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The Bicol Region

The region in Southern Luzon which includes the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay and Sorsogon is called Bikol.

The people who live in these provinces are called the Bikolanos.

The language they speak is alternately referred to as Bikol or Bikolano.

Spanish colonizers used the name Vicor for the Bikol region. The ancient name for Southern Bikol was Ibalon, which meant people of the South.

Early Bikolanos used polished stone tools and made pottery. They had instruments for fishing and household utensils made of bamboo and weeds.

Hunting, growing of root crops, and fishing were the principal ways early Bikolanos gathered food. They used a method of dry agriculture called kaingin.

They cooked their food in bamboo tubes and used leaves for plates and cups. In the settlements, corn, and camote were planted between coconut rows, and cattle grazed beneath the trees.



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Mt. Mayon, one of the
active volcanoes in the Philippines,
is found in Tiwi, Albay in Bicol

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Lava flows from Mt. Mayon in
one of its eruptions in recent years

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Laing, a native Bicolano dish,
is basically a mix of taro leaves,
coconut milk, spices, and seafood.


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Coconut fields in Bicol

Rice is a staple food for the Bikolanos.

Seafood, such as crabs,fish, shrimp, and a wide variety of shellfish abound in the surrounding waters, making it a major part of the Bikolano diet.

Gata (coconut milk) is a very popular ingredient, used in the preparation of appetizers, main dishes, desserts and afternoon snacks.

Bikolanos are noted for their preference for hot and spicy food. Red chili, therefore, is a very important spice ever present in a Bikolano's kitchen.

Pili nut sweets are peculiar to the Bikol region.

Anahaw leaves are used for making palm fans, mats, and nipa shingles for roofing by the Bikolanos.

Clay is used to make al kinds of earthenware.

Shells that abound in the seashores of Bikol are turned into lampshades and other decorative articles. 

Coconut shells are shaped into buttons, decorative pins, and reticules.  The abaca plant, which grows abundantly in the region supplies raw materials for many exportable products, like the world-famous Manila hemp.

Out of abaca, high-quality drapes, slippers, handbags, place mats, ropes, brooms, rugs, and doormats are also produced.




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Seashells are abundant on
the shores Bicol


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Abaca, a banana family plant
is the main sourceof materials
for export goods from Bicol


The Bicol Provinces

Camarines Norte
Camarines Sur

Other Bicolano Links

Naga City

Back to Top
Back to Regional Cultures

Mayon over Legazpi
Mt. Mayon,
known for its near perfect cone shape