Population: 232,757. as of May 1, 2007
Household: 44, 335
Land Area: 1,511.1 sq.km. or 151,150 hectares
Capital Town: Virac
Congressional District: 1
No. of Municipalities: 11
No. of Barangays: 315
The province is geographically situated at the easternmost part of the Bicol Peninsula, separated from the mainland Bicol by the Maqueda Channel and the Lagonoy Gulf. It is the first landmass of the Philippine archipelago to kiss the Pacific Ocean, making it directly open to the path of tropical cyclones, thus the monicker, "The Land of the Howling Winds".
Political Subdivision and Land Area
Comprised by 11 municipalities, 315 barangays and one congressional district, it has a total land area of 151,150 hectares or 1, 511. Sq km. The capital town is Virac.
As of May 1, 2007 survey of the National Census Statistics Office, the total population has reached 232,756.
Bicol is the common language used with different nuances and variations in tones especially when one gets to the northern towns. English and Tagalog are commonly spoken and understood.
Abaca, sugbo (lasa or tiger grass), coconut, timber, pili nuts, marine products
Little is known or written about the history of the province because the "Ex Libris Canonicus", the best source of the province's historical information, was lost and destroyed in one of the incursions of Moro pirates.
Catanduanes was then a sub-province of Ambos Camarines in the early 1900s, and, later of Albay. It gained provincial autonomy when Congressman Francisco Perfecto filed House Bill No. 301 which separated the province from Albay. It was approved on September 26, 1945 and subsequently signed into law by President Osmena on October 24, 1945.
Remigio Socito, the last Lieutenant Governor, was appointed as the first Provincial Governor. When elections were held in 1947, Alfonso V. Usero became the first elected Governor.
How it got its name
Several legends try to explain the origin of the name “Catanduanes”. One legend states that Catanduanes came from the word “tandu”, a native click bettle that was abundant throughout the island. “Katanduan” then was the reference made of this island. When the Spaniards came, it was corrupted from katanduan to Catanduanes.
Another legend says that the name actually originated from the word “samdong”, a tree that once abounded in the island, which people consequently called “kasamdongan”, meaning a place of many “samdong”. The word was also hispanized, perhaps because of the difficulty of the Spaniards in pronouncing words ending in “ng”. From “kasamdongan”, it became “katandungan”, which gradually metamorphosed to Catanduanes.
Two tongues are being spoken locally. The northern accent has a very pronounced letter R that becomes a diphthong of non-vowel letters L and R in the southern towns. In written form, the conventional mainland Bicol dialect is used. Tagalog, by virtue of its being officially taught in schools and the affinity of most Bicolanos to it, is the second most common dialect and easily the most understood by people of all walks of life. The English language is the normal medium used in primary communications. Curiously, the Spanish and Chinese tongues, which have been around for quite a number of years are slowly being eased out and unlearned.
More and more people from the neighboring regions are finding peace and security in Catanduanes. Migrants from Visayas and Mindanao regions far outnumber other ethnic groups. The only or natural born or naturalized ethnic group of note are the Chinese nationals, a great number of them have managed to maintain purity of race, customs and traditions, although some practically assimilated into the local mainstream.
Almost all of the people of the province are natural born citizens. Naturalized citizens mostly Chinese and some other nationalities is only about one per cent of the population.
Traditions and inherited lifestyles are being slowly supplanted brought about by a high degree of exposure to the western culture. Significant shift in values, beliefs, morals and customs and outlook in life of younger and future generation will likely take place with the advent of digital information age. State-of-the-art technologies in Communication and Information unheard of in the last decade bring a wide range of information to an increasing number of island residents. Television sets link to satellite cable television system are now common in households notably in areas where local television broadcasts are not accessible, computers linked to the internet, satellite phone and cellular phone services are some of these technologies.
The folk festivals celebrated as part of the local religious rituals are with unique traces of the Spanish colonization. Among these festivals is the theKalbaryo or Calvary which is commonly staged during the Holy Week is a reenactment of the passion of Christ’s way of the cross; the Kagharong which is a native depiction of the nativity scene held every year during the yuletide season; Pantomina is purely a native dance, popular on occasions of importance. It is a dance interpretation (pantomine) of a rooster courting a hen. Pantomina dance is mostly practice in rural areas, and the “PadadyaosaTinampo, a purely a native cultural presentation of street dancing held every 24th of October to commemorate the province‘s founding anniversary.
The very recent Sugbo Festival of the seven (7) sugbo or tiger grass producing barangays of Hitoma area in the municipality of Caramoran is a notable contemporary event which is an addition to these traditional festivals. Its celebration every month of May coinciding with the celebration of Hitoma barangay fiesta is being institutionalized with the support of the provincial government, LGU of Caramoran and national line agencies to promote the commercial development of the local lasa or tiger grass industry and to create a signature product from tiger grass.
By comparison, the prevailing peace and order situation in the province is much better than that of the other provinces in the region. This is attributed to the inherent affable character of the “Catandungeño” or “Catanduanganon”, the all-out government support and a vigilant religious hierarchy. To arrest attempts of criminal elements to make the province a market for illegal drugs, the police force with the support of LGUs launched a massive information campaign for a better-informed citizenry.
Police Services - The Philippine National Police in the province is composed of the local police force and the fire brigade’s services. Among its objectives, the PNP organizes missions to protect lives and property, enforce laws and maintain peace and order; to prevent crimes and to investigate the commission of all crimes and offenses and to bring the offender to justice; And finally, to take the necessary measures to prevent and control fires and to maintain public safety.
The prevailing peace and order remains the best argument for promoting the province. The province crime rate is 6.39 in 2006. Crime volume over the same period was 191.