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Legazpi History, Philippines


The Home of the Famous Ibalong Festival

The City of Legazpi is located in the province of Albay, and serves as the capital of the province and categorized as one of the first class cities in the country. The census conducted in the year 2000 indicated that the city accommodates 179,481 inhabitants. Moreover, Legazpi is the biggest of the cities in the entire Bicol Region when it comes to population.

 Aside from being the province’s capital, it is also the Bicol Region’s regional center. Found at the geographical hub of the land and in between the isle provinces of Masbate and Catanduanes, the city is the very last stop of the train, although there is a plan to extend the railways to Matnog, in nearby Sorsogon province. Legazpi likewise accommodates cargo vessels via its port.

The city was established by the prehistoric dwellers of the ancient Barangay of Sawangan. Dwelling in tiny groups of huts which are made from rattan and nipa, these small houses occupied a part of swampy and low land called as Binanuahan or Banuang-gurang - meaning ancient place or town wherein a town was founded. The home grown name Sawangan was another way to say Sabang, indicating a natural wharf created by the water from the sea.

Legazpi City is the ecclesiastical place of the Diocese of Legazpi. The majority of the people here are as well as the neighboring towns are Roman Catholics.

The city takes its name after a Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who landed in and conquered the Philippines during 1565. Likewise, Legazpi is a place in Guipuzcoa, Spain. Japanese troops arrived and occupied the city in 1942 and in 1945, the American and Filipino emancipation forces shored up by Bicolano guerrillas freed Legazpi from the Japanese Imperial armed forces throughout World War II.

Legazpi City’s Festivals

1.   The Ibalong Festival of Legazpi City is one of the most renowned festivities. The festival began in 1990 and is being held annually in the month of October. It is a weeklong celebration depicting Bicol’s Ibalong Epic heroes Handyong, Baltog and Bantong.

2.   The city is also the home to the Magayon Festival which is celebrated in the entire month of May, thus a month long festivity and celebration for the Bicolanos. The festival showcases not only the products of Legaspi but also offer month long variety shows for the people to enjoy, sports and other contests to showcase the different talents of the Bicolanos.

The Legazpi City Airport contains a 2,280 meters runway and is able to handle international aircrafts. There are two airlines having daily flights to and from Manila:

Philippine Airlines (PAL) with its AB319 offering early morning flights.

Cebu Pacific Airlines with Airbus A320 and A319 offering morning flights daily and afternoon flights.

There are approved plans considering the construction of an international airport which is to be situated in Barangay Alobo in the neighboring town of Daraga. This proposed airport is hoped to enhance the tourism in Bicol Region. The proposed name is Southern Luzon International Airport.

You can also visit Legazpi City by land transport but it takes long if you come from Manila. Not less than ten bus companies operates to and from Legazpi to Manila, thus it is highly available to tourists and regular commuters.

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