Photo by Cheeze Keyk on Flickr
Written by: Aiya Rodjel
Camarines Sur, or in short, CamSur, is a province located in the Bicol Peninsula in Luzon, Philippines. Its capital city is Pili, while other major cities include the lone chartered city, Naga city, and the component city, Iriga City. Camarines Sur is the largest province among the six provinces located in the Bicol region in terms of population and land area. And the liberated Camarines Sur is one of the provinces slowly adapting digital technology. It has accepted providers of fast internet connection, just like its neighboring provinces of Camarines Norte, Quezon, and Albay.
In this article, we’ll talk about the province’s population and land area, as well as how people travel to the region. We’ll also delve into the famous food offerings, products, and tourist destinations CamSur has to offer in order to give people an idea of how valuable investing in the province can be.
Camarines Sur Province in a Nutshell
Camarines Sur province is located in the central part of the Bicol region, the southeastern part of Luzon Island. In the north of the province lies Quezon and Camarines Norte, San Miguel Bay, and the Pacific Ocean. On the south side, you can find Albay. In the east lies Lagonoy gulf, and on the west is Ragay Gulf.
With a population of over 2 million and a landmass of about 5,500 km2 (2,100 sq mi), Camarines Sur is the largest and most populated province in the Bicol Region. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) consensus of 2000, the forecast for the province’s population is 3 million by 2040. As per the Philippine Statistics Authority, the province accounts for 29.87% of Bicol, and about 1.75% of the entire land area of the Philipines.
Where most of the people live
Most of Camarines Sur’s people live in Naga City, which is the largest commercial center and city in the province. The rest are in the component city, Iriga City, and its other municipalities.
In terms of culture, most inhabitants of the island province are Bicolano. However, some Negrito or Agta tribes still live in the mountain areas. Tagalog speakers dwell near the border of Quezon province.
Camarines Sur along with Camarines Norte used to belong to a single province. However, during the Spanish regime, there was a division of the province. The current CamSur or Tierra del Camarines (named after the province’s many kamalig or nipa huts) became part of a larger Partido de Camarines. This would give the common local name of the Caramoan Peninsula.
In time, there was a split of the Partido de Camarines. The name of its rejoin was the Ambos Camarines. During the American occupation, the there was once again a division. Naga City, previously called Nueva Caceres during the Spanish era) used to be the capital of the province. However, the provincial capital was moved to Pili, a city named after pili nut, which is located in the southeast of the province. To this day, Pili city remains the capital of the island province.
The Languages of Camarines Sur
There are two main Bicol languages in CamSur: Central Bikol and Rinconada Bikol. Central Bikol is the most widely used variety of Bicol. This particular language is native to the Naga metro area, northwest Camarines Sur, and Partido. It is widely recognized within the whole Camarines Sur and Bicol Region.
Rinconada Bikol is used mainly in the Rinconada area to the southeast, and at the provincial capital at Pili. To the untrained ear, this may sound like a blend of Tagalog dialects, Aklanon and Waray. However, it has its own unique alphabet system. It also has particular sounds that are not found in most Philippine languages.
The Negrito tribes used to have their own languages. However, they’ve learned to adapt to the languages of their neighboring areas. Tagalog is widely used as well, but usually with a distinct Bikolano accent.
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Traveling to CamSur, Camarines Norte, and the rest of the Bicol Region
The Camarines Sur Province and the rest of the Bicol region can be accessed via plane, bus, car, and train. If you’re coming from Metro Manila, major airline companies have two flights to the province per day. The flight would take you about 45 minutes, and you’d have to pass through Pili City before heading to your destination.
Major bus terminals in Metro Manila offer transportation to Camarines Sur. There are a number of bus lines that offer bus rides to Naga City as well as several smaller towns within the province. From within the Bicol region, there are buses that pass through Sorsogon, Legazpi, Tabaco, and Matnog.
If you’re planning to go on a road trip, you can head to Camarines Sur by taking the Maharlika Highway and the Andaya Highway. Also, if you’re coming from Albay, you can take the scenic Sagñay-Tiwi Road. If you’re coming from Lucena, you can pass through the Quezon-Bicol Expressway, which links to San Fernando, CamSur.
The South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) is currently under renovation. Upon completion of the project, driving from Metro Manila to Camarines Sur would take about six to nine hours.
If you’re coming from Albay, you can travel by train to Camarines Sur. The train from Legazpi to Naga City is available on weekdays.
Sightseeing in Camarines Sur
From religious sites to popular water parks, there are a lot of tourist activities in Camarines Sur. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for some thrill or someone interested in a relaxing, picturesque escape, the province has a lot of diverse offerings to check out.
Camarines Sur is home to a lot of religious and historical establishments carefully conserved to this day. The Basilica of Our Lady of Penafrancia showcases a beautiful wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, which was originally from Salamanca, Spain.
If you’re an adventure seeker, the world-class CamSur Water Park is a must-visit attraction not only in the region but within the Philippines. The first established watersports complex in the Philippines and in Asia, it is frequented by international riders. Aside from waterboarding and waterskiing, you can engage in water activities such as swimming and biking.
If your goal is to explore the wonderful sights the region has to offer, you can go island hopping in the Caramoan Islands. Here, you’ll get to explore many white-sand beaches, gorgeous coral reefs, eat fresh seafood, and many more. Like the rest of the country, Camarines Sur is very tropical. While you can explore Camarines Sur and its three lakes throughout the year, heading to the province in the summertime would be ideal.
Eating Bicolano Style
Bicolanos are known for their very spicy taste palate. If you look to spice it up, the region has a lot of hot dishes for you to sample, and even try to learn.
The most famous Bicolano dish is called Bicol Express. Comfort food made of coconut milk/coconut cream, peppers, shrimp paste, meat, and other spices, this spicy food is well known not only within the region but across the whole country. While traditionally made of pork, other regions have adapted the recipe and used other meat and non-meat options to make it more diverse.
Coconut milk is present in a lot of other Bicolano food. Another favorite dish, laing, contains this as the main ingredient. As you can probably guess, this is often made spicy. In fact, Bicolanos like to relish their dishes with chili peppers and other spices. Unlike other regions in the nation, people in Camarines Sur love it hot all the time.
If you’re in the mood for something more exotic, Naga City offers a dish called Kinalas. A noodle soup dish made of scraped meat from a pig or cow’s head and its other parts, it also has thick deep-brown sauce from a pig or cow’s brain and spices. Because of its quirky ingredients, a lot of people see it as a challenge to eat this particular dish. It is also popular in Pili city and other areas of Bicol.
The economy of Camarines Sur
The majority of CamSur thrives on agriculture. In fact, 29 out of the 35 towns in the province mostly make their living through farming and fishing. They usually engage in producing rice, corn, feed meal, coconut, livestock, and sugar. Because the region is surrounded by fresh bodies of water, they also sell freshwater fish.
Entrepreneurs engage in trading often venture out to neighboring provinces. This is because local demand is can be limited since most families come from humble means. The local handicraft industry is quite formidable, but the demand lies in other regions and of course, the rest of the Philippines.
Tourism, primarily because of the town of Caramoan and Mount Isarog, also generate a lot of jobs and income for the province. The advancement of the Camsur Water Park is perfectly balanced out by the quiet towns of the north.
In recent years, CamSur has seen growth in urbanization. Thus, the construction industry has been thriving because of public infrastructure. Mining and quarrying have been contributing to CamSur’s economic growth as well. In essence, while agriculture and fishery still dominate the livelihood of most households, there are a lot of opportunities for urban development.
Camarines Sur Products
Whether you’re traveling or looking for business partners in Camarines Sur, there are a lot of interesting and unique products for you to choose from. The most famous product in CamSur, as well as the rest of the region, is caramelized pili nuts. As you can probably guess, it’s so popular the province’s capital is named after pili nuts.
Aside from your basic nuts, they’ve also elevated the famous ingredient into tarts, honey glazed pili nuts, Mazapan de pili, chocolate bars with pili, and more. Whether you’re visiting a secluded town or exploring areas in the north, you can surely find vendors that sell pili nut products.
The Bicolano love for all things spicy has literally permeated their liquor. If you’re looking for a unique beverage, you should try if you can take the hotness of their Sili beer. This novelty beverage will surely spark interesting conversations.
If you’re coming home to little ones, consider buying CamSur’s upcycled plush toys. Inspired by enchanted creatures, their folklore-inspired toys are the cute versions of the told horror story figures by locals.
CamSur’s local handicraft is very formidable. That’s why you should consider purchasing native bags from local manufacturers. The materials used for their bags are usually Abaca and Bangkuan grass. However, they give their products a sophisticated upgrade by adding embellishments of traditional embroidery and crocheting. These native bags are elegant accessories as you visit the beaches the regions of the Philippines have to offer.
Businesses in Naga City
Basically, Naga City and other towns have a tri-economy or three-base economy: commerce, industry, and agriculture. Because Naga City essentially functions as the main center of the Bicol region, the majority of the other products of Bicol are brought to Naga City.
Four major industries thrive in Camarines Sur. There are a lot of local players that manufacture jewelry. There are also local businesses that make their living through gifts, toys, and housewares. The processing of coconut and pineapple is also quite popular in the nearby regions.
Prior to the pandemic, CamSur, as well as the rest of the region, bested the other 17 regions of the Philippines in terms of economic growth. As per the Philippine Statistics Authority, it exceeded the growth rate posted by the capital as well as the national average.
Invest in the Basics: Reliable and High-Speed Internet Connection
Given that the growth of CamSur surpasses the national average, there is good reason to believe that it would be wise to invest in CamSur, especially the two cities, Naga and Iriga. When it comes to planting new businesses, it’s important you invest in the basics. Among the basic components of building your business in CamSur is a strong and reliable unlimited fiber internet connection.
We at Streamtech provide you with high-speed fiber internet at an affordable price. We see the growth in CamSur, which is why we’ve made our services available in the key city of Naga. Visit our official Facebook Page to know more about our offerings today.