Catanduanes is an island province located in the Bicol Region of Luzon in the Philippines. It is the 12th-largest Island in the Philippines. Its capital is Virac and the province lies to the east of Camarines Sur across Maqueda Channel. It had a population of 260,964 people as registered in the 2015 census.
The province comprises Catanduanes Island (also called Virac Island), the Panay Island, Lete Island, Palumbanes group of islands (Porongpong, Tignob and Calabagio) and a few other minor surrounding islets and rocks. The province is also home to various mollusk fossil sites, notably for the second oldest ammonite site in Philippine history. The sites also possess certain species of ammonites that can't be found anywhere else in Southeast Asia. Due to the rich geologic history and importance of the province, various scholars have stated that the province has a high chance of being declared a UNESCO Geopark Reserve if the province initiates a nomination to UNESCO.
Catanduanes was a former sub-province of Ambos Camarines in the early 1900s and later of Albay. It gained provincial autonomy when Congressman Francisco Perfecto filled House Bill No. 301 which separated the province from Albay. It was approved on September 26, 1945 and subsequently signed into law by President Sergio Osmeña on October 24, 1945. Remigio Socito, the last Lieutenant Governor, was appointed as the first Provincial Governor. When elections were held in 1947, Alfonso V. Usero became the first elected Governor.