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Municipal Profile: Virac, Catanduanes
Virac, In the Land of Howling Winds

Virac the capital town, is a First Class municipality with a total land area of 157.4 square kilometers, the third largest among the eleven municipalities  of the Province of Catanduanes.

It is bounded on the east by the municipality of Bato and Cabugao Bay and by the Lagonoy Gulf on its southern geographical fringes. On its northern tips lies the municipality of Caramoran. The northeastern section is shared with the high and green mountain ranges of San Miguel, while the western boundary by the gently rolling terrain and breast shaped hills of San Andres.

It is geographically located at about 13.5 degrees north latitude and 124.2 degrees east longitude.


Virac has a rugged topography, with mountain ranges, hills and small plains. Coastward, Virac's landface is primarily characterized by rolling hills and fractured plains over which the Poblacion and the majority of the built up areas are located. The mountainous terrain on its interior limits are parts of the mountain chain dominating the central portion of the island province. The highest ground elevation in Virac is 742 meters while the lowest is 28 meters above mean sea level. Steep hills and mountains within the 30-50 percent slope range account for 42 percent of the total land area covering approximately 7,888.80 hectares in the Buyo District and Dugui areas and barangays Magnesia, Igang, and Talisoy at the south side. Rolling to hilly lands in the  18-30 percent slope range represent 24 percent of the total. Nineteen percent, or roughly 3,527 hectares, falls under level to very gently sloping 0-3 percent slope range, where most of the built up areas are found. The rest are between 3-18 percent slope range.

Soil Classification

Five types of soil exist in Virac consisting of Mountain soil, alimodian clay loam, Calatagan clay loam, Virac sandy clay and beach sand. Alimodian clay loam found in the lower northern to eastern highland comprises 38 percent of the total land area. Calatagan clay loam typified by gently undulating to rolling land occupies 30 percent which predominates the Calatagan district and southwestern part of Virac. Almost 23 percent consists of mountain soil at the uppermost portion of Virac vegetated by second growth commercial and non-commercial forests. At the lowland, beach sand and sandy clay comprising 3 and 6 percent of the total land area are found along the coasts and coastal plains respectively.


The climate in Virac is classified as Type II, that is, there is no distinct wet and dry season. From 1961 to 1995, Synap has recorded a mean annual rainfall of 2.776 millimeters with heavy rainfall occurring from October to December characterized by the  high incidence of typhoons. The island province is often battered by typhoons as it lies at the center of the country's "typhoon belt".


Surface Drainage

The drainage pattern in Virac follows a pattern wherein the basin and its tributaries primarily drain at the mouth of the Pajo River. The downstream area is very much susceptible to flood occurrences during heavy rains. On the other hand, the upstream areas  have considerable drainage density to catch runoff during wet season.

The minor rivers of Cawayan, Ile and Sibanhan meander generally on an easterly direction before discharging at Cabugao Bay. Coastal waters are found in 22 barangays.

Mineral Resources

Mineral deposits found in Virac are manganese and copper, which are available in a limited scale, while traces of gold have been found by the gold panning activities in Dugui area. It has also limited quantities of non-metallic deposits like guano, coal and phosphates. However, the limestone deposits are believed to be viable enough to supply a cement industry for a considerable number of years.


Source: Local Government Unit of Virac, Catanduanes
            Photos: www.catanduanesforum.com 


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