THE PROVINCE AT A
(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 province,
formerly known as "Catanduan", "Catandognan", and finally,
"Catanduanes" derived its name from the tando trees which then
abound in the island.
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. Capt. 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
During the Japanese war, Catanduanes was not spared by their
invasion. Garrisons were erected in different parts of the
island. The guerilla movement 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 guerilla
forces controlled the barracks vacated by the Japanese 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.
Bicol is the
major dialect spoken although some words and accents greatly
differ the Bicol Mainland. The unique tongue twisting similar to
that of Capiz can be found only in the capital town of Virac and
neighboring municipalities of San Miguel, Bato and Baras. Far up
north, a completely different kind of Bicol dialect is widely
spoken. English however, is widely understood and spoken among
the population. People in the north, however, can better
understand and speak English than the national Tagalog language.
industries of the Catanduanes province are logging, fishing and
cattle-raising. In Pandan, buri hats, mats, roof shingles and
alcohol are manufactured for local consumption.