The Bicol Region, is one of the 17 regions in the Philippines. It occupies the Bicol Peninsula at the southeastern end of Luzon island and some other islands.
It consists of six provinces, namely, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon. It has one independent component city, Naga, and six component cities, Iriga, Legazpi, Ligao, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Tabaco. The regional centers are: Legazpi City, the region's political and administrative center and Naga City, the region's cultural and religious center. Legazpi, Naga, and Sorsogon are the leading cities in the region in terms of urbanization and also the hub of the region's economic activity.
Inhabitants, called Bicolanos, speak any one of the several varieties of Bikol, an Austronesian language closely related to other Central Philippine languages such as Cebuano and Tagalog. Bikol varieties include Bikol Rinconada(Iriga-Buhi area), the western Albay dialects Oasnun and Daragueño (Oas, Daraga), Bikol Sorsogon (Sorsogon), Bikol Catanduanes and Bikol Partido (municipalities surrounding Lagonoy Gulf). Standard Bikol is based on the dialect of Naga City and is spoken in a wide area stretching from Camarines Norte, most of Camarines Sur, the entire east coast of Albay (including Legazpi City and Tabaco City) and northern Sorsogon. Standard Bikol is generally understood by other Bikol speakers and is the regional lingua franca.
The Bikol languages are the dominant languages of the region. The Filipino language (Tagalog) is also spoken in northern parts of Camarines Norte as well as in the municipality of Del Gallego, Camarines Sur. Two Visayan languages, Sorsoganon and Masbateño or Minasbate, are spoken in Sorsogon and Masbate; they are collectively referred to as Bisakol.
Albay's archaeology shows concrete evidence of trade with China, Malaysia and Indonesia going back two thousand years ago. The first Spanish contact was in 1565, when a treasure-galleon returning to Cebu from Acapulco, Mexico, was swept off course and the captain recorded his awe at the sight of Mt. Mayon erupting. Mt. Mayon is the most prominent of the several volcanoes in the province, and one of the most famous jewels of the Pacific Ring of Fire; its eruptions have repeatedly inflicted disaster in the province, and enriched the survivors. When at peace, it is a particularly beautiful mountain. Albay has a large amount of rich flat land, and agriculture is the largest component of the provincial economy. Coconut, rice, abaca, and maize are the chief crops. Handicrafts bolster rural incomes. Commercial fishing is also important, and the province has several thousand manufacturing enterprises. There are plenty of places to visit, offering opportunities to swim at beautiful beaches, scuba-dive to wrecked galleons, explore caves, climb volcanoes, admire waterfalls, lush vegetation, Baroque architecture, etc.
Gold-mining and jewelry manufacturing continue to distinguish the province. Agriculture and fishing are major factors in the province's economy, and several handicrafts and small-scale industries are widely practiced. The region has recently seen a revival in its tourism industry, due mainly to the popularity of the new CamSur Water Sports Complex, the Mayon Volcano and the whale shark spotting and an increase in the number of upscale resorts in the region. Daet has long been a destination for surfers. It is hoped that the planned Southern Luzon International Airport will further boost tourism in the region.
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