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Island Group Luzon
Region Bicol Region
Capital Virac
Area 1,492.16 km²
Cities 0
Municipalities 11
- Total 232,757
- Density/km² 155.99
Income class 3
Location in the Philippines:


Catanduanes is an island province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. It is subdivided into 11 municipalities and Virac is the provincial capital. Several islands composed the province, but majority of these are physically small to be of relative significance. The province is bounded in the west by the Maqueda Channel, in the south by Lagonoy Gulf, and in the north and east by the Philippine Sea.

The topography of Catanduanes is rugged and mountainous, becoming more pronounced towards the central portion of the island. The highest mountain peak is in Boctot, located between the municipalities of Virac and San Miguel with an elevation of 803 meters above sea level.

“Isla de Cobos” was Catanduanes’ first adopted name because Spanish conquistadores came upon several tribes living in thatched huts called cobos. Catanduanes is a hispanized term derived from the word tandu, a native beetle and the samdong tree, which were both found in abundance throughout the island. Common reference to "katanduan" or "kasamdongan", meaning a place where the tandu or the samdong tree thrives in abundance, led to the coining of the word Catanduanes.

Without a pronounced dry season, rain is distributed fairly well throughout the year becoming wetter in the last quarter and the early months of the first quarter, when tropical disturbances and monsoon wind bring in heavy rains. Other months are characterized by short periods of dryer days and fine weather except in July and August, when the dry and gusty northwest monsoon winds intensify.

The conventional Bicol dialect is widely used in the province. Tagalong is the second most common dialect and the most easily understood by people from all walks of life. English is the medium of instruction in school and primary communications.

Catanduanes is home to many folk festivals which are celebrated as part of the local religious rituals. The Kalbaryo or Calvary, which is commonly staged during Holy Week, is a re-enactment of Christ’s way of the cross. The Kagharong is a native depiction of the nativity scene and is held every year during the yuletide season. Pantomina is purely a dance interpretation of a rooster courting a hen and is mostly practice in rural areas. The Padadyao sa Tinampo is a native cultural presentation of street dancing held every 24th of October to commemorate the province’s founding anniversary. The recent addition to Catanduanes’ festivals is the Sugbo Festival. It is celebrated by 7 barangays of Hitoma in Caramoan that produces sugbo or tiger grass – a bamboo like perennial grass used to make brooms.

The most populous cities and municipalities in Catanduanes are:

City/Municipality City class Area
in km²
Urbanisation Population
Total Density/km²
Virac Municipality 152.40 1 partly urban 64,554 423.58
San Andres (Calolbon) Municipality 167.31 3 partly urban 33,781 201.91
Caramoran Municipality 263.74 3 partly urban 25,618 97.13
Viga Municipality 158.23 4 partly urban 19,266 121.76
Pandan Municipality 119.90 4 partly urban 19,005 158.51
Bato Municipality 48.62 5 partly urban 18,738 385.40
San Miguel Municipality 129.94 5 partly urban 12,966 99.78
Baras Municipality 109.50 5 partly urban 11,787 107.64
Bagamanoc Municipality 80.74 5 partly urban 10,183 126.12
Panganiban (Payo) Municipality 79.96 5 partly urban 9,290 116.18

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