In a land area of 2,141.4 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the civil Province of Sorsogon.
The Province of Sorsogon is located at the southernmost tip of the Bicol Peninsula. It is bounded on the North by the Province of Albay, on the East and Northeast by the Pacific Ocean, on the South by the San Bernardino Strait and the West and Northwest by the Ticao and Burias Passes. The province has an irregular coastline with good harbors in Bulan, Magallanes and along the shore of Sorsogon Bay.
As of end of 2017 the total population of Sorsogon diocese is 728,459 of which are 93.50 percent Catholics or 680,874.
Close to 97 percent of the household population in Sorsogon were Bicolanos. Other ethnic groups included Tagalog (0.38 percent), Kankanai/Kankanae/Kankaney (0.22 percent), Binisaya/Bisaya (0.17 percent) and Masbateño (0.13 percent).
The Bicol dialect predominates in Sorsogon as a language used by its people. English and Tagalog-based National Language now commonly known as "Filipino" are the official languages used in education and various forms of communications. But Bicol as used in this province has some peculiarities. What is known as "Naga Bicol" is used in written communications and generally understood as a spoken language. However there are Bicol dialects peculiar to certain specific places. For example, people in Bacon, Prieto Diaz and Magallanes speak the Albay or Legaspi Bikol. In Sorsogon town, Casiguran and Juban, Bicol is slightly different for some of the terms used are similar to hiligaynon as spoken in Western Visayas. Barcelona, Gubat, Bulusan, Matnog, Irosin and Sta. Magdalena speak a dialect which uses terms and tones similar to the waray-waray of Samar Island. And again the people of Pilar and Donsol speak a dialect similar but not exactly alike to the "Miraya Bicol" or the dialect spoken by the nearby towns of Camalig and Daraga in Albay province. Castilla dialect is the same as that of Daraga.
Diocese of Sorsogon
Suffragan of Caceres
Created and erected: June 29, 1951
Comprises the civil Province of Sorsogon
Titular: Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, June 29
The Diocese of Sorsogon was originally part of the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres. When it was made a separate diocese on June 29, 1951, it included the territory of Masbate. When the Diocese of Nueva Caceres was elevated into an archdiocese in the same year, Legazpi and Sorsogon were made suffragan dioceses of Nueva Caceres. On March 23, 1968, Masbate was made into a separate diocese. At present the Diocese of Sorsogon covers simply the civil province of Sorsogon and the City of Sorsogon.
The diocese celebrates the Diamond Anniversary of its erection as diocese on June 29, 2010. When the Papal Bull of June 29, 1959 mandated that Sorsogon become a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Caceres, the hearts of its people were filled with exultation and thankful prayers. To celebrate this great event, the Diocese launched June 29, 2010 a one-year intensive preparation during this "Year of Grace" with the theme: "Remembering, Rejoicing, Responding." A big event will be held on April 29, 2011. Activities in the diocese are already lined-up by the Steering Committee. One of the highlights of the activities is the re-enactment of the First Mass celebrated in 1569 in Mainland Luzon Oct. 17, 2010 as Sorsogon celebrates its annual Kasanggayahan Festival.
Footnote to History: Spanish conquistadores gave Sorsogon its first encounter with Christianity. This was in the year 1569 when Fray Alonzo Jimenez, OSA, chaplain of the expedition under Luis Enriquez de Guzman celebrated the first Mass upon landing on the coast of sitio Gibal-ong (or Gibalon), barangay Siuton, in the town of Magallanes. Christianity, however, was formally established in Sorsogon with the planting of the Cross on the shores of Casiguran town in 1600 by the Franciscan Friars. This was a prelude to the erection of the first church building dedicated to the Holy Rosary, still revered at present as the Patroness of Casiguran. From there, the Franciscan missionaries devotedly spread the faith to the other towns in Bacon (1617), Bulusan (1630) and Donsol (1668. The other twelve towns followed suit in the course of time. In the original geographic division, the province of Sorsogon formed part of Albay province. It seceded as a separate province on Oct. 17, 1984.
A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. A City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.
Annual per capita income in the diocesan territory is (in Philippines Peso) 19,535 (USD432 as of August 2010).
The topography of the province is very irregular. Mountains sprawl along the northeastern part as well as its southeast and western portions. These mountains slope down upon small valleys and plains. The tallest peak is Mount Bulusan, which is 1,560 meters above sea level. It is an active volcano, which was dormant for a long time, lying in the southeastern part of the province. A mountain range stretches from Sorsogon province to Albay. It covers some parts of Castilla and Sorsogon City.
Major water bodies include Sorsogon Bay, Bulusan Lake, Cawayan River in Sorsogon and Putiao River in Pilar.
Sorsogon has 14 municipalities, one city and 541 barangays with two congressional districts.
Simple literacy rate is 94.23 percent according to government census.
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