Central Bikol
Bikol Sentral
Native toPhilippines
Native speakers
(2.5 million cited 1990 census)[1]
6th most spoken native language in the Philippines[2]
Latin (Bikol alphabet)
Bikol Braille
Historically Basahan
Official status
Official language in
Regional language in the Philippines
Regulated byKomisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
ISO 639-3bcl
Bikol Sentral language map.png
Areas where Central Bicolano is spoken in the Philippines
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A Central Bikol speaker, recorded in the United States.

Central Bikol commonly called Bikol Naga,[3] also known simply as Bikol, is an Austronesian language spoken by the Bicolanos, primarily in the Bicol Region of southern Luzon, Philippines. It is spoken in the northern and western part of Camarines Sur, second congressional district of Camarines Norte, eastern part of Albay, northeastern part of Sorsogon, San Pascual town in Masbate, and southwestern part of Catanduanes. Central Bikol speakers can be found in all provinces of Bicol and it is a majority language in Camarines Sur. The standard sprachraum form is based on the Canaman dialect.

Central Bikol features some vocabularies that are not found in other Bikol languages nor to other members of the Central Philippine language family like Tagalog and Cebuano. Examples of these are words the matua and bitis which are the same with Kapampangan words that means older and foot/feet respectively. The word banggi (night) is another example of this as it is different from the usual Bikol word "gab-i" but closer to the word bengi of Kapampangan. There's no formal study about the relationship of the Central Luzon languages to Central Bikol but the latter has several words that are also found in the archaic form of Tagalog spoken in the Rizal and Quezon provinces that are believed to be the home of Central Luzon languages such as Kapampangan in Pampanga and southern Tarlac, and Sambalic languages in Zambales province.

Central Bikol dialects

Because of its broad geographic coverage as compared to other Bikol languages separated by islands and mountains, Central Bikol diverged into 6 dialects, but are still mutually comprehensible. The division of the language into different dialects are mainly because of the influence from other Bikol languages and other non-Bikol languages surrounding the region.

The Canaman dialect, despite being used only by a small number of the population in Camarines Sur, is the standard form of Central Bikol being used in literature, Catholic religious rites and mass media. Naga City dialect is spoken in the first, second, third districts (except in Del Gallego, where residents are mostly Tagalog speakers), and in the western and eastern portions of the 4th district (Caramoan, Garchitorena, Presentacion, Siruma and Tinambac) of Camarines Sur. It is also spoken in San Pascual, Masbate (Burias Island) and southwestern part of Catanduanes. The Partido dialect is spoken in the eastern part of Camarines Sur centered in the southern portion of the 4th districts (Goa, Lagonoy, Sagñay, San Jose, and Tigaon). The Tabaco-Legazpi-Sorsogon (TLS) dialect is spoken in the eastern coast of Albay and the northeastern part of Sorsogon. TLS is the dialect that has been most influenced by the Inland Bikol languages. The Daet dialect on the other hand is spoken in the 2nd district of the province of Camarines Norte. The Virac dialect is spoken around Virac, Catanduanes and surrounding towns on the southeastern part of the island of Catanduanes.

Dialectal comparison of Central Bikol

Canaman dialect (Standard) Naga City dialect Partido dialect Tabaco - Legazpi - Sorsogon (TLS) dialect Virac dialect Daet dialect Rinconada Bikol language
(Inland Bikol)
Sorsoganon language
Tàdaw ta dai luminayog an gamgam ni Pedro dawà na dai nin kandado an hawla? Tâno daw ta dài naglayog an gamgam ni Pedro dawà na mayò nin kandado si hawla? Hadáw ta ê naglayog an gamgam ni Pedro maski na mayò nin kandado su hawla? Natà daw ta dài naglayog an bayong ni Pedro maski na warâ ki kandado su hawla? Ngatà daw ta dài nagḽayog an gamgam ni Pedro maski na dàing kandado su hawla? Bakin daw kaya dai naglupad ang ibon ni Pedro maski na mayong kandado si hawla? Ta'onō/Ŋātâ raw ta diri naglayog adtoŋ bayoŋ ni Pedro dāwâ na ədâ ka kandado su awlā? Nakay daw kay diri naglupad an tamsi ni Pedro maski na warâ san kandado su hawla?

Like other Philippine languages, Bikol has a number of loanwords, largely Spanish as a result of 333 years of Spanish rule in the Philippines. This includes swerte (suerte, luck), karne (carne, meat), imbestigador (investigador, investigator), litro (liter), pero (but), and krimen (crimen, crime). Another source of loanwords is Sanskrit, with words like hadi (king), bahala (responsibility) and karma.



There are 16 consonants in the Bikol language: /p, b, d, t, k, ɡ, s, h, m, n, ŋ, l, ɾ, j~ʝ, w~ʋ, ʔ/. Eight sounds are borrowed from loanwords: /f, v, tʃ, dʒ, ʃ, ʒ, ʎ, ɲ/.

The sound system of the language according to Mintz in 1971[4] is as follows.

Labial (Denti-)
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m (ɲ) ŋ
voiceless p () k ʔ
voiced b () ɡ
Fricative s (ʃ) h
Lateral l (ʎ)
Sonorant w ɾ j


  1. ʃ - written as ⟨sy⟩, this is only found only in loan words from English, as in ‘shirt’.
  2. - written as ⟨ty⟩, this is found in loan words from Spanish and English and is pronounced like the ch in ‘check’.
  3. - written as ⟨dy⟩, this is found basically in loan words from English and is pronounced like the j sound in ‘jeep’.
  4. ɲ - written as ⟨ny⟩, this is found in loan words from Spanish and is pronounced like the ñ in baños.
  5. ʎ - written as ⟨ly⟩, this is found in loan words from Spanish and is pronounced like the ll in llave and sencillo (In Spanish dialects without yeísmo).
  6. h - Due to contact with the nearby Albay Bikol languages, words that start with h in Bikol - Naga, start with ʔ in Bikol - Legazpi
    • Ex: "hiling" (look, Bikol - Naga) becomes "iling" (look, Bikol - Legazpi)


Native words exhibit a three-vowel system whose vowels can be noted as /a, i, u/, with /u/ realized as [o] in the final syllable. Due to contact with Spanish, modern Central Bikol has a five-vowel system with /e, o/ distinct from /i, u/.

Table of the five general Central Bikol vowel phonemes
Front Central Back
Close i ⟨i⟩ u ⟨u⟩
Mid e ⟨e⟩ o ⟨o⟩
Open a ⟨a⟩


  Absolutive Ergative Oblique
1st person singular akó ko sakuya, sakô
2nd person singular iká, ka mo saimo, sìmô
3rd person singular siyá niyá saiya
1st person plural inclusive kitá niyatò, tá satuyà, satô
1st person plural exclusive kamí niyamò, mi samuyà, samô
2nd person plural kamó nindó saindó
3rd person plural sindá nindá saindá


Like many other Philippine languages, Bikol has a rich set of discourse particles.



There have exist two names for the numbers in Bicol. The native Bicol and the Spanish names. Generally, Bicolanos use the Spanish terms if they are talking about time like A las singko (5 o'clock)'. However, native terms can be read in literary books. Spanish terms for number can be encounter in pricing.

Kabangâ / Mediya
Sarô / Uno / Una (used for time) / Un (used for counting higher numbers)
Duwá / Dos
Tuló / Tres
Apát / Kuwátro
Limá / Síngko
Anóm / Sàis
Pitó / Siyéte
Waló / Ótso
Siyám / Nuwébe
Sampulò. / Diyes
Kagsarô / Ónse
Kagduwá / Dóse
Kagtuló / Trese
Kag-apát / Katorse
Kaglimá / Kinse
Kag-anóm / Diyesisais
Kagpitó / Diyesisiyete
Kagwaló / Diyesiotso
Kagsiyám / Diyesinuwebe
Duwampulò / Beynte (Baynte)
Duwampulò may lima / Beynte (Baynte) y singko
Tulompulò / Treynta (Traynta)
Tulompulò may lima / Treynta (Traynta) y singko
Apát na pulò / Kuwarenta
Apát na pulò may lima / Kuwarenta y singko
Limampulò / Singkuwenta
Limampulò may lima / Singkuwenta y singko
Anóm na pulò / Sesenta
Anóm na pulò may lima / Sesenta y singko
Pitompulò / Setenta
Pitumpulò may lima / Setentá y singkó
Walompulò / Otsenta
Walompulò may lima / Otsenta y singko
Siyam na pulò / Nobenta
Siyam na pulò may lima / Nobenta y singko
Sanggatós / Siyen, Siyento
Sangribo / Mil
Sangyukot (Old Bikol)[5] / Diyes mil
Sanglaksâ (Old Bikol)[6] / Milyon


The Tamanggot, Rapsak, or Bicol angry register is a way of speaking by Bicolanos in which they use words they can only use when angry, speaking in a high-pitched voice, or shouting. Here are some examples:

Normal Bicol Angry Register
malutò malustod
bagas las(u)gas
tubig tamìlig, tùlig
bungog lusngog
uran bagrat
bagyo alimagyo
babayi babaknit, siknit
lalaki lalaknit
bado, gubing la(ma)sdô, gubnit
harong (Bikol - Naga), balay (Bikol - Legazpi) langag
sira sigtok, buragtok
ikos k(ur)asmag, kurakod
ayam, idò da(ma)yô (Naga),
ga(ma)dyâ (Legazpi)
damulag (Bikol - Naga),
karabaw (Bikol - Legazpi)
ga(ma)dyâ (Naga)
humali wumara
magkakan/kumakan (Bikol - Naga),
magkaon/kumaon (Bikol - Legazpi)
hablô, humablô, habluon, sibà, sumibà, sumibsib
burat (Bikol - Naga),
buyong (Bikol - Legazpi)
lasngag, lusrat, lusyong, bultok
taram tabil
kapot, kapotan kamlô, kamlùon
hiling butlâ
bitis s(am)ingkil, samail, siki
talinga talingugngog
ngusò (Bikol - Naga),
ngimot (Bikol - Legazpi)
ngurapak, ngaspak, ngislo
kamot kamulmog
mata ma(ta)lsok
payo ali(ma)ntak
hawak (Bikol - Naga),
lawas (Bikol - Legazpi)
tulak tindos, la(ma)sdak
sapatos sapagtok
kalayo kalasbot
kawali kawalwag
sarwal sarigwal
asin tasik
manok maldos, malpak

See also


  1. ^ Central Bikol at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Philippine Census, 2000. Table 11. Household Population by Ethnicity, Sex and Region: 2000
  3. ^ Lobel, Jason William (2000). An Satuyang Tataramon/A study of the Bikol Language. Tria, Wilmer Joseph S., Carpio, Jose Maria Z. Naga City: Lobel & Tria Partnership. ISBN 971-92226-0-3. OCLC 45883453.
  4. ^ Mintz, Malcolm W. (1971). Bikol Dictionary. University of Hawaii Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctv9hvs8j. ISBN 978-0-8248-7891-7.
  5. ^ Lisboa, Márcos de (1865). Vocabulario de la lengua bicol [Vocabulary of the Bicol language] (in Spanish). Manila: Est. Tip. del Colegio de Santo Tomas. pp. 32.
  6. ^ Lisboa, Márcos de (1865). Vocabulario de la lengua bicol [Vocabulary of the Bicol language] (in Spanish). Manila: Est. Tip. del Colegio de Santo Tomas. pp. 208.


  • Lobel, Jason William, Wilmer Joseph S Tria, and Jose Maria Z Carpio. 2000. An satuyang tataramon / A study of the Bikol language. Naga City, Philippines: Lobel & Tria Partnership, Co.: Holy Rosary Minor Seminary.