About 538 kilometers southeast of Manila, the lush province of Albay stands out as the most unique, fames byt the province's main attraction, the picture perfect Mayon Volcano, on of the world's magnificent mountains.
Her name was derived from the Bikol word "Magayon" which means beautiful. Erupting more than 40 times over the last two centuries, this active volcano toers as 2,462 meters above sea level. An American writer describes her as "an overly perfect backdrop painting of a Hollywood jungle movie."
Albay also takes pride in other diverse attractions such as clearwaterfalls, meadering rivers, spectacular ancient cave network, and lush underwater world.
Albay and its surrounding areas were known as Ibalon when Juan de Salcedo and 120 soldiers explored it in 1573. Sawangan, a small settlement by a mangrove swamp, became a town called Albaybay (meaning "by the bay") in 1616. The town was first renamed Albay, then Legazpi, as Albay went on to refer to the province.
In 1846, Masbate , Ticao and Burias were seperated from albay to form the comandancia of Masabate. Albay was then divided into four districts: Iraya, Cordillera or Tobaco, Sorsogon and Catduanes.
In 1894, Sorosogon became a seperate province and Catanduanes followed suit in 1945. The province of Albay itself was created on March 10, 1917 .
Its colorful history includes both natural and man-made disasters. In 1649, the natives rebelled against their recruuitmenst to Cavite to build galleons. In 1814, Mayon Volcano erupted, killing 1200 people and burying the town of Cagsawa . During the early 19th century, hemp for shipping rope became an international source of wealth. Albay prospered greatly until the demand for hemp fell sharply.
Commerce and Industry
While efforts are being directed toward the devolpment of industries in the province, agriculture remains the main source of livelihood. The important crops are coconut, rice, sugarcane, pinepaple, vegetables and hemp. The forests are sources of timber, rattan and pili nuts.
Among the large-scale industries are Isarog Pulp and Paper Mills and Albay Industrial Development Corporation. Tiwi is the site of a major geothermal power project. Handicrafts, especially the making of Abaca products, such as hats, mats, bags, slippers and rope, are major source of income in the rural areas.
Both shores of the province are rich fishing grounds.
How to get there...
Bicol is served by three airlines: Philippine Airlines(PAL), the nation's flag carrier, Air Philippines and Asian Spirit. PAL flies to Legaspi City only; Air Philippines serves Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Masbate; and Asian Spirit flies to Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Masbate.
By Land Major bus companies offering accomodation ply the Manila to Bicol-Visayas-Mindanao route, passing through picturesque roads via the Pan-Philippine Highway. Terminals are located at Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City, Pedro Gil St., Manila and EDSA, Pasay City. Bicol is also served by the Philippine National Railway, the only railway in the country, plying daily from Manila up to Legaspi City,Albay.
By Sea Shipping lines offer regular trips to the region's major port of entry from Manila to the island-province of Masbate and to the province.