Camarines Sur

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Camarines Sur: Rising Sun of the Philippines

Caramoan Island

If one wishes to find a place where one can live life to the fullest by going on exhilarating hikes, enjoying extreme sports, or just sunning and relaxing one's self by the beach, then Camarines Sur just may have all the ingredients for fun and adventure and more. 

Camarines Sur 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 encompasses two cities: Naga City, the lone chartered city, is the province's and the region's most progressive city, also commercial, financial, and cultural center, while Iriga City, a component city, is the center of the Rinconada area and  Rinconada Language. Lake Buhi is where the smallest commercially harvested fish can be found, the Sinarapan or tabyos (Mistichthys luzonensis).

 People and culture

Population. According to the May 2010 census, there is a total of 2,693,821 residents in Camarines Sur, making it the most populous in the region and the 7th most populous in the whole country. 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.

Languages. Being in the Bicol Region, the main language spoken in Camarines Sur is Coastal Bikol and Inland Bikol. A dialect of Coastal Bikol, called Bikol Partido is used in the eastern portion of the province around the Lagonoy Gulf. Filipino linguists consider the dialect of Coastal Bikol called Bikol Central spoken around Naga City as the standard Bikol easily understood by all Bicolanos. The variant of Bikol Central dialect spoken in Canaman, Camarines Sur is said to be the purest form of Coastal Bikol according to Jesuit Anthropologist Frank Lynch, S.J.). The other important Bikol language spoken in the province is Ri?kon?da also known as Rinconada Bikol (under the umbrella of an Inland Bikol group of languages), which is used by most people in the Rinconada District of the province especially in Nabua, Iriga City and people of Rinconada in diaspora. Buhi-non (a language of Albay Bikol another member of Inland Bikol), is a minority language spoken in the town of Buhi and around Lake Buhi. Del Gallego (formerly Danawin, until 1937) is the only town in the province that has a majority of the population that speaks Tagalog. Most inhabitants of Camarines Sur understand Tagalog and English.

History

Known centuries ago as the Tierra de Camarines, the province is distinctly Spanish-founded settlement. Its name derived from "camaronchones" or "Camarines", a Spanish word for "kamalig" referring to small nipa or bamboo-made huts of 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 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.

At the outbreak of World War II. Guerilla 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 guerilla movement was carried on by Lieutenant Francisco Boayes. In April 1945, Camarines Sur was finally liberated from the Japanese invaders.

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 the 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.

Tourist Attractions

Natural

Mt. Isarog

Towering 1,976 meters above sea level and covering 10,112 hectares, it is the haven of indigenous flora and fauna. Most of the rare and exotic orchids, medicinal and flowering plants, wild boars, deer, squirrels, monkeys and untamed rodents are found on the base of the slopes of the mountain. It is now the last Rainforest Mountain in Southern Luzon. Hundreds of waterfalls both known and unknown, are an unforgettable sight to behold. The Protected Area Management Board has identified Malabay Falls (Naga City), Curry (Pili) Consocep (Tigaon), and Hiwacloy (Goat) as tourism areas within the mountain. 

Pinaglukaban Island - Brgy. Denrica, Garchitorena

The island offers superb sites for scuba diving. It has white sand and a lagoon.

Tayak Lagoon - Malarad Island, Caramoan

The lagoon is accessible by swimming underneath the rocks on the beach side. Coral gardens are vast and colorful.

Lahuy Island - Caramoan

The island has long stretches of uniquely white fine sand. Barangay Gota has been known as a gold-mining community even before the war. At present only small-scale operation is in existence. At sitio Nipa, a spring 300 meters from the shore provides a fresh water source not available elsewhere. A 40-hectare mangrove swamp near Barangay Oring offers a habitat for a marine wildlife.

Isla de Monteverde - Denrica, Garchitorena

The island is covered with virgin forest, inhabited by birds, bats and iguanas. It is bordered by white beaches with clean and clear sea water.

Umang Cave - Caramoan

Like a deformed cathedral the cave interior is illuminated by natural windows millions of bats flying in circles and petrified hill of guano.

Animasola Island - Balatan

Exotic rock formations and crystal clear water welcome visitors traveling off the coast of Balatan.

La Roca Encantada - Buhi

An enchanting island within the scenic lake of Buhi.

Culapnitan Cave - Libmanan

It contains innumerable stalactites and pillars ranging from massive to extremely delicate

Sabang Beach - San Jose

This resort has a sandy white beach and shallow clear placid bathing water which is strongly fitted to the climate in the area.

Lake Bato - Bato

An inland lake where wild ducks habituate, a choice site for bird watching.

Adiangao Cave - Presentacion

Located in Presentacion, the entrance to this cave is on the side of a small hill overlooking the sea.

Rose Islet - Presentacion

The small islet near the town of Presentacion, it has a white sandy beach good for swimming and snorkeling.

Atulayan Island - Caramoan

A cinema-like paradise of an island, you can easily pull your heart down and complete your collection of rare shells and stones. This island is the site of the French-Italian movie "Mutiny in the South Seas". Its ivory-colored beaches provide the best setting for the movie.

Nato Beach

Its beach is long with clear and gradual sea-depthness

Pasacao Beach - Pasacao

A very popular beach to the landlocked residents of Naga City located in the town of Pasacao

Caramoan Beach - Caramoan

The beach that could match the Miami Beach in Florida.

Aguiringan Island - Caramoan

This small, 1.5-hectare white sand beach made out of powdered corals is a favorite Camarines Sur excursion site.

Bayagin Falls

Located near the Barit River where the movie "OG" was entirely filmed for its natural location.

Lake Buhi

Where the smallest commercial fish (tabios) in the world is found.

Waterfalls

Nalalata Falls - Bula

An impressive gush of water provides a cool mist and spray in the area.

Bolanogan Falls - Barangay Agosais, Lagonoy

An impressive natural phenomenon in the town of Lagonoy, the Bolanogan falls is nature's treat to anyone who would like to experience a cool water spraying on their cheeks

Magragobdob Falls - Mt. Isarog, Goa

The cool surroundings also offers an encounter with Mt. Isarog's hidden riches such as the mysteries of its woodlands and the shrill cries of various unknown bird species.

Itbog Twin Falls - South Eastern Side of Lake Buhi

One of the major attractions of Buhi town, the sixty foot Itbog Twin Falls is an awesome spectacle of gushing white waters from somewhere on top of Mt. Isarog.

Resorts

Pasacao Chain of Resorts

Camarines Sur's very own version of the Copacabana Beach in Brazil, Pasacao has about 12-kilometers of beaches filled with people on weekends, either to unwind after a busy week of work or to spend pleasure and fun with the whole family. Just a 45-minute ride by car from Naga City, excursionists can choose from isolating themselves to the nearby Daruanak Island, to enjoying the ambience of a floating cottage to basking under the sun while on a leisure cruise on a motor boat.

Gota Beach Resort - Caramoan

A five-hour trip either by bus from Naga City to Sabang, San Jose and by boat to Caramoan or directly by land through the Caramoan Peninsula Road, one will be amply rewarded with beautiful beaches with fine white sand beside the majestic limestone and marble mountains as well as a taste of adventure in its exotic islets with coves nearby.

Consocep Resthouse - Brgy. Consocep, Tigaon

Constructed by the DPWH during the 70s, the place offers a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, Partido area and Mt. Iriga.

Parks and Farms

Bicol National Park - Sipocot

One of the three national parks and home of old trees in the province.

Bamboo Farm - Hanawan, Ocampo

Being developed by the Provincial Government as one of its eco-tourism destination in Camarines Sur, the farm showcases different varieties of bamboo in the country.

Caramoan National Park - Caramoan

Proudly dubbed as ‘The Last Frontier in the Luzon Peninsula’.

Tan-awan Park - Bagoladio, Bula

A pilgrim tourist spot, a 35-foot statue of the Queen of the Family. The park gives visitors a breathtaking panoramic view of the provinces of Camarines Sur and Albay. Bamboo and anahaw cottages are built around the shrine, well-maintained landscape for accommodation. The site is essential for religious, tourism and economic concerns.

Deer Farm - Sta. Cruz, Ocampo

Situated about 4 kilometers up in Mt. Isarog, this 5-hectare farm is considered as the Deer Farm of the Philippines. Owned by the Camarines Sur government, it was started late in 1996 with only 60 heads of five species from Australia. Today, the number had increased to over 300 heads. Its goal is to make the province a supplier of deer meat (venison) which is a delicacy to class restaurants while the hides can be used as materials for bags, belts, and other goods while the antlers can be extracted for medicinal value.

Eco-Village

Bird's Aviary - Provincial Capitol Complex, Cadlan, Pili

A dome-shaped steel structure for exotic birds.

Chicken Farm - Provincial Capitol Complex, Cadlan, Pili

A sanctuary of chicken species from all over the world.

Gazebo - Provincial Capitol Complex, Cadlan, Pili

Climbing tendrils lined the wooden porch of this Gazebo which is located within the Eco-Village. The path leading to this place is dotted with miniature and colorful flowers which one would definitely find as visually intoxicating. The gazebo is also surrounded with ponds filled with varying species of freshwater fishes and shrimps.

Land Marks

Nahulugan Kampana - Brgy. Sta. Maria, Lagonoy

The belfry of the first stone church which serves as the living memory of the past became an added tourist attraction of the municipality. It is approximately 300 meters from the Lagonoy Poblacion and can be reached thru walking or riding motor vehicles or padyaks. Presently the area is categorized as open and grassland area, but half portion is utilized for agricultural purposes. It has an area of more or less one (1) hectare and privately owned by Ontengco’s family.

PNR Markers Park - Del Gallego

The site where the late Pres. Manuel Luis Quezon had driven a golden nail during the inauguration of the North and South Railroad tracks which connected Manila and Legazpi.

Tigaon Museum - Poblacion, Tigaon

The Tigaon Museum houses old important documents, achievements, artifacts, and antiques that had captured Tigaon's Hispanic evolution - from a thriving human settlement toward its historic evolvement into a society of democratic ideology running through the Commonwealth, the war years, and present structure of governance. It showcases achievements of Tigaon sons and daughters - in Bicol politics, rural economics, industry, philosophy and the arts.

Churches

Quipayo Church - Calabanga

Another ancient Church founded by the Franciscan missionaries who came to Camarines Sur in 1578.Originally, the present parishes of Libmanan, Calabanga, Bombon and Siruma were under its jurisdiction. The patroness of Quipayo is Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion.

Nabua Ladrillo Church - Nabua

The existence of Nabua as a municipality dates back to as early as 1571 when Fray Alonzo Jimenez, an Augustinian missionary, started his first Church mission in the settlement known before as Lupa. The historical marker found in the Church of Nabua indicates, however, that the town was founded seven years later from the date it was founded by Fr. Jimenez, which means that it was founded also in the year 1578.

St. Joseph (The Worker) Parish Church - Milaor

The Church which stands today was once a big convent and monastery built by Frays Juan Del Sacramento and Jose de la Virgin in 1585. Both edifices were destroyed by fire and again were reconstructed by Fr. Francisco Delos Santos in the year 1740, the same year when it was also burned. This Church was dedicated to St. Joseph and its annual celebration of fiesta is observed every 19th day of May.

Bombon Parish and Leaning Bell Tower - Bombon

This old Church was constructed by Fray dela Torre and its completion was done by another missionary in the person of Rev. Fr. Jose Ribaya. Noted along with this Church is its leaning bell tower which is said to be likened with the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy . According to one legend, this leaning structure of the belfry made the townspeople want to destroy it. However, the parish priest insisted his parishioners to leave the tower as it is and continued working on it until it was finished.

Lagonoy Parish Church - Lagonoy

The church of Lagonoy is one of the oldest churches in Camarines Sur. It was constructed in 1837 and the 3rd  or 4th to be built in Lagonoy since 1763.

Church of San Antonio De Padua - Camaligan

The old church of Camaligan is built in the 19th century during the Spanish period. San Antonio de Padua is the parton saint of the church. The church is located near the city of Naga.

Our Lady of the Assumption Parish - Canaman

Our Lady of Assumption Parish is located in Barangay Dinaga. The wooden cross in front of the church is dated 1851 as can be seen in the inscription on its base. The brick belfry of the church is also a testament of  the history of Canaman.

Festivals

Tinagba Festival - it is the harvest offering on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes every 11th of February in Iriga City. During the festival all the different barrios join the celebration by making a well-decorated cart drawn by a carabao

Bowa-Bowaan Festival - held evey May 2, coinciding the town fiesta of Nabua. The highlight of the affair is the re-enactment of the 13th century pagan rites which is enriched by colorful costumes. The rite is dramatic revival of the traditional boa feast during the pre-Spanish era where pagans believed that the chains of coconut embryos called "Boa" are offered to their old deities

Feast of Our Lady of Buenviaje - the town fiesta of Sabang, held every last Saturday of May, highlighted by a fluvial procession

Penafrancia Festival - every year on the third week of September, the most awaited celebration of Bicol is being held in honor of Our Lady of Penafrancia. Her centuries old image becomes an object of a stirring religious event which is the ceremonial fluvial procession

Lagonoy Festival - every 1st day of May Lagonoy celebrating the town fiesta in honor to the patron saint's St.Phillip and St.James.The highlight of the affair is to promote the town's best products and native foods.

Kamundagan Festival - Naga City open its doors every December in commemorating of their charter anniversary and the birth of Jesus Christ. Highlights of the festivity are: Kiri-kiti, Pastoras, Beauty Search, Agro-Industrial Fair, Cultural Presentation, Civic Parade, Bikol Song Festival

Voyadores Festival - a street dance reenactment on the transfer of the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia from the Basilica to the Metropolitan Cathedral. Named after the male devotees (voyadores) who accompany and carry the Virgin's image in a procession called Translacion for a novena at the Metropolitan Cathedral.

List of restaurants  (Naga City)

  • Biggs Diner

Address: P. Burgos, Naga City

  • Bob Marlin

Address: Along Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City

  • Bulalo Country

Address: Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City

  • Caby's Cabana

Address: Elias Angeles St., Naga City

  • Chicken Bacolod

Address: Magsaysay Ave., Naga City

  • Geewan

Address: P.Burgos, Naga City

  • Greenwich

Address: San Francisco, Naga City

  • Grilling Point

Address: Balatas Rd., Magsaysay Ave. Naga City

  • Ilaw sa Dahon

Address: Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City

  • Jollibee Naga

Address: LCC Central Mall Naga, Felix Plazo Street, Naga City

  • KFC Naga

Address: Elias Angeles St., Naga City

  • Makiyaki

Address: Nazarene Apt., Taal Ave. Ext. cor., Magsaysay Avenue,Naga City

  • Max's Restaurant

Address: Ground Level, Avenue Square, Magsaysay Ave.,Naga City

  • McDonalds Naga

Address: Gen. Luna St., Naga City        

  • Shakeys

Address: Avenue Square, Naga City

  • Tokyo Tokyo

Address: West Park, Magsaysay Ave. Naga City

List of accommodations around the province

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

  • CMC Villa Caramoan - Caputatan, Caramoan - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Tugawe Cove Resort - Brgy. Colongcogon, Caramoan - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • RiverView Vacation Inn - No. 6 Fernandez Street Brgy. Ili, Caramoan - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Rex Tourist Inn - Tawog, Caramoan - Camarines Sur, Bicol

Naga city, Camarines Sur

  • Tabuco Homestay - 59 Renacimiento Street Tabuco, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • CBD Plaza Hotel - Ninoy & Cory AveCBD 2 Bgy. Triangulo, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Sandton Chalet Boutique Hotel - Victoria Heights, San Agustin Canaman, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Cherrard Apartelle - Husk St. Villa Virginia Subd. Concepcion, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Fish Cove Garden Hotel - 154 Abella Street, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Moraville Motorlodge - Mabolo Drive, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • UR Inn Apartelle - Zone 3 San Vicente, Canaman, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Flamingo Hostel  - Maharlika Highway, Concepcion Pequena, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Travel Suite - 45 Almeda Road, San Felipe, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Kayumanggi Resort - Carolina, Pacol, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Stonehouse Gardens Resort - Zone 5, Brgy Panicuason, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • JoMckayl Apartelle - San Sebastian Street, Isarog Avenue, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Spring Valley Garden Resort  - Del Rosario, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Del Rosario, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol - 1010 San Felipe Road, Naga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol

Iriga City, Camarines Sur

  • Parkview Hotel - San Roque, Iriga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Asog County Hotel - Highway 1 San Isidro , Iriga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Bersabaren Garden Resort - E. Corporal Street, San Isidro, Iriga City - Camarines Sur, Bicol

Nabua, Camarines Sur

  • Regal Plaza Hotel - Phil Japan Friendship Highway San Antonio Diversion Road, Nabua - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Hotel Baao Recreational Center  - San Isidro, Nabua - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Hotel Moraville Nabua - San Francisco, Nabua - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Macagang Hotel and Resort - Phil.-Japan Friendship Highway, San Antonio Poblacion, Nabua - Camarines Sur, Bicol

Pili, Camarines Sur

  • Camsur Tourist Inn - Maharlika Highway Palestina, Pili - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Moraville Drive-In Hotel - Anayan, Pili - Camarines Sur, Bicol

Pasacao, Camarines Sur

  • Euresian Paradise Resort - Zone 2 Balogo Pasacao, Pasacao - Camarines Sur, Bicol
  • Surfers Paradise Beach Resort - Zone 3a, Caranan, Pasacao - Camarines Sur, Bicol

Accessibility

By Air

From Manila, Cebu Pacific flies 3 to 4 times a day; Air Philippines/PAL Express flies twice per day (45 mins) and Zest Air flies daily to the Naga Airport (actually in Pili about 10kms East of Naga)

By Land

You can go to Cubao Terminal or Pasay Bus Terminal where buses going to Naga Camarines Sur can be found. Buses operate daily going to Bicol.

Bus lines (Cubao) - Gold Line Tours, Isarog Lines, RSL, Raymond, Peñafrancia Tours, etc.

Bus lines (Pasay) - AMihan Bus and PhilTranCo.

Getting  around the city

In downtown Naga City you can be able to roam around the place just by foot. If you don't prefer walking, tricycles and jeepneys are the main transportation and taxis are also available.

Trisikad, padyak or manpowered tricycles are also available in areas that mostly aren't included in jeepney and tricycle routes.

Buses, vans and Jeepneys are mostly used for traveling outside the city going to the connecting towns of Camarines Sur.

For other municipalities, jeepneys, tricycles and trisikad are available as a mode of transportation around the province.

                   Surfer's Paradise Beach Resort, Pasacao, Camarines Sur