Published July 12, 2019
This video was recorded by Jose Antonio Gerundio Piscano and Daniel Bögre Udell in New York City, United States. Bikol is primarily spoken in the Bicol Peninsula on the island of Luzon, neighboring Catanduanes, and Burias of Masbate. The Visayan languages and Bikol languages are so closely related that they form a dialect continuum known as the Bisakol languages, however several of them are distinct enough that they are mutually unintelligible. Bikol is spoken by the Bicolano people who, according to the epic known as Ibalong, descend from residents of a former region called Ibalong. Ibalong meant "people of Ibol" and was eventually replaced by "Bikol", a reference to the local river of the same name meaning "meandering". The Bicolanos participated in revolutions against American and Japanese occupations during the Philippine-American War and World War II respectively and were an integral part of Filipino resistance movements. Christianity, and in particular Roman Catholicism, play important roles in Bicolano culture to this day, and in some communities, the celebration of Catholic Mass is a daily occurrence. The presence of Christianity owes largely to the former Spanish colonization, prior to which the Bikolanos held a rich oral tradition celebrating a variety of deities who were honored with feasts and ritual acts in daily life. Bikol is spoken by around 3,648,900 people worldwide. It is a Central Philippine language within the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family.