Pandan – the home to the oldest festival in Catanduanes – the Dinahit Festival and the municipality that smiles to you and soon to the world. Pandan is for those who want to experience nature's beauty at its unspoiled, untouched and unexplored best. It is a land of stunning landscape considered as the "True North" of the island province of Catanduanes, lying some 96 km from the capital town of Virac, well away from the trappings of urban life wherein you will experience the warmest and friendliest welcome from Pandananons that is absolutely beyond the usual.

Its geographical location is perhaps its most endearing quality. It offers an abundance of beautiful scenery with the vast expanse of deep blue sea reaching out to the horizon, strewn with lush green hills and mountains and idyllic landscapes of rock formation, streams and waterfalls.
Pandan has wholesome outdoor and nightfall activities for explorers and outdoor enthusiasts – full of fun, thrill and awesome excitement wherein you will discover and appreciate the beauty of nature along the course. It is definitely a total escape from the frantic pace of urban life.

Pandan has two former names which was attributed to the earlier settlement of the town – BINONOAN which means killing and GUINOBATAN which means destroyed. It was again changed to CAPANGDANAN which was soon changed to PANDAN for brevity. No living person in town can remember and no records are available.

The present poblacion of Pandan was established as a regular pueblo (town) in the year 1677, a year after the American colonist declared their independence to Great Britain. A Spanish captain named Don Basilio Rabago y del Barrio led the establishment of this town.


The hometown of a Senator, a Congressman, a Governor, an Archbishop, an Ambassador, and a Regional Trial Court Judge. Pandan lies at the northernmost part of the province of Catanduanes, about 95 kilometers from the capital town of Virac. Like the tip of a crude flint arrow-head (that is the shape of the island province) it faces the open Pacific Ocean in the north, northeast and northwest, and is bounded by the municipalities of Bagamanoc in the southeast, and for Caramoran in the southwest. It has about 17, 178 inhabitants living in 26 barangays.


Like any other place abut which not much written is known. Pandan's early beginnings is a matter of conjecture. However, the frequent mention of the raids of sea pirates in the tradition of the people suggests that there must have been a thriving settlement already at least during the second half of the seventeenth century. And since there is no trace of an ethnic tribal minority, the original inhabitants of the place must have been migrants themselves coming either from mainland Bikol or even from deep south as part of the great Malay migrations.

The first settlement is believed to have been a fishing village along the banks of the river Takason. Conveniently located near both the sea and the land they tilled, the people lived happily in peace and prosperity. But their prosperity also proved a lure for the raids of sea pirate. It is told that some people fleeing inland were actually trapped and massacred by the raiders in a place now called Binonoan, some two kilometers south of the present town site.

By necessity, the people realized that they had to find a better site and somehow sticked together in order to defend themselves against the raids. So they moved to the delta left by the river where the thick growth of prickly plants extending to the shore could hide their houses from sight of the sea, and where a small hill nearby could provide a lookout. Those who had farms on the mountainside overlooking the bay also took turns in watching for the coming or passing the hostile boats in order to warn the people of the pirates.

Come and enjoy the pristine beauty of nature and
experience more Fun Done in PANDAN!


The coming of the Spaniards late in the seventeenth century provided a big boost for the fledging settlement. Coming as settlers themselves, the natives offered them no resistance, and their superiority in arms made a big difference for the settlements defense. Once settled, the Spaniards immediately took charge, and before long, the "pueblo" had an organized local government with a resident "Capitan municipal" and a "Cura" to take care of the "mission".

Inevitably, the town grew around the nucleus of the parish church and the "Tribunal" or municipal building (formerly located at the present site of the town plaza) as the most prominent structures. Significantly, both the "Capitan" and the "Cura" also exercised a very important influence in the socio-economic, political and religious life of the people. Old people still remember stories from their forebears about the well-regimented life of the Spanish colonial periods: studying the "Cartilla" and learning the "Doctrina Cristiana"; paying the "Cedula"; compulsory attendance at Sunday Mass; observance of curfew; strict sanitary measures; and even forced labor for building the parish church.

The most evident relic of the Spanish colonial period is, of course, the parish church. Built of stone and a kind of sugarcane residue, the massive structure is one of the widest churches in the province. Undoubtedly, it was built through force labor and took many years to finish. But it will always stand as a lasting tribute to the faith, love and sacrifice of those who took part in its construction for future generations to remember.


The coming of the Americans early in the twentieth century ushered in another phase in the development of Pandan, the most important of which is the education. Pandan is one of the four original towns in Catanduanes where the Americans established the first public schools. While the studying of the "Cartilla" a fundamental purpose of acculturation, the public school system opened a new vista and aroused a keener interest in the pursuit of a higher learning and a career. Thus, the classroom originally housed in the old "Tribunal" became the beginnings of Pandan.


It is not surprising that because of the lack of teachers, the first Grade VII graduates were asked to assume teaching positions themselves and employment in government service. Those who chose to further studies especially in law and commerce became the first real "illustrados". Inevitably, they also became the natural choices for public elective office. The stories of the lives of the early "politicos" of Pandan attest to this.

Among the early pioneers in education were also those who rose to become the first district supervisors and principals. Not only that, there were those who themselves became instrumental for the advancement of private education. Shortly after World War II, two private schools were established in Pandan: the Loyola Institute and the Del Carmen Rural High School. They flourished until they were superseded by establishment of the Pandan School of Arts and Trades.


The recent years have seen further growth and development in Pandan with the government's various projects and other installed facilities. Practically all barangays in the municipality are aptly provided with educational facilities.

Today Pandan echoes with the realities, dreamt by its forebears and leaders. It may not be a utopia but there is a promise of abundance and tranquility for those who wish to stay.

The lush green of meadows and mountains, the dales and rivers, the jumping fishes of the open pacific nurture dreams and the hopes that the future of this land is never bleak.

RegionBicol (Region V)
DistrictLone District
Total Area11,900 has (119.0 sq km)
Total Population (2010)19,393
Time zonePST (UTC+8)
Income Class4th class; rural


  • The history of Catanduanes is very much related with the story of its evangelization. The first written reference began as a tragedy in April 1576. Eleven years after Fray Andres de Urdaneta had planted the Cross in Cebu, a cross was planted over the grave of his Augustinian confrere, Fray Diego de Herrera, in a place called Batalay (where the diocesan shrine now stands).

  • However, the actual Christianization of the island started only some twenty years later when Franciscan missionaries from the Bikol mainland arrived in Caramoran, which, as a parish, is the eldest in Catanduanes, dating back to 1600. From Caramoran, they moved to Pandan in 1650.
    - from the Catholic Directory of the Philippines

  • After many years in building, the Pandan parish church was finished in 1874 under the incumbency of Rev. Juan Pama

  • The first public school in Pandan (the beginning of the Pandan Central School) was founded in 1910 by Mr. James Graham.

  • Among the most remember calamities that hit Pandan are the following: the cholera epidemic in 1915 in which as many as 15 persons died in a day; the great conflagration in 1920 in which almost 95% of the poblacion was razed to the ground; and the typhoon in 1947 in which many died and in which left the surrounding mountainsides bare.