Legazpi City is known throughout the world as the site of the majestic Mayon Volcano. The perfect-cone volcano is often noted as the more-beautiful version of Japan’s Mt. Fuji. But being tagged as the “City of Fun and Adventure,” Ciudad nin Legazpi has more to offer than just sight-seeing.
The city is a component and capital of Albay Province. It also serves as Bicol Region’s administrative and political hub and its largest city in terms of population (182,201 based on 2010 census).
Legazpi City started as Barangay Sawangan (now Legazpi Port), where most inhabitants were farmers and fishermen. At that time, the Franciscan Friars from Doctrina of Cagsawa started converting the area to Christianity. In 1616, it was separated into a town called “Albay.” At the same time and place was also the establishment of “Mission de San Gregorio Magno de Sawangan.”
The great progress, which took 200 years in the making, was eventually burnt and buried during Mayon Volcano’s deadliest eruption in history—the 1814 eruption. Inhabitants evacuated to Taysan (formerly Makalaya) and then settled in Bagumbayan (formerly Taytay).
Meanwhile, some people returned and remained to the old place and began a new barrio. The old economic status was regained but the place’s name remained as Banwang Daan or Albay Viejo. It was later called “Binanuahan,” a local term for a place “where the town formerly sat.” Sawangan became independent from Cagsawa and was declared the Partido de Ibalon’s capital, which is now the Albay Province.
The inhabitants of Albay had a 21-year quest for autonomy. To boost success, they sought help and support from Spaniards, then living in the area. The Spaniards helped but in return, the area must be named in memory of Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.
By 1856, Albay is known as “Legazpi.” Bigaa, Rawis, and Lamba became parts of the newly named area. It finally became a city in 1872, but then was dissolved in 1900 at the time of American occupation. In 1908, Legazpi became known as the Municipality of Albay.
Daraga separated from the capital in 1922 after realizing that merging is doing more harm than good. In 1948, Daraga and Legazpi were combined again and became known as Legazpi City. But then, the two were separated again to recreate them into municipalities. Legazpi became a city once again in 1959 and since then remained as a city.
Legazpi City is now recognized by Asian Institute of Management as among the top most competitive cities in the country. It’s also named by Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry as among the business-friendliest cities in South Luzon.
The city’s natural resources are well-tapped, too, especially the fishing grounds and metallic ore/non-metallic reserves. Rice, root crops, and coconut are its best products while abaca, wig, perlite, copra cake, and coconut oil are the majorly exported.
Manufacturing and mining are the city’s major industries, while noodle manufacturing and cottage industry are the leading home industries.
Like most cities in Southeast Asia, Legazpi City enjoys a tropical rainforest climate. Rainfall is abundant with more than 150mm of precipitation every year. This results to a noticeably wetter or more humid weather. January is usually the wettest and coolest month with an average of 25.3oC. Legazpi City hardly ever gets as hot as Metro Manila as its temperature rarely becomes higher than 35oC. May and June, the city’s hottest months, have only an average of 28.1oC. Although not one of the hottest, April is regarded as the city’s driest month, thus also the perfect month for fun and adventure.
Largest national banks in the country like Banco De Oro, Metrobank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Landbank have branches in Legazpi City. Plenty of automated teller machines are also found in the city, usually nearby their banks and in malls. Western Union and other money changers are also abounding in the city.
The recent years have been good to Legazpi City. More businesses opened, more jobs were created, and people are happier. Visit Legazpi and you will know that it’s indeed the “City of Fun and Adventure.”