036
including independent cities: 1,063
 • Districts 1st to 5th districts of Camarines Sur
(shared with Naga City)
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP Code 4400 to 4436
Spoken languages Coastal Bikol, Rinconada Bikol, Albay Bikol, Tagalog, English

Camarines Sur (Tagalog: Timog Camarines) is a province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. Its capital is Pili and the province borders Camarines Norte and Quezon to the north, and Albay to the south. To the east lies the island province of Catanduanes across the Maqueda Channel.

Camarines Sur is the largest among the six provinces in the Bicol Region both in terms of population and land area. Its territory includes two cities: Naga City, the lone chartered city, is the province's and the region's religious, cultural, financial, commercial, industrial, and business center, while Iriga City, a component city, is the center of the Rinconada area and Riŋkonāda Language. Lake Buhi is where the smallest commercially harvested fish can be found, the Sinarapan (Mistichthys luzonensis).


  • Geography 1
    • Terrain 1.1
    • Climate 1.2
    • Subdivisions 1.3
  • History 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Economy 4
  • Tourist attractions 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7



Camarines Sur lies at the center of the Bicol Peninsula. The province is also the largest in the Bicol Region with a land area of 5,266.8 square kilometers. At the center of the province is Bicol Plain. Surrounding it are mountains, two of which are Mount Isarog and Mount Iriga. The eastern part of the province lies on the mountainous Caramoan Peninsula, which faces the island of Catanduanes to the east.

The Bicol River drains the central and southern parts of the province into San Miguel Bay. Mt. Asog is surrounded by three lakes: Buhi, Bato, and Baao.


The climate in Camarines Sur, like most of the rest of the country, is very tropical. It is dry from March to May and wet the rest of the year Annual average rainfall is 2,565 millimeters. Camarines Sur has an average temperature of 27.0 °C and a relative humidity of 25.8%. Based from Aera Tranquilo


Camarines Sur is subdivided into 2 cities and 35 municipalities.

City/Municipality No. of
(per km2)
Income Class
Baao 30 106.63 54,971 515.5 3rd class
Balatan 17 93.09 28,699 308.3 4th class
Bato 33 107.12 48,306 451 3rd class
Bombon 8 28.73 15,437 537.3 5th class
Buhi 38 246.65 73,809 299.2 1st class
Bula 33 167.64 68,011 405.7 2nd class
Cabusao 9 46.80 18,049 385.7 5th class
Calabanga 48 163.80 78,119 476.9 1st class
Camaligan 13 4.68 22,254 4755.1 5th class
Canaman 24 43.27 32,390 748.6 4th class
Caramoan 49 276.00 44,945 162.8 2nd class
Del Gallego 32 208.31 23,064 110.7 4th class
Gainza 8 14.75 10,345 701.4 5th class
Garchitorena 23 243.80 25,204 103.4 4th class
Goa 34 206.18 58,503 283.7 2nd class
Iriga City 36 137.35 105,919 771.2 4th class
Lagonoy 38 377.90 51,814 137.1 2nd class
Libmanan 75 342.82 100,002 291.7 1st class
Lupi 38 199.12 30,118 151.3 3rd class
Magarao 15 44.97 24,274 539.8 4th class
Milaor 20 33.64 28,474 846.4 4th class
Minalabac 25 126.10 48,162 381.9 3rd class
Nabua 42 96.20 80,111 832.8 1st class
Naga City 27 84.48 174,931 2070.7 2nd class
Ocampo 25 118.33 43,523 367.8 3rd class
Pamplona 17 80.60 34,471 427.7 4th class
Pasacao 19 149.54 45,946 307.2 3rd class
Pili 26 126.25 82,307 651.9 1st class
Presentacion 18 143.80 20,023 139.2 4th class
Ragay 38 400.22 54,934 137.3 1st class
Sagñay 19 154.76 31,314 202.3 4th class
San Fernando 22 71.76 33,281 463.8 4th class
San Jose 29 43.07 38,523 894.4 4th class
Sipocot 46 243.43 64,042 263.1 1st class
Siruma 22 141.27 17,050 120.7 4th class
Tigaon 23 72.35 48,611 671.9 3rd class
Tinambac 44 351.62 62,435 177.6 1st class


In July 1569, Luis Enriquez de Guzman, a member of the expedition led by Maestro de Campo Mateo de Saz and Captain Martin de Goiti, led a group which crossed from Burias and Ticao islands and landed on a coastal settlement called Ibalon in what is now the province of Sorsogon. From this point another expedition was sent to explore the interior and founded the town of Camalig.

In 1573, Juan de Salcedo penetrated the Bicol peninsula from the north as made it as far south as Libon, establishing the settlement of Santiago de Libon. Jose Maria Peñaranda, the first governor of Albay and a military engineer, was made “coregidor” of the province on May 14, 1834. He constructed public buildings and built roads and bridges.

The entire Bicol Peninsula was organized as one province with two divisions, Camarines in the northwest and Ibalon in the southeast. In 1636, the two partidos were separated. Known centuries ago as the Tierra de Camarines, the province is distinctly Spanish-founded settlement. Its name having been derived from "camaronchones" or "camarines", a Spanish word for "kamalig" referring to small nipa or bamboo-made huts by the natives.

In 1574, Governor General Guido de Lavezarez referred Camarines Sur to the King of Spain as Los Camarines, after the abundance of camarins-rice granaries - which were conspicuous features of the area.

Spanish colonizers later subjugated its people and denominated the area into two distinct aggrupations. The southern portion comprising the area south of the present town of Camalig (in Albay), Sorsogon, the islands of Masbate and Catanduanes, and the area, which is now Partido in present day, then called “Partido de Ibalon”. The northern, upper portion, which included from the present day Camalig town in Albay, and all towns of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte, was called “Partido de Camarines”.

Partido de Camarines was partitioned into Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte in 1829, and thereafter underwent fusion, annexations and re-partitions until March 19, 1919 when two provinces, jointly called Ambos Camarines, were finally separated with their present boundaries by decree of the First Philippine Legislature.

The Philippine Revolution started in Ambos Camarines when Elias Angeles and Feliz Plazo, Filipino corporals in the Spanish Army, sided with revolutionists and fought the local Spanish forces on September 17, 1898. Governor Vicente Zaidin capitulated to the revolutionists 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.

During World War II, Camarines Sur Province came under Japanese occupation in late December 1941, following the capture of Naga City on December 18, a few days after the Japanese invasion of Legaspi.[5] Guerrilla units were organized by Wenceslao Q. Vinzons that waged underground operations against the Japanese troops stationed in Camarines Sur. After the capture of Vinzons on July 8, 1942, the guerrilla movement was carried on by Lieutenant Francisco Boayes and by the Tangcong Vaca Guerrilla Unit organized by Elias Madrid, Juan Miranda and Leon Aureus. In April 1945, Camarines Sur was finally liberated from the Japanese invaders against the combined Filipino and American troops in 1945.

On March 8, 1942, the famous Tangcong Vaca Guerrilla Unit (TVGU) was organized in San Nicolas, Canaman with Juan Miranda as the Commanding Officer, Leon Aureus as the Executive Officer and Elias Madrid as the Finance Officer. Among the numerous Canamanons who joined-up soon afterwards either in the unit’s intelligence or combat components were Jose and Antonio Madrid, Mamerto Sibulo, Andres Fortaleza, Marcos Severo, Damaso Avenilla, Federico Crescini, Nicolas Vargas, Venancio Begino, Eugenio Ragodon, Juan Pachica, Santiago Amaro, Jose Gervas, Pedro Angeles, Aproniano Lopez, Andres Alzate, Modesto Sanchez, Blas Alcantara, Andres Aguilar, Florencio Frondozo, Alfredo de la Torre and Flaviano Estrada.

The military general headquarters and military camp bases of the Philippine Commonwealth Army were active on 1942 to 1946 and the Philippine Constabulary was active on 1944 to 1946 in the province of Camarines Sur. The Filipino soldiers of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Philippine Constabulary were spearheading the local military special operations in Bicol Region with the Bicolano guerrilla units decisively aiding them.

In 1945, Filipino and American troops along with the Bicolano guerrillas, liberated Camarines Sur from the Japanese forces towards the end of WWII. Local Filipino troops of the 5th, 51st, 52nd, 53rd, 55th, 56th and 57th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and the 5th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary were involved in the liberation efforts.

Naga City, the former capital of Camarines Sur, was founded in 1573 as Nueva Caceres, namesake of the Province in Spain and among the original five royal cities of the colony. It was designated as the Province's Capital by virtue of Philippine Legislative Act No. 2711 approved on March 10, 1917 until June 6, 1955, when Pili, the adjoining town was declared the Provincial Capital by virtue of Republic Act 1336 up to the present time.[6]



According to the May 2010 census, there are a total of 1,822,371 residents in Camarines Sur, making it the most populous in the region also because of land area it covers. The same census also states that Camarines Sur has 288,172 households with an average household size of 5.37 persons, significantly higher than the national average of 4.99. The annual growth rate is 1.86%, much lower than the national growth rate of 2.36%. This rate of growth will double the population of Camarines Sur in 8 years.


The religion of the province is predominantly Roman Catholicism followed by 93% of the population. Other religions professed by the people include the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), Baptist, Church of Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah's Witnesses, Methodists and other smaller Christian groups. Islam is also present in the province with their mosques stood in large population areas.


Being in the Bicol Region, the main languages spoken in Camarines Sur are Coastal Bikol and Inland Bikol group of languages. The latter is a group of languages that includes Albay Bikol group and Rinconada Bikol, while the former just consists dialects. A dialect of Coastal Bikol, called Coastal Bikol-Partido is used in the eastern portion of the province around Lagonoy Gulf, and another dialect called Coastal Bikol-Central is spoken around Naga City.

The other important Bikol language spoken in the province is Rinconada Bikol also known as Riŋkonāda (under the umbrella of Inland Bikol group of languages), which is used by most people in Rinconada area or district of the province especially in Nabua, Iriga City, and people of Rinconada in diaspora. Buhinon (one of the languages of Albay Bikol group, another member of Inland Bikol), is a minority language spoken in the town of Buhi and around Lake Buhi. Del Gallego is the only town in the province that has a majority of population that speaks Tagalog. Most inhabitants of Camarines Sur understand Tagalog and English.

The Canaman variant of Coastal Bikol-Central dialect spoken in Canaman, Camarines Sur is said to be the "purest" form of Bikol according to Jesuit anthropologist Frank Lynch, S.J.), though most linguists just consider it as the standard form of Coastal Bikol language since Rinconada Bikol and Buhinon (both Inland Bikol) are separate languages.


The economy of Camarines Sur is mostly agriculture-based. Out of the 35 towns, 29 towns are mainly agricultural, producing rice, corn, feedmeal, freshwater fish, livestock, coconut, sugar, abacá, and water-lily.

Entrepreneurs engage in trading, often branching out towards neighboring provinces in the south as local demand might be limited, indicated by its mostly 3rd-5th income class municipalities. Handicrafts are the major source of rural income. It continuous to provide fairly large share in the small-scale industries of the province. Forestry and papermaking are another source of livelihood. The manufacture of abacá products such as Manila hemp, hats, bags, mats and slippers is one of the main sources of income in the rural areas. Fishing is also done along both shores of the province. Tourism, primarily because of Caramoan, and Mt. Isarog, also draws income for Camarines Sur. 2 towns and one city is primarily tri-economy, which means that their economy has three bases.

Naga City's economy is based in commerce, for all of the products from other provinces in the region are being brought here, making it the main center in Bicol Region. Naga City also has industry as one of the bases of its economy. The four major manufacturing and processing industries in the province are jewelry craft, gifts/toys/housewares, pineapple and coconut industry. Naga also has agricultural as a base of the economy because of its vast cornfields, rice fields, and water lily farms all over the city.

Calabanga, Cabusao, Libmanan and Sipocot have similar economies as Naga City. Calabanga has commerce as a base for the economy because all products from Naga City are being passed here in Calabanga. It is also the trade center for the towns of Tinambac, Goa, and Siruma. Calabanga also has fishing as a base of the economy because of the very large Quipayo Fishing Center, the largest in Bicol. Calabanga also has agricultural because of vast productions of corn, sugar, and rice. Cabusao has agricultural as a base of the economy because of its large granary near its border in Libmanan. It also has fishing as a base of the economy because all of the fisheries products from Calabanga are brought here to be passed in Libmanan. While Libmanan has agricultural base because of its 156 hectares of ricefields, and cornfields distributedly. Libmanan also has fishing as a base because of its coastline connecting the towns of Ragay, and Pasacao. Libmanan also has partially a commercial district. And Sipocot has agricultural base economy, because of its abundant stock of native chicken (Sipocot's OTOP) and wide production of calamansi and other vegetables, it also serve as trading post for towns of Cabusao, Ragay and Mercedes (Camarines Norte), fish products from these towns are being received by Sipocot. The rest of the towns not counted are primarily fishing industry as the main base of their economy.

Tourist attractions

Our Lady of Peñafrancia Church in Naga. There are 19th-century churches in Goa, San Jose and Sagñay. The world's smallest fish is found in Lake Buhi. There are two active (or considered dormant) volcanoes with trails: Mount Isarog and Mount Asog. The beaches of Sagñay, Sabang (Partido) and Caramoan have coral reefs, and white and black sand beaches. Pasacao is known for its beaches, hence, it was called as "The Summer Capital of Cam. Sur"


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "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 2013-01-02. 
  3. ^ a b "Province: Camarines Sur". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "The First Landings". Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Camarines Sur". Retrieved 19 June 2014. 

External links

  • Official Website of the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur
  • Philippine Standard Geographic Code
  • Philippine Census Information
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