THE PROVINCE OF ALBAY is situated in the Bicol Region in Luzon and its capital is Legazpi City bordered to the north side by the Camarines Sur, to the south by Sorsogon, Lagonoy Gulf to the northeast and Burias Pass to the southwest.
The province is well-known for Mayon Volcano, the perfect cone-shaped active volcano since ages.
A group of Spanish expeditionary came to the Islands of Masbate, Ticao and Ibalon and an Augustinian missionary baptized the first settlers of the place to Christianity. Then on July 1573, Juan de Salcedo and his soldiers went Ibalon region and established a town of “Santiago de Libong”. After a few years, public buildings, roads and bridges were built.
In 1846, the town Governor issued a decree separating Albay to Masbate, Ticao and Burias. Albay in turn was divided into four districts which are Iraya, Tabaco, Sorsogon, and Catanduanes. A Philippine armed force was formed by the Spanish military authorities and each town had a section of fifty men under of the command of a lieutenant.
During the regime of the Americans, a civil government was established in Albay on April 22, 1901. However thousands of men continued to defy the American authorities. Then on December 12, 1941 during the onset of the World War II, Japanese Imperial Forces occupied Legazpi.
Today, Albay is a progressive province having Tiwi Power Plant as a large reservoir of steam deposits and Mayon Volcano as its major tourist destination all year round.
Albay is generally mountainous with Mayon Volcano as its most famous landform, as well as Catburawan, Masaraga, Malinao, and Pantao. It also has fertile plains and valleys. It has four major islands Rapu-Rapu, Batan, Cagraray and San Miguel. The province has a total land area of 2,552.6 square kilometers.
Currently, Albay has a total population of 1,090,907 over 208,640 households, making the province as the 22nd most populous province in the Philippines. Predominant language used is Bikol. However other dialects that are also spoken in Albay are Bicolano Viejo, Daragueño, Legazpeño or Albayanon, Oasnon, among many other dialects. Majority of the inhabitants also understand Tagalog and English.
On the other hand, climate in Albay is more or less rainy whole year round with no dry season. Maximum rain period occurs from the months of December to January. Average rainfall is 233 millimeters. The province averages 20 typhoons ranging from 60-180 kph and average temperature ranges from 22.60 °C to 33.15 °C.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY IN ALBAY
Agriculture is the main industry in Albay with crops produce such as coconut, rice, sugar, and abaca. Handicrafts making made of abaca products such as Manila hemp, hats, bags, mats, and slippers is one of the main sources of income in the rural areas. Another source of livelihood is also f and papermaking, as well as tourism.
Currently, Albay has a total of 6,369 various manufacturing establishments 48.6% are located in Albay. Large geothermal energy industrial sites are situated in Tiwi and Manito. Other Industrial companies are Goodfound Cement Factory, Isarog Pulp and Paper Company, Bicol Hair, Legaspi Oil Company and coconut oil milling plants. Transportation accessibility helps in the trade and commerce in Albay with its ports such as Tabaco International, Legazpi National, Pio Duran Provincial and the Pantao Regional Port.
ART AND CULTURAL HERITAGE IN ALBAY
The people of Albay celebrate various festivities annually such as the Coron Festival in Tiwi during the third week of August showcasing a street presentation, a week of fun and merriment to visitors and locals. The event is also celebrated in honor of Albay’s patron, Nuestra Señora de Salvacion or Our Lady of Salvation. Another festivity is the Ibalong Festival in Legazpi during the second week of October. This is also a week-long festivity in commemoration of the heroes of Ibalong and it highlights a street parade with a re-enactment of the classic battle.
Kadagatan Festival or commonly known as Bancathon race in Bacacay particularly every Black Saturday of the Holy Week is also well anticipated. This is a water sport activity participated mostly by fishermen from different Albay municipalities, in honor of the fishermen’s hard work as well. On the other hand, Katalingkasan Festival in Libon every 2nd week of Julyis also celebrated by the townsfolk. This festivity features trade fairs, shows and street dancing.
Other festivals are Magayon Festival and are a month-long celebration in May, commemorating the legend or origin of Mayon Volcano. The festival features sports, cultural events, trade fairs and stage re-enactment of the tragic love story of the legend of Daragang Magayon and Panganoron whose fatal deaths gave birth to the volcano; Pagsuwak Festival in Guinobatan every August 9 to 15 as thanksgiving to the town’s growth, development and progress.
Other festivals to look forward to in Albay are the following:
Salingoy Festival in Bacacau during August 9 to 10
Sarung Banggi in Sto. Domingo during May 18 to 25.
Tabak Festival in Tabaco City
Tinagbuan Festival in Ligao during December 25.
Albay’s prime products are Abaca crafts which are also exported worldwide, as well as crafted jars and pottery in Tiwi municipality. Hand-made paper products are also aSccounted for.
In terms of special cuisine, Albay’s most famous food is the “Bicol Express” made out of spicy pork and shrimp concoction, “cosido” or fish soup, “balaw” or small shrimps, natong, candingga, and pinangat. Bikolanos like spicy cuisines. And the famous all-time native delicacy is Pili Nuts which is made into various confections.
MUNICIPALITIES OF ALBAY
Albay has 15 municipalities and three 1st class cities:
Albay Park and Wildlife
This Park houses 347 animals belonging to 75 species. The children can enjoy boat and bike rides and ideal for family gatherings or picnics. The park is situated near the foot of Albay’s famous Mayon Volcano.
This is a great adventure for those who love hiking. Take a mountain climb in Mt. Bulusan, Mt. Isarog, and the perfect towering cone of Mt. Mayon. However, Mayon is definitely active and it is advisable to consult the local authorities before trekking in the said mountain.
This Island is located just 20 kilometers away from the Bacacay town and can be reached 2 hours via boat. The Island boasts of its many caves.
This is one of the most visited places in Albay. This is the remaining ruins of the Church which was buried by molten lava when Mayon erupted on February 1, 1814 killing 1,200 people who went inside the Church for safety during the said eruption.
This is located in Tiwi which is a tiny islet formed by pulverized corals through thousands of years.
Legazpi City Museum
This Museum houses historical and archeological relics of the city.
Magayon Art Gallery
This is a contemporary art gallery situated at the lobby of the Albay Provincial Capitol.
Mayon was derived from from the Bikol word “Magayon” meaning beautiful. It is the world’s most perfect shaped cone and despite its fiery eruptions for the past years, the spectacular view of the mountain is never-ending.
This is situated in Bacacay, accessible by boat ride of 45 minutes. It has fine white sands. A paradise for beach lovers, artists, and nature lovers.
Philippine National Museum
This is located near the Cagsawa church ruins and showcases the cultural history of the region based on the significant archeological finds found in the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, and Masbate.
This is approximately 10 feet above the beach line, and the entrance is shaped like a yawning mouth of 30 ft. high and 20 ft. wide. Stalactites and stalagmites of various shapes, sizes, and contours are carved on walls.
This is located in Mount Malinao 400 ft. above sea level. It has a snake-like trail.
Other places to visit:
San Lorenzo Beach
Kalayukai Beach Resort
Dhio Endeka Spring Resort
NATURAL CAVES AND HILLS
St. John the Baptist Church
Our Lady of the Gate Church
The major entry point is in Butuan City (74 Kilometers away from Prosperidad); access to the province from Cebu or Manila is essentially the same as the access to its regional capital. The province can only be reached via land transportation through the Davao-Butuan National Highway. Three minor roads also provide access for travelers coming from Tandag, Lianga, Barobo, and Bislig in Surigao del Sur. One road connects the southwestern part of the province and Asuncion, Davao Del Norte.