After cutting through the thick rainforest of Quezon Province going south, Camarines Norte is the first Bicol province to be reached, about 300 kilometers from Manila.
Camarines Norte is blessed with a dense rainforest, habitat of numberless variety of wildlife. It is used to be the home of a big group of Agtas(Negritos), the country's early aborigines.
The Spanish colonization in Luzon of 1571 drove this peace-loving little people to move to higher levels of woodland. Drawn by the rumor of immense deposit of gold found in Camarines Norte at the towns of Mabulao, and Paracale, the Spaniards mastered in exploring the gold mining potential. Today, it stayed as a signature industry of the province.
More magical in Camarines Norte is the large unshaken pineapple plantation. Capitalizing on this viable product, the people formed an enchanting yearly celebration called Pineapple Festival every May to express their gratitude to this God-given bounty, making a powerful show of unity towards the prosperous industry. Travelers can easily purchase these sweet pineapple stalls brightly along the Pan-Philippine Highway before the capital town of Daet.
Camarines derived its name from the Spanish word camarin, meaning rice granary or warehouse.
Camarines was divided into Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur in 1829. The two were united as Ambos Camarines in 1854 but sperated again in 1857. North and South were again united in 1893. But on March 10, 1917 , the Philippine Legislature passed, and the governor general was authorizing to divide the province into Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur.
Among the prominent sons of Camarines Norte were Jose Maria Panganiban, a propagandist during Rizalīs time, Gen. Vincente Lukban, a patriot and revolutionary leader and Wenceslao Q. Vinzons, one of the younges delegates to the 1935 Constitutinal Convention and a World War II hero.
Commerce and Industry
Camarines Norte is a rich mining area. There are anbundant reserves of gold, iron, copper, uranium, lead and zinc.
The province is, however, predomiantly agricultural. Coconut and abaca are the major products.
There is a thriving fishing industry along the coast. Mercedes town is a major supplier of fish and shrimp to Manila .
The more important cottage industries are hammock-making and buri-weaving into hats, bags and mats.
The province boasts of clean white sand beaches, underground caves, waterfalls, historic shrines amd parklands.
Bagasbas in Daet has white sand beaches.
Lanot Beach in Mercedes has a natural hot spring and is a source of mineral water.
San Jose Beach in Talisay is ideal for wind surfing.
Mercedes town also has the underwater Canton Cave which is visible only at low tide. Offshore from Mercedes, 45 minuts by boat, is Apuao Grande Island Resort.
Mananap Falls is in San Vincente town, 18 kilometers west of the capital.
Itok Falls is in Capalonga.
Capalonga has a shrine of the Black Nazarene, the fiesta which the town celebrates in honor of the image draws devotees from all over the country.
Daet also holds its own Peņafrancia Festival in barangay Selcedo, a week after the more popular celebration in Naga City , Camarines Sur.
The first Philippine monument to the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, can be found in Daet. The statue, which was unveiled on December 30, 1898 , now stands facing the Municipal Hall.
How to get there...
Bicol is served by three airlines: Philippine Airlines(PAL), the nation's flag carrier, Air Philippines and Asian Spirit. PAL flies to Legaspi City only; Air Philippines serves Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Masbate; and Asian Spirit flies to Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Masbate.
By Land Major bus companies offering accomodation ply the Manila to Bicol-Visayas-Mindanao route, passing through picturesque roads via the Pan-Philippine Highway. Terminals are located at Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City, Pedro Gil St., Manila and EDSA, Pasay City. Bicol is also served by the Philippine National Railway, the only railway in the country, plying daily from Manila up to Legaspi City,Albay.
By Sea Shipping lines offer regular trips to the region's major port of entry from Manila to the island-province of Masbate and to the province..