Ambos Camarines ( , meaning
"both"), commonly known as Camarines, was a historical
province in the Philippines found on the northern end of the Bicol Peninsula. It now exists as two
separate provinces: Camarines Norte and Camarines
- Camarines redirects here. This page refers to the
former province. For the current provinces, see Camarines Norte and Camarines
The province was founded in 1579 (?) and was split into two,
Camarines Norte and Sur in 1829. They were reunited under Ambos Camarines
in 1854, but split again
after three years. In 1893, they were reunited until March 10
, when Philippine
formed most of the present-day provinces, including Camarines Norte
and Camarines Sur.
In 1569, Luis Enriquez de Guzman, with Augustinian friar Alonzo
Jimenez, reached the present town of Camalig, then a thriving
village or rancheria. They found the natives living in thatched
sheds called “kamalig”, which translates to ""rice granary.""
Andrez de Ibarra, while in search of provisions, followed the route
taken by de Guzman and reached Kalilingo and Bua (the present towns
of Bato and Nabua) in 1570.
In 1573, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi dispatched his grandson Juan de
Salcedo to explore the region as far as Paracale in search of gold
and other precious stones. A year later, Salcedo cruised the Bicol
River and reached Bato Lake. Hence, the first recorded account of
the discovery of the place.
In 1574, at the height of the Spanish colonization of the islands,
Guido de Lavizares mentioned in his letter to the King of Spain the
land of ""Los Camarines"" – apparently referring to the area of
what is now Camalig, Albay, where rice storehouses and granaries or
“camarin” abound. Thus, the name “Camarines” was coined and somehow
stuck. Spanish colonizers later denominated the area into two
Later, a Spanish garrison under Captain Pedro de Chavez was set up
in Naga, a prosperous native rancheria. In 1575, de Guzman founded
the Naga City, calling it Nueva Caceres after the birthplace of
Governor General Francisco de Sande in Caceres, Spain.
On May 27, 1579, Governor General de Sande issued a decree which
led to the establishment of a settlement in Camarines where Spanish
colonists were urged to reside.
In 1636, Ibalon was split into two: Partido de Ibalon (comprising
what is now Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Masbate, and the islands
of Ticao and Burias) and Partido de Camarines (all towns north of
present-day Camalig, Albay).
Partido de Camarines was further divided into Camarines Sur and
Norte in 1829. From 1864 until 1893, Camarines Norte and Sur
(collectively called Ambos Camarines) underwent a series of
confusing geo-political division, fusion, re-division, and
re-fusion, until in 1919 when the first Philippine Legislature
finally separated Norte and Sur into two provinces. Its capital
town then was Naga, the city once called ""Nueva Caceres"" –
namesake of a province in Spain and among the original five royal
cities of the colony.
The Philippine Revolution started in Ambos Camarines on September
17, 1898 when Elias Angeles and Felix Plazo, Filipino corporals in
the Spanish Army, sided with revolutionists and fought the local
Spanish forces. With the arrival of General Vicente Lukban, the
revolutionary government in the Bicol region was established.
The American forces occupied the Bicol peninsula in January 1900.
In March of the same year, General John M. Bell was made the
military governor of Southern Luzon. Civil government was finally
established in Ambos Camarines in April 1901.
In March 1919, the Philippine Legislature issued an Act authorizing
the Governor General to divide the province into Camarines Norte
and Camarines Sur.
During the outbreak of World War II, Wenceslao Q. Vinzons
waged underground operations and
organized guerilla units together with the Filipino and American
troops against the Japanese troops stationed in Camarines Sur.
After the capture of Vinzons on July 8, 1942, Lieutenant Francisco
Boayes carried on with the guerilla movement. In April 1945,
Camarines Sur was finally liberated from the Japanese invaders was
the attack by joint Filipino & American ground troops.
Naga City was the capital of Camarines Sur until June 6, 1955 when
Pili, the adjoining town, was declared the Provincial Capital by
virtue of R. A. 1336. The province celebrated its foundation
anniversary, the 419th, for the very first time in May 27,