Albay Islands Philippines
Land Of The World's Most Perfect Cone
In 1569, Luis Enriques de Guzman led an expedition from Panay to the islands of Masbate and Ticao as well as the region named Ibalon. The Augustinian missionary Father Alonzo Jimenez christianized the first inhabitants of Ibalon, Camarines, and Burias. He learned the Bicol dialect and composed a Bicol catechism.
In July 1573, Juan de Salcedo, with 120 soldiers, explored Ibalon and founded the town of Santiago de Libong. Jose Maria Peñafrancia, a military engineer, was made “Coregidor” of the province on May 14, 1834. He constructed public buildings and built roads and bridges.
Governor and Capitan General Narciso de Claveria issued a decree in 1846 separating Masbate, Ticao, and Burias from Albay to the Comandancia of Masbate. Albay was then divided into four districts: Iraya, Coldillera or Tabaco, Sorsogon, and Catanduanes.
Gilcerio Delgado, a condemned “Insurecto,” started the revolutionary activities in the province. With headquarters up the mountain of Guinabatan, he joined the revolutionary government of Albay as lieutenant of the Infantry.
A unit of the Philippine militia was then organized by the Spanish military authorities. Mariano Riosa was appointed major for the Tabaco Zone, which comprised all the towns along the seacoast from Albay to Tiwi, while Anacleto Solano was also appointed major for the Iraya Zone, which was made up of the towns from Daraga to Libon. Each town was organized into a section of fifty men under of the command of a lieutenant.
On September 22, 1898, the provincial revolutionary government of Albay was formed, with Anaceto Solano as provincial president. Major General Vito Belarmino, appointed military commander, reorganized the Filipino army in the province.
Although a civil government was established in Albay on April 22, 1901, Colonel Harry H. Bandholtz, Commanding Officer of the Constabulary in the Bicol region, attested that Simeon Ola, with a thousand men, continued to defy American authority after the capture of Belarmino in 1901. Ola was later captured along with about six hundred men.
During the Second World War, the Kimura Detachment of the Japanese Imperial Forces occupied Legazpi on December 12, 1941. The region was defended only by the Philippine Constabulary unit under Major Francisco Sandico.
By December 19, the Bicol Peninsula up to Sipocot, Camarines Sur, with patron towards Ragay gulf and Daet, was already under the enemy.
Albay, a progressive province, with its capital city of Legazpi, has a large reservoir of steam deposits in Tiwi, according to geothermal expert G.M. Gridley of New Zealand. On August 14, 1970, Presidential Proclamation No. 739 authorized the National Power Corporation to exploit and develop the Tiwi power plant project.
Mayon Volcano, major tourist attraction of the province, is known for its symmetrical, almost perfect cone that rises over 7,500 feet above sea level. It erupted 15 times, with the catastrophe of February 1, 1814 as almost destructive. Its lava buried the town and church of Cagsawa.