Camarines Norte: A Kaleidoscope of Culture

Since the beginning of the Spanish inroads in the province of Camarines Norte up to the present, there are quite a number of cultural and social practices, which have endured the ravages of colonization. The penchant for music, aesthetics, culinary arts, and folkloric tales is still very much apparent. People nowadays in urban centers are conspicuously affected by modernity. Nevertheless, the culture of long ago is still felt especially in the suburbs and in the countrysides. Being a province nestled between two regional tongues such as Tagalog and Bicol, Camarines Norte is distinct for its being a crossroad of the Tagalog and Bicol culture. As of the latest count there are more Tagalog speaking people in Camarines Norte than who use Bicol as their lingua franca. This linguistic situation makes for a weaker cultural cohesion with Bicolandia but on the other hand, it provides a wider corridor for Camarines Norte because of its openness to a larger cultural base.

The religiosity of the people can be seen in their special attachment to the church which in the olden times served as the centripetal force for the people to gather around not just on Sundays or on holidays of obligation but practically in their lifetime because they are being drawn by the church to its quaint liturgical celebrations which have become so attractive since time immemorial to the present. The effect of Christianity has been quite tremendous in that it became the ultimate determinant of the way of life, the common outlook, the traditions and customs, and the overall terrain of values held widely by the people. The calendar of the people had been dotted with red-letter days which the people are looking forward to because those are the days where they can take time out and break humdrum of everyday routine. One outstanding Christian practice of the people of Camarines Norte is their observance of the Holy Week where families gather around Holy Week practices and at the same time increase their bonding as well as their affective ties.

Ordinarily, the culture of the people is being shaped by their economic base. The fisher folks in the long coast lines of the province have developed a daily grind in their villages where weaving fishnets is the normal fare. In the farmlands, the culture of the people can be gleaned in their camaraderie as they toil on their soil. In the town centers, people mill around with a lot of warmness for one another, thus, they are known for their cordiality and friendliness.

There is one cultural minority group which is called Kabihug which literally means “friend”. This cultural community is believed to be of pre-historic origin. They have a distinctly novel set of cultural practices from birth to marriage, to burial and mourning. They have a social stratification which hierarchy is believed to be headed by a so-called lieutenant-governor. There are a number of clusters of Kabihug provincewide and they gather during their own festivities every so often.

The dazzling culture of Camarines Norte was presented in a nutshell during the successful holding of the First Bantayog Festival in celebration of the 85th founding anniversary of the province. Bantayog Festival is a show-window of the way the people of Camarines Norte take pride in their being the site of the First Rizal Monument ever erected in the whole world. Today, the people of Camarines Norte continue to strive to reach greater heights in their effort to transform the province into a hobnob of socio-economic and cultural progress.

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