Welcome to Bicolandia
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One Day, One Bicol!
Bicolandia, Bicolandia, the home of the 'oragons'
(Taken from the Bicol Regional March written by Education Supervisor II Francisco B. Bulalacao, Jr.)
Today, you may want to travel Bicol in a day. And that is TODAY. Welcome and be engaged.
Oragon is a Bicol word which simply means 'the best.' And Bicolanos are known for it.
Bicol Region in the Philippines is the land of pili and sili, of gata and tabios or sinarapan, of abaca and copra, of typhoons and whale sharks. People remember the place because of the majestic Mayon Volcano and melodious Sarong Banggui, of the fabled Magayon and Ibalon, of the festive Penafrancia, Tinagba and Kasanggayahan. Others remember Bicol because of Nora Aunor, Elizabeth Oropesa and Imelda Papin, Eddie Garcia and Roderick Paulate, Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa, Bugoy Drilon and Enchong Dee. They admire Bicol because of Joker Arroyo and Raul Roco, of Jessie Robredo and Chiz Escudero, of Harriet Demetriou, Liwayway Vinzons-Chato and Leila de Lima. And now, 'major, major' Miss Universe runner-up Ma. Venus Raj.
The Bicol peninsula makes up the southeastern tip of Luzon dotted by Isarog, Asog, Malinao, Mayon and Bulusan, all mountains and volcanoes dressed by streaming rivers and verdant forests, surrounded by waters teeming with marine products and adorned by golden rice fields that feed the Bicolanos.
It has diverse culture and dialects observed in six key provinces and seven cities, namely Albay, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon, with the cities of Iriga, Legazpi, Ligao, Masbate, Naga, Sorsogon, and Tabaco.
It is a convergence of colorful and animated pageantry of festivals such as the Pinyasan and Bantayog of Camarines Norte, Boa-boahan and Kaogma of Camarines Sur, Kamundagan and Penafrancia of Naga City, Tinagba of Iriga City, Magayon of Albay, Ibalong of Legazpi City, Tabak of Tabaco City, Kasanggayahan of Sorsogon, Sosogon of Sorsogon City and Rodeo of Masbate.
Reverred by most Bicolanos is 'Ina,' the Lady of Penafrancia in Naga City which attracts throngs of believers and devotees from all over the country, even from the global community. Ina unifies the Bicolanos who for long years now have survived the wrath of strong typhoons that devastated its rich farmlands and tourism destinations.
Camarines Norte mountains greet and usher tourists from the north to the Bicolandia. The 2,112.5 square kilometer-stretch planted to coconut, abaca and pineapple is also a home to endangered trees and wildlife in the sanctuary called Bicol National Park. Paracale and Jose Panganiban towns are noted mines of gold, silver and other precious metals like cobalt, uranium and iron, aside from its long stretch of tempting beaches inviting water buffs to surf.
Camarines Sur, Bicol's biggest province, makes twin mountains Isarog and Asog shield its people from strong typhoons. Isarog gives Naga City and nearby towns abundant water supply and flows some of Bicol's beautiful waterfalls from its shoulders, aside from being a home to the nomadic 'cimarones' and Agta tribes. Its wide farmland provides the biggest supply of agricultural produce to the region as it is known to be its rice granary.
Naga City in Camarines Sur, now dubbed as 'An Maogmang Lugar,' is the heart of Bicolandia and the home of our Lady of Penafrancia.
Mount Asog in Iriga City which lies between Baao and Buhi lakes is a favorite trekking destination. Buhi Lake, being the home of the smallest fish in the world, also teems with tilapia and other fishes.
This premier province collects three lakes that teems with life for its people's livelihood: Buhi Lake, Bato Lake and Baao Lake, all found in the fifth congressional district.
Caramoan, its farthest town mainly accessible by motorboat passing Lagonoy Gulf for two hours, is now dubbed Philippines' Secret Paradise with its powdery white beaches surrounding several panoramic islands that are comparatively competitive to Boracay.
Albay province boasts of Mayon Volcano occupying 7,946 ft. of its total 2,533 square kilometer land area. Afoot Mayon is Tiwi Geothermal Plant, Luzon's biggest supplier of electric power. Volcanic pool of sulfur called Naglagbong Lake can be found in the area. Rapu-rapo and Batan islands are known coal mines.
The fabled caves of Hoyop-hoyopan and Calabidong are strong attractions for tourists situated just several kilometers away from the Cagsawa Ruins of Daraga where abaca products showcase Bicol's craftmanship.
Three cities are found in this province: Ligao, Legazpi and Tabaco. Ligao City, one of the emerging cities, blends rural and urban culture in merrymaking in Christmas as a form of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest from its rice fields and fishing grounds. Legazpi City is Bicol's charming port city, accessible by land, air and water transportation, and plays host to fast moving business, educational and recreational centers. Tabaco City, the 'City of Love,' is the 'tabak' and cutlery central of the region.
Sorsogon rests on a 2,141.4 square kilometer-land area in the southermost part of Luzon that links seafarers from mainland Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao islands, being the ancient harbor of the Spanish galleons. It is known for the lush Bulusan Volcano and its lake along with the white sands of Magallanes where the first Christian mass in Luzon was held in 1570. Donsol town wakes the tourism potential up of the province with the constant visit of congregating whale sharks locally called 'butanding'..
The province is the gateway to the island province of Masbate with its Bulan and Pilar ports and other parts of the Visayan regions.
Sorsogon City is the only city in the province.
Masbate, tagged as the Cattle Province of the Philippines, comprises three islands, namely Burias, Ticao and Mainland Masbate, with a total 4.047.7 square kilometer land area. It is rich in mineral deposits, coconut plantaion and fertile fishing groundsits, coconut plantation and fertile fishing grounds.
Lying between the Bicol and Visayan islands, Masbatenos speak Bicol, Ilongo, Cebuano, Waray and Tagalog.
Masbate owns one of the busiest ports in Bicol.
Catanduanes, called as the isle of howling winds, survives the rage of Pacific Ocean especially during typhoons. Catandungans have long been tempered with faith in the face of visiting angry weather disturbances and blessed by its rich terrain with farm and forest, poultry and livestock, including marine products for livelihood.
Bicol is a cradle of peace-loving people who have made great leaps from its booming and bustling region to reckon in terms of agro-industrial development. Its rich natural resources and tourism potentials often devastated by typhoons now put Bicol in the map of the must-see destinations.
The land of Ibalon symbolized by the panoramic Mayon, of Magayon, and Oragon welcomes all visitors and promenaders.
"Maogmang pag-abot asin dagos tabi kamo."
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