Quick Facts on Guinobatan
- LAND AREA: 244.43 km2 (94.37 sq mi)
- POPULATION: 75,967 (As of 2010)
- NO. OF BARANGAYS: 44
- MAJOR INDUSTRY: Agriculture, Handicraft Making & Food Processing
Chronicles states that the aborigines of Guinobatan were the indigenous tribes, which first inhabited the region bordering Albay Golf also known asLegazpiBay. The Mohammedans of Mindanao and Borneo frequently bothering them, these people were forced to retreat as far as Tandarora to Bubulusan and Muladbucad, which are now barrios of Guinobatan. However, the avalanche of Mindanao Moros went on there; thus, they had to run again towards the coast ofPanganiran where they tried to establish a town. But the pirates of Burias pursued so they had to move again from Panganiran to the present location of the town ofGuinobatan. The town grew progressively with excessive abaca and cacao fields. These were the people that were found by Franciscan missionaries of Camalig who arrived in 1578 with the purpose of Evangelization.
In the beginning, the Franciscans considered Guinobatan as a barrio or Visita of Camalig. But from 1672 to 1678, when the Christianity gained foothold in the place, it was subsequently recognized as a permanent Visita (settlement) and designated as Christianity’s outpost. In 1846, the towns in Yraya sector from Libon (now Sto. Domingo) to Pilar, which were under the jurisdiction of Camarines, were interchanged with the towns in the sector of the Cordillera (now Lagonoy) from Sangay to Caramoan. In t his way, the territorial division between Albay and Camarines began. As a result, Guinobatan became part of Albay.
In those years, Tenientes Absolutos handled the civil government of Guinobatan. Don Francisco Bagamasad, the chief of tenientes, is considered as the founding father of the town. Together with Don Ambrosio, Don Catinod, Don Juan Labao and several Franciscans, he requested that the settlement be declared independent town. And in 1688, ten years after the request was done, a decree was created making Guinobatan a town and independent from Camalig. By virtue of his initiative, Don Francisco was appointed as gobernadorcillo and recognized as the First Civil Administrator of Guinobatan. That was how Guinobatan came into being.
How this town acquired the name “Guinobatan” can be drawn from the word “Gubat” which in its substantive form in Bicol idiom means barren and uncultivated. Used as a verb, “Gubat” denotes armed physical encounter. These encounters emanated from the depredations of the moros who frequently pillaged and plundered the town. The token resistance put up by the natives had given the name “Guinobatan”. Hence the word “Gubat” used in the past participle combined with events of those times, together with the actual physical condition of the settlement gave the name “Guinobatan” to this town.