The Bicol Region (Filipino: Kabikulan; Spanish: Bicolandia) is one of the 17 Regions of the Philippines, designated as Region V. Bicol (also spelled Bikol) is composed of four provinces in the Bicol Peninsula, the southeastern end of Luzon island, and two island-provinces adjacent to the peninsula, namely: Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate andSorsogon. The administrative center is Legazpi while the religious, education, economic, industrial and commercial center isNaga City, Camarines Sur.
The Bicol Region is located in the southernmost tip of Luzon Island, the largest island in the Philippine archipelago. The total land area of the region is 18,054.3 km2 (6,970.8 sq mi),which or 5.9% of the total land area of the country. Around 69.3% of the total land area is alienable and disposable while the remaining 30.7% is public forest areas.
The region is bounded by Lamon Bay to the north, Pacific Ocean to the east, and Sibuyan Sea and Ragay Gulf to the west. The northernmost province, Camarines Norte, is bordered to the north by the province of Quezon, connecting the region to the rest of Luzon.
Albay's archaeology shows concrete evidence of trade with China, Malaya and Indonesia going back two thousand years. The firstSpanish 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. Naga City, or formerly Nueva Caceres is also one of the "Royal Cities" instituted by the Spanish. It houses the oldest churches, and the oldest seminary in Southern Luzon at Camarines Sur
The people of the Bicol region, called Bicolanos, speak any of the several languages of the Bikol sociolinguistic language, also called Bikolano, an Austronesian language closely related to other Central Philippine languages such as Cebuano and Tagalog. Bicol languages include the Inland Bikol of Bikol-Rinconada (Rinconada area), Bikol-Cam. Sur (Buhi, Cam. Sur; Libon, Oas, Daraga, Albay and Donsol, Sorsogon), Bikol-Pandan (Northern Catanduanes). Standard Bikol is based from the coastal Bikol language of the dialect of Legazpi City. Bikol Central is most centralized of all the dialects. The majority of its speakers are in Naga City, Camarines Sur. Bikol is the dominant language 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 Masbate and Sorsogon; they are collectively referred to as Bisakol.
The region retains Roman Catholicism as the overwhelming religion of the great majority. The Catholic religion has the highest number of followers than any other area in the Philippines. Naga City is the religious center of the Bicol Region. The region houses one of the oldest dioceses in the Philippines, the Archdiocese of Caceres which is centered in Naga City. Other dioceses include are the Dioceses of Legazpi, Sorsogon, Daet, Masbate, Libmanan and Virac. Fiestas(Feast day of saints) are annual celebrations of parishes, from a simple barrio fiesta honoring a patron associated for good harvest, to a town fiesta honoring a miraculous saint, a diocesan fiesta like the feast of Our Lady of Salvation, or a regional one such as the Our Lady of PeñafranciaFiesta, the largest Marian devotion in Asia, a week-long celebration to honor the Virgin Mary, dubbed as the "Patroness of Bicolandia". It is widely acknowledged that in Luzon, it is Bicol Region that holds the most number of men entering the seminary for Catholic priesthood, or women entering the religious life to become Catholic nuns. This can be accredited to the Holy Rosary Seminary,Daughters of Mary, and Daughters of Charity Convents in Naga City.
The region is composed of six provinces: Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur,Sorsogon and the island-provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate. It has one independent component city, Naga City, and six component cities — Iriga, Legazpi, Ligao, Masbate City, Sorsogon City, and Tabaco City. Masbate and Sorsogon are cities in their eponymous provinces. As of 2010, Camarines Sur is the largest province in area and population, occupying 5,481.6 km2 (2,116.5 sq mi) or around 30.4% of the total land area with a population of 1,822,371. Catanduanes is the smallest in area as well as population with only 1,511.5 km2 (583.6 sq mi) or 8.4% of the total regional area and a population of 246,300.
The administrative center of the region is Legazpi. while the religious, education, economic, industrial and commercial center is Naga City — which is also colloquially known as the Queen City of Bicol.