Infobox Philippine province
name = Catanduanes
sealfile = Ph_seal_catanduanes.png region = Bicol Region (Region V)
capital = Virac
founded = September 26, 1945
pop2000 = 215,356
pop2000rank = 13th smallest
popden2000 = 142
popden2000rank = 24th lowest
areakm2 = 1,511.5
arearank = 14th smallest
hucities = 0
componentcities= 0
municipalities = 11
barangays = 315
districts = 1
languages = Northern Catanduanes Bicolano,
Southern Catanduanes Bicolano,
Central Bicolano, Tagalog
governor = Joseph Cua (Independent)
locatormapfile = Ph_locator_map_catanduanes.png

Catanduanes is an island province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. Its capital is Virac and the province lies to the east of Camarines Sur across Maqueda Channel.

People and culture

The people of Catanduanes are Bicolanos whose dialect indicates a strong Visayan influence. The early Spanish chroniclers noted that the people of Catanduanes, not unlike the Visayans, also adorned their bodies with tattoos. Oral traditions also reveal folk legends that trace the earliest Catandunganons to the same group of settlers who allegedly peopled the Visayas.

As a result of geographical seclusion and vulnerability to storms, the Catandunganons have remained isolated from the rest of the Bicol region and the Philippines. This isolation in part accounts for the strength of religious institutions in the island. Nearly all the people belong to the Roman Catholic Church and religious fervor remains high. However, despite their isolation, the people of Catanduanes are also noted for their genial mien and hospitality.

Inhabitants speak the Bicol language with a distinctive accent.


Catanduanes is known to many as an island paradise. It lies east of the Bicol peninsula. The island province is bounded by the Maqueda Channel in the west, the Pacific Ocean on the north and east, and Lagonoy Gulf and Cabugao Bay on the south.

It has an aggregate total area of 1,511.50 km². These include the smaller islands of Panay, Palumbanes, Parongpong, Calabagio and 23 other islets.

The general landscape of the island is hilly to mountainous, becoming more pronounced towards the central portion. Less than 10 percent of the land area has slope gradient under 8 percent, mostly fractured and narrow strips of plains dispersed near the coastal areas where most of the inhabitants are settled. Its coastal plains are narrow and limited, and the only widely cultivated area is in northeastern section, which is considered as the rice granary of the province.


Catanduanes is subdivided into 11 municipalities.



*Panganiban (Payo)
*San Andres (Calolbon)
*San Miguel



The province, formerly known as "Catanduan, "Catandongan", and finally "Catanduanes", derived its name from the "tando" trees.

The early settlers of this island were said to be scions of the Datus of Borneo. Juan de Salcedo arrived in this island in 1573, hunting for pirates, and conquered and Christianized the natives. Three years later, a galleon expedition from Acapulco was shipwrecked near the island and the survivors were either killed or made servants. The Batalay Church in Bato, just several kilometers from the capital town of Virac, marks that historical event.

The scions of the ten Bornean Datus who had moved on the island of Panay and then, spread out throughout the archipelago were the first settlers to have set foot in Catanduanes.

Meanwhile, the Spaniards came on the island province in 1573. Juan de Salcedo and his other conquistadores, together with some friars who were to Christianize the island later, landed on the island in search for local pirates who were plying their nefarious trade between Camarines Sur, Sorsogon and Western Catanduanes. As they moved along, the friars also conquered the inhabitants through the gospel.

Catanduanes was not spared from the adventurous raids of the Moros who came from the island of Mindanao. Because of these destructive raids, many records of the past were destroyed and lost. Thus, the complete details of the history of the island was cut short. The only record made to proclaim about the past was in 1755.

During the American regime, the local insurgents refused to recognize the sovereignty of the United States. Most of them fled to the mountains. The American occupation did not last long. In 1934, the Americans had ceased control of the island.

During World War II, Catanduanes was not spared by their invasion. Garrisons were erected in different parts of the island. The guerrilla movement led by Col.Salvador A. Rodolfo, Sr. (a.k.a Phantom) was intensely active during this time of crisis.

On February 8, 1945, the liberation of the island province was proclaimed. In its place, a municipal building at Virac was constructed and also the town's Parish church.

The free atmosphere has calmed the people. The guerrilla forces together with the Filipino soldiers controlled the barracks vacated by the Japanese forces.

Beginning in 1945 the Philippine Commonwealth forces landed from liberation in Catanduanes attacked the Japanese Imperial forces.

On October 26, 1946, three months after the Philippine independence from the Americans, the island was finally recognized as a separate and independent province. Commonwealth Act No. 687 was enacted to create the island of Catanduanes as one of the six provinces of the Bicol Region.

Commonwealth Act No. 687 established Catanduanes as a province independent from Albay. It was approved by Congress on September 26, 1945, signed into law by President Sergio Osmeña, Sr. on October 24, 1945, and took effect on October 16, 1945.

Current governor is Joseph Cua.

Another Version of Catanduanes History

The PROVINCE OF CATANDUANES, (opposite the Bicol Region), is bounded by the Maqueda Channel on th 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. Showever, the vessel tha visits its ports are provided with safe enchorage 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 "encomendoeros.

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, 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.


Catanduanes is an island province. It lies beyond Maquenda Channel and Lagonoy Gulf off the coast of Souther Luzon. Other than the main island there are a number of smaller islands of the northeast coast. All of these comprise the white islands of the province.

Among these islands, the larges and economically important are the following islands: Panay, Palumbanes, Parongpong and Calbagio. On the northern tip of the island of Panay is a former base of the USE Coast Guard Signal Station.


Virac is the capital town of the island province. It is composed of eleven (11) municipalities. They are Bagamanoc, Baras, Caramoan, Pandan, Panganiban, San Andres, San Miguel, Viga and its capital town, Virac.

Catanduanes belongs to only one legislative district.


Catanduanes geographical position has a serious drawback to the economic development of the whole province. It lies completely open and unprotected within the typhoon belt and facing directly the wide Pacific Ocean. Very often, it is overly exposed to off and on seasonal tropical storms which frequently visit the area every year.

Catanduanes belongs to the second type of climate. It has no dry season with a very pronounce maximum rainfall from November to January.


The 2000 Census of Population shows 215,356 inhabitants.

External links

* [ Official website of the Provincial Government of Catanduanes]
* [ Free Press and Expression for Catandunganons]
* [ Internet-Based Community of People from Catanduanes]
* [ Catanduanes A Pearl In The Pacific]
* [ The Place where distance can never make you apart with love ones!]
* [ Travel information about Catanduanes]

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