Bicol Region
Linguistic classificationAustronesian
ISO 639-2 / 5bik
ISO 639-3bik
Geographic extent of Bikol languages according to Ethnologue
  Bikol proper
  Bisayan languages in the Bikol region
Geographic distribution of major Bikol languages and dialects across Bicol region; classification based on Lobel (2013); Masbatenyo, Central Sorsogon, and Southern Sorsogon are Bisayan languages but heavily influenced by Bikol.
A speaker of Bicolano, recorded in the United States

The Bikol languages or Bicolano languages are a group of Central Philippine languages spoken mostly in the Bicol Peninsula in the southeastern part of Luzon, the neighboring island-province of Catanduanes, and the island of Burias in Masbate.

Internal classification


A poem written in a Bikol dialect.

Ethnologue groups the languages of Bikol as follows:

McFarland (1974)

Curtis McFarland gives the following classification for the Bikol languages.[1]

 North Catanduanes 
 Inland Bikol 

Iriga (Rinconada)


Buhi (Buhi'non)


Oas (West Miraya)

Daraga (East Miraya)

 Coastal Bikol 

Naga (Standard Bikol), Legazpi, and Partido

Virac (South Catanduanes)

San Pascual (Northern Burias Island)

Lobel (2000)

Clockwise from top-left: A signage barring people from hanging around the area; A signage barring vendors inside the churchyard; A signage reminding people of proper waste disposal; and a signage barring swimmers in Lake Bato. All are written in the Coastal Bikol language (Naga–Legazpi variant).

While McFarland (1974) splits Bikol into 11 dialects, Lobel (2000) splits Bikol into 12 different dialects (including Partido Bikol, which McFarland does not differentiate) and 4 main branches.[2]

  1. Central Standard – spoken primarily in Naga City, Cam. Sur, Tabaco & Legazpi, Albay and Sorsogon City, Sorsogon. Also recognized (and sometimes understood) in Daet, Camarines Norte and many other areas of Camarines Sur, San Pascual, Masbate on Burias Island, first and second districts of Albay, southwestern coast of Catanduanes, and northeastern Sorsogon.
    1. Daet area variant
    2. Naga City area variant
    3. Tabaco–Legazpi–Sorsogon area variant
    4. Southwestern and northern town of San Andres and Caramoran, Catanduanes.
  2. Partido – spoken in the Camarines Sur municipalities of Ocampo, Goa, Tigaon, Lagonoy, Sagñay, and San Jose. This dialect has a mellow intonation and is heavily influenced by Rinconada Bikol.
  3. Southern Catanduanes – spoken in the southern half of Catanduanes.
    1. Virac area variant
    2. Bato area variant
    3. Baras area variant
    4. San Miguel variant (transitional to North Catanduanes)
  1. Rinconada Bikol – spoken primarily in Iriga City, Baao, Bula, Balatan, Baao and Nabua, Camarines Sur. Also in some parts of Ocampo, Buhi and Pili in Camarines Sur and in parts of Polangui, Albay.
    1. Lakeside Rinconada dialect (lacks /ə/ vowel)
    2. Highland Rinconada dialect (with /ə/ vowel)
  2. Buhinon – spoken in Buhi, Camarines Sur. Contains features from both the Bikol of Polangui, Albay and the Iriga variant of Rinconada Bikol.
  3. Libon – spoken in Libon, Albay.
  4. West Miraya – spoken in Ligao City, Polangui, Oas, and Pio Duran, Albay.
  5. East Miraya – spoken in Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga & Jovellar, Albay and Donsol & Pilar, Sorsogon.
    1. Central (Guinobatan)
    2. Far East (Camalig, Daraga)
    3. Southeast (Jovellar, Albay, Donsol, Pilar)
  1. Pandan Bikol – spoken by about 80,000 people or the northern half of Catanduanes.
    1. Bagamanoc area variant
    2. Caramoran area variant (transitional to South Catanduanes)
    3. Gigmoto area variant (transitional to South Catanduanes)
    4. Pandan area variant
    5. Panganiban area variant
    6. Viga area variant
  1. Northern Sorsogon – spoken in Sorsogon City, Castilla, Casiguran and Juban.
    1. Castilla area variant (mixed with Bikol-Legazpi)
    2. CasiguranJuban area variant
  2. Southern Sorsogon (also known as Gubat language) – spoken in Gubat; Barcelona, Bulusan, Santa Magdalena, Matnog, Irosin, and Bulan.
  3. Masbateño – spoken in Masbate City, Mobo, Uson, Dimasalang, Palanas, Masbate, Aroroy on the island of Masbate, all of Ticao Island, and Claveria on the southern half of Burias Island.
    1. Standard Masbateño
    2. Ticao Island variant

Some dialects of Southern Bikol have the close central unrounded vowel /ɨ/ as a reflex of Proto-Austronesian . However, Proto-Austronesian is realized as /o/ in Libon. Two Bikol dialects have unique additional consonants, namely Southern Catanduanes, which has an interdental lateral consonant /l̟/ (also transcribed as l̪͆),[3][4] and Buhi-non, which has the voiced velar fricative /ɣ/.[5]

See also


  1. ^ McFarland (1974)
  2. ^ Lobel, Tria & Carpio (2000)
  3. ^ Olson, Kenneth S.; Machlan, Glenn; Amangao, Nelson (2008). "Minangali (Kalinga) Digital Wordlist: Presentation Form". Language Documentation & Conservation. 2 (1). hdl:10125/1772.
  4. ^ "Interdental Lateral". Xiller Yañez's Weblog. March 17, 2012. Archived from the original on May 3, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  5. ^ Lobel, Jason (2009). "Bikol". In Brown, K.; Ogilvie, S. (eds.). Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World. Oxford: Elsevier. pp. 158–161. ISBN 978-0-08-087775-4.


  • Lobel, Jason William; Tria, Wilmer Joseph S.; Carpio, Jose Maria Z. (2000). An satuyang tataramon / A Study of the Bikol Language. Naga City, Philippines: Lobel & Tria Partnership, Co.: Holy Rosary Minor Seminary.
  • McFarland, Curtis D. (1974). The Dialects of the Bikol Area (PDF) (Ph.D. thesis). Yale University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-10-31.