CamSur - Primary Home of the Bicol River

The Bicol River stretches along three provinces of the Bicol Region, namely: Camarines Sur, Albay, and Camarines Norte. Majority of this stretch, approximately 70%, lies within Camarines Sur, making the province the primary home of the Bicol River.

Thus, it is important to understand the profile – physical, economic, and social - of CamSur to better understand the working of the Bicol River environment.


Camarines Sur (Figure 2) is a province of the Philippines geographically located in the central part of the Bicol Region in the southeastern tip of Luzon between 14O 10' and 13O 15' N latitude and between 124O 10' and 122O 40' E longitude. It is bordered to the north by the Philippine Sea and the provinces of Camarines Norte and Quezon, to the south by the province of Albay, to the east by the Maqueda Channel, Lagonoy Gulf and the island province of Catanduanes, and to the west by the Ragay Gulf. With an area of 5,266.8 km2, Camarines Sur is the largest among the six provinces in the Bicol Region. It is about 450 kilometers from Metro Manila.


Camarines Sur is generally hilly and mountainous with a flat central area known as the Bicol Plain (Appendix 1). Mt. Isarog, with an elevation of 1,966 m above sea level, is the province's highest mountain followed by Mt. Iriga at 1,196 masl. Both mountains are dormant volcanoes. The areas between mountain ranges are also flat with small coastal plains in the northeastern end. These areas are circumscribed by rolling hills. The Caramoan peninsula is rough and mountainous with the highest elevation reaching as high as 904 masl. The coastal area of Ragay is hilly and rolling. The ravines of mountains, particularly in the eastern portion, are deep and the steep slopes are primarily vegetated by cogon (Imperata cylindrica).


The climate of Camarines Sur is categorized as Type II based on the Modified Corona System of Classification (Appendix 4). Areas with this type of climate are characterized as having no dry season with a very pronounced maximum rain period from December to February. There is not a single dry month. A dry month is one with less than 50 mm of rainfall or a month with more than 100 mm of rainfall that comes after three or more very dry months. The minimum monthly rainfall occurs during the period from March to May. The average annual rainfall of the province is 2,565 millimeters while temperature and humidity have means of 27.0°C and 25.8%, respectively.

Other physical representations for Camarines Sur are summarized in Appendices 8-10.


Based on the May 2010 census, there are a total of 1,822,371 residents in Camarines Sur, making it the most populous province in the region. The same census also indicated that the province has 288,172 households with an average household size of 5.37 persons, a figure that is significantly higher than the national average of 4.99. The annual growth rate is 1.86%, which is much lower than the national average of 2.36%. At this rate, the population of Camarines Sur is expected to double in 14 years. The increase is foreseen to put more pressure on the Bicol River, both ecologically and economically.

Bicol River

The Bicol River is the eighth largest river in the Philippines in terms of drainage basin size with an estimated catchment area of 3,770 km²

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