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There are several legends that explain the origin of the name of “Catanduanes.” One legend states that Catanduanes comes from the word tandu, a native click beetle that was once abundant throughout the island. “Katanduan” was the reference made of this island that means a place where tandu abound. When the Spaniards came, it was Hispanized to Catanduanes (notice the phonological similarity, except for the additional es in the Spanish version that was probably added to become a pluralist). Another story says that it comes from the word samdong, a tree that abounds this paradise island to which the people would call kasamdongan, meaning a place of samdong. Just like the former legend, the word was Hispanized. The phonological error traces to the Spaniards’ difficulty to pronounce certain words, particularly those ending in ng; hence, from kasamdongan and katandungan, it gradually metamorphosed to Catanduanes. Still some historians point that katandungan is a Malay word that means “a place of refuge in time of danger,” for indeed, this island has always been the refuge of mariners during stormy weather.

Batanes Province