Quick Facts on Tabaco City
- LAND AREA: 117.14 km2 (45.23 sq mi)
- POPULATION: 125,083 (As of 2010)
- NO. OF BARANGAYS: 47
- MAJOR INDUSTRY: Agriculture
The recorded history of Tabaco began in 1587 when Franciscan missionaries began converting the inhabitants of the town of Cagsawa to Catholicism. In 1616, the Rev. Fr. Pedro de Alcareso, became the first permanent minister of Tabaco. He built a stone church dedicated to Christ's forerunner St. John the Baptist who since then became the patron saint of Tabaco.
Over the years, Tabaco became the largest and the most strategic settlement and in mid-17th century, the province of Albay was divided into two. The first was Partido de Tabaco which included the present-day towns of the First District of Albay, Legazpi, Daraga and Catanduanes. The other division, which was Partido de Iraya, included the towns currently making up the Third District and parts of Camarines Sur.
Known even then for being a town of great charm and character, Tabaco was in fact no stranger to natural calamities. In 1811, a powerful typhoon wreaked unimaginable destruction on Tabaco. Because the storm all but stripped the town bare, it earned the nickname Bagiong Oguis (white typhoon).
Three years later, in 1814, tragedy struck anew. Mayon Volcano erupted violently and rivers of molten lava rampaged down its slopes even as showers of white hot ash and burning boulders destroyed villages and completely buried Tabaco's neighbor Cagsawa. The eruption claimed an unprecedented number of lives and took away much of the people's livelihoods since rice fields were rendered completely unproductive for many years thereafter.
Tabaco was spared much of Mayon's wrath but it took a full decade for it to recover from the damage.
The Americans arrived in Tabaco on February 9, 19 00 under the command of Col. Walter Howe. Despite the well-documented courage and patriotism of Tabaquenos, the superior armaments and well-trained soldiers of the American army hastened its conquest of Tabaco and adjoining towns.
With the restoration of peace after World War II, the residents of Tabaco started rebuilding their lives and their land. By the time the Philippines gained independence, Tabaco was once again a thriving town.