Monday, November 17, 2008

Donsol's Butanding


"Everyone has to experience the whale sharks at least once in their


Albay's neighboring province to the south, Sorsogon, is host to one of the highest concentration of Whale Sharks in the world. These creatures have been frequenting the waters off Donsol, Sorsogon for generations and in 1998, the Philippine Department of Tourism declared this area an official sanctuary for the Whale Shark, thus protected this fascinating species.

Although Whale Sharks, or "Butanding" as they are locally known,
are enormous in size and power, reaching lengths greater than 15 meters, they are remarkably gentle and docile enough that it is generally safe to swim among them. Swimming among the whale sharks is a captivating experience. If you are not comfortable swimming in the waters, then it is just as amazing to experience them from the boat. The Butanding swim along side the boat all the time.

Generally, the whale sharks at Donsol swim very close to the surface of the water. Some basic snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, fins and a water vest) are just about you'll need in the water to be able to experience swimming among them.

Getting there: Donsol, Sorsogon is approximately 1-hour drive away from Legazpi City. The roads all the way to Donsol are well-paved, scenic and very accessible. There are several Taxis available that make daily routes from Legazpi to Donsol, Sorsogon.

What to bring: Although food is available at a number of locations in Donsol, you can bring your own if you want to enjoy a picnic there. If you plan to eat at Donsol, check with the Donsol Tourism Office for accredited eating establishments. Bring plenty of water.

You can bring along your snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel, fins and water vest) but if you don't have any, these are also available for rental at the Donsol Tourism Office. Bring your swimsuits, towels, camera, some sun screen, sunglasses, a change of clothes, slippers, as well as sealable plastic bags to keep valuables. You can bring your own Life Vest, but these are also available on the boat.

Arriving at Donsol, Sorsogon: Once in Donsol, proceed to the Donsol Tourism Office. If you drove in your own vehicle, there is plenty of space to safely park your vehicle there. If you took a public vehicle, make arrangements for your return trip to Legazpi. At the Tourism Office, you will be required to register and attend a brief orientation session prior to heading out to see the Whale Sharks. You will also be required to pay the fee for: Boat Rental and Crew, Registration, and snorkeling equipment rental (if needed). The maximum number of registrants per boat is 7 people.

After Registration: After a brief orientation period on the rules and guidelines, you are ready to head out to sea on a 12m (40ft) boat. Your group will be accompanied by a BIO (Butanding Interaction Officer) who will serve as your guide while you're out in the water, one Spotter, on the look-out for the Butanding, and two crew members to man the boat.

Out in the Water: While there are no guarantees of being able to see the Whale Sharks, you can count on it that if you are there in the right time and season, it can literally take only a few minutes after leaving shore before you come across the first Butanding! Generally, you do not need to be out in deep waters in order to interact with the Whale Sharks. Your BIO will point them out and educate you on how to spot them, as well as provide additional information you need to know during the experience. The BIO's are quite knowledgeable and friendly, and are willing to answer your questions. When the BIO feels that the situation is ideal, he will instruct the crew on the boat's approach to the whale shark, and take the lead in getting you ready for the experience.

Seeing the Butanding for the first time is an extremely exciting experience. It is very important to keep the safety procedures in mind, and always follow the lead and instructions of your BIO.

Duration: The whole experience can last anywhere from 1-4 hours, depending on how long you want to be out in the sea.

Season and Timing: Although Butanding are spotted year-round in the waters off Sorsogon, the season starts around November and goes on through May. The peak season is February through April. The best times to go are in the morning, as the waters are clearer and it easier to spot the Whale Sharks. According to the locals, the Whale Sharks are also more abundant before noon. On peak season, it is very common for each visitor to see more than a dozen different Butanding.


Seeing the Whale Shark for the first time is a very exiting experience! Keep in mind the safety precautions discussed during the briefing period, as well as those dictated by your BIO (Buntanding Interaction Officer).
Always follow the lead and instructions of your BIO.
Inspect and test your equipment for proper function prior to jumping in the water.
If you have not used basic snorkeling equipment before, inform your BIO that you will want to take a few minutes to get acquainted with your snorkeling equipment. Practice breathing through the snorkel and swimming around with the fins. You can practice in shallow waters before heading out.
Let your BIO know about your swimming skills. If you are an inexperienced swimmer, wear your safety vest at all times and stay close to your BIO when in the water.
Do not jump in the water without the go-ahead signal from your BIO. Always make sure you are a safe distance away from the boats parts before focusing your attention on the whale sharks.
Underwater photo equipment is allowed, although any artificial lighting or flashes are prohibited.
Do not touch, ride or impede the movement of the whale shark.
Maintain a distance of 3 meters from the head and body of the whale shark, and 4 meters from the tail section.
Maximum of six swimmers and one boat are allowed per whale shark.
Keep the environment clean, dispose of trash and waste in proper receptacles.
Good luck and enjoy your Whale Shark Interaction experience!

WHALE SHARK SIGHTINGS in Albay GulfThe world’s largest living fish (and shark) is becoming a more frequent visitor to the Albay coast. They say the creatures were a common site in Albay waters, but have become far more common during the past months while the Mayon is in the state of “quiet” eruption. On August 23, around 3:56 p.m. nine sightings and five encounters with the Butanding (local name) had been recorded.

By: Anastacio C. Canciller

A long time ago when the Philippines was not yet separated by a wide stretch of water from the mainland of Asia, there was neither then high mountain nor volcano in the region now known as Bikolandia or Kabikolan the old name given by the inhabitants to this place. There once dwelt a distinct group of people composed of beautiful women and sturdy warriors. Many suitors from far away regions went to Kabikolan purposely to court its maidens. They, however, returned home dejectedly because it was the unbroken code of that place that no strangers could marry its daragas (maidens). So strict were the fathers with regard to the marriage of their daughters that tribal wars would frequently mar the beauty of the village. The inhabitants, of course, were secure from the onslaught of the invaders from all of them were mostly experienced warriors.
Of all the women in Kabikolan, none was more winsome than Tiong Makusog’s daughter, Daragang Magayon, whose name literally means woman beauteous. That was why in the whole region, she was the kabinibinihan (modest) of them all. Among the native who fell madly in love with her, was the wealthy but selfish Paratuga. Thrice did this suitor thrust his spear near the stairs of Tiong Makusog’s house as a sign of his love of Daragang Magayon, and thrice did he present valuable gift of pearls, diamonds and gold, only to be answered with firm words of refusal. “He is not the man for me, father,” the beautiful woman would say whenever she was enjoined by Tiong Makusog in behaolf of the native lover. Since the old man was open-minded, he could do no other but follow her wish.
One midnight, while silence pervaded the place, Daragang Magayon unexpectedly confessed to her father of her love affair with a certain man who lives beyond the border of Kabikolan.
“Tatay”, she began tremulously,” it will mean eternal disgrace to our family if I am known to be in love with a stranger who lives on the other side of Kabikolan (the boundary river that separates Kabikolan from Katagalogan, the region inhabited by the tagalogs). To me he is the handsomest of all men I have ever seen. I owe my life to him, because he was the brave man who saved me from the mad currents of Kabikolan, when one morning while I was bathing in the river, my feet unfortunately slipped on the rock I stood upon”.
Tiong Makusog became grief-stricken after learning that his only daughter had already chosen her life-partner without his knowledge. Nevetherless, he controlled himself, and queried, although scarcely intelligible, who her strange sweetheart was.
“That is it”, Daragang Magayon seemed to have trailed her father thoughts, “I am sure you don’t know his name because when you arrived, I was already saved from drowning and he had immediately told me, “Namomotan Ta Ka”, (I love you) he told me one sunset when we met again at the bank of the river. “Namomotan ta ka man,” (I love you too) I replied, whereupon, I felt his lifps tenderly pressing on mine. What shall we do father? I don’t love Paratuga. I prefer a thousand deaths than wed him!” She ended firmly.
“I will help you to find the best way out, my daughter,” Tiong Makusog, albeit heavy was his heart, assured her.
Unfortunately one morning, while Tiong Makusog was hunting in a nearby forest, several strong henchmen of Paratuga suddenly seized him unawares. He was taken to the home of this treacherous suitor where he was demanded as ransom, the hand of his daughter, otherwise death from the wounds of hundred arrows would be his punishment.
That same day, a few hours after Tiong Makusog had been taken as captive, Linog, Paratuga’s chief messenger arrived at Daranga Magayon’s house and delivered to her a letter written on a piece of white bamboo...It contained a demand for her hand in marriage to Paratuga, or her refusal would mean immediate death of her father. Realizing the futility of a further refusal, Daragang Magayon forgot her gentle Panganoron, the man who had saved her from drowning. She at once rushed down the stairs and proceeded to Paratuga’s village to accept his terms to be his wife, to save her father.
The date of the wedding of Daragang Magayon to the wealthy Paratuga was immediately announced. Pearls, diamonds, gold and other precious stones were given lavishly to Tiong Makusog as gifts to the would-be bride. Messengers with swift heels were sent to al villages in Kabikolan purposely to broadcast the news and to invite every one to attend the nuptials.
As if aided by the wind, the news of Daragang Magayon’s proposed marriage speedily spread far and wide. It finally reached Panganoron’s ears whom upon learning the strange happening, was moved with surprise. For did she not assure him of her love, whatever consequence might befall on her? Indeed, the real lover could not believe what he heard. To him only force could make Daragang Magayon accept the marriage to that hated man. So with a bold determination to save his sweetheart from an impending danger, the daring warrior, with his trusted guide, Amihan, gathered all his men in Katagalogan to invade Kabikolan.
Panganoron and his followers arrived in Kabikolan on the day of Magayon’s marriage with Paratuga. The invaders were determined to slay the unwanted suitor and his people. Before the altar sat Tiong Makusog, with Daragang Magayon and Paratugaon each of his side. In front of them was the high priest who was busily mumbling words of incantation prior to the formal proclamation of the two parties as husband and wife. To the thousand pairs of eyes that witnessed the splendid ceremony, Daragang Magayon appeared immensely beautiful. Never before had they seen such a winsome woman. However, they could see that grief had lodged on her lovely face.
In the midst of the wedding ceremony, nevertheless, a sharp cry of “Tulisanes are coming!” from a villager outside suddenly put the scene into a medley of shrieking voices. Men, women and children speed away for safety. Only Daragang Magayon, Paratuga and his warriors remained to await the invaders headed by Panganoron. In a moment the battle was on. The sharp metallic clash of blade filled the air, and mounds of dying warriors gave a horrible sound in the fight. Paratuga was the first to gall, at the hands of the bold Panganoron. Seeing her returned lover, Daragang Magayon at once rushed to him, but sadly enough, a stray arrow fatally hit her. In his efforts to lift the weakening body of his sweetheart, Panganoron was unnoticeably attacked from behind. He reeled to the ground, bleeding and breathless. His men, sensing that their leader was dead and realizing that they were outnumbered, took to their heels and left him lifeless to their enemy.
The next day, all the natives of Kabikolan were sad. Daragang Magayon was dead. Tiong Makusog buried her beside the sea. In her grave, he laid all that she had possessed, including the priceless gifts of Paratuga. A week, however, after the burial, all the inhabitants of that place were surprised to find the grave mound of Daragang Magayon steadily rising into a hill. They were amazed, too, why sometimes a flock of white clouds floating over the hill would suddenly turn black and burst into a cloud and heavy shower strangely enough, pouring particularly on the crest of the hill. At night the people would be awakened by strong earthquakes that seemed to emanate from the grave of Daragang Magayon, followed by a thundering noise of rolling stones, along its steeply slope. This horrible occurrence frightened the natives so that in a short period, the place had become deserted.
During the countless years that followed that incident, the burial-hill of Darangang Magayon had kept on growing and growing until it was transformed into a high mountain, with its top almost piercing the clouds.
Nowadays the Albayanos, believed that the spirit of Paratuga is the cause of the occasional eruption of the mountain that was formerly the grave-mound of Daragang Magayon. The legend tells us that in order to avenge his failure to wed the beautiful daughter of Tiong Makusog, the spirit of Paratuga, with the help of Linog’s, is trying every once in a while to exhume her grave to emit all the pearls, diamonds and gold he had given to her as gifts. Instead of the gifts, however, large masses of stones with heavy layers of ashes, are thrown out, as when a volcano erupts.
The spirit of Panganoron, on the other hand, so the legend says, is wandering in the form of clouds above the peak of the mountain. These clouds usually visit the burial-place of Daragang Magayon and never fail to kiss it. Apparently the spirit of Panganoron seems to be grieving over the death of his sweetheart, for whenever clouds gather at the top, they usually disperse into volleys of raindrops, thus keeping the plant vegetating on the mountain slopes fresh all year round. The people of Albay contend that these frequent visits of the spirit of Panganoron to the mountain of Daragang Magayon, in the form of clouds and rain may account for its having a heavy rainfall every year.
Today the imposing mountain of Daragang Magayon still stands in Albay, perpetually clad with the green foliage of plants. Indeed, what a striking parallelism to find this mountain, like the winsome lady of former Kabikolan, always a radiant symbol of hope, to honor and remember the memory of Daragang Magayon, the mountain that marks her resting place is now called Mayon (short for Magayon) and the village by its slopes is at present a thriving town as Daraga (derived from Daragang) which is still noted for its pretty women.

Spicy Bicol


· Mayon Volcano is the most perfect cone volcano in the world?
· “Tabios” (mystichy’s luzonensis) found in Buhi, Camarines Sur is the smallest fish in the world?
· “Butanding” (whale shark), found in Sorsogon waters is the largest fish in the world?
· Pili, a nut extensively grown in Bicol, have a quality comparable to the macadamia nut?
· Manila hemp and Manila rope originally came from Bicol’s abaca?
· The first bus company in the country (the Alatco) and first modern coconut oil mills in the country were established in Bicol?
· Tea bags, paper currency, baby diapers are made from abaca?

Bicol Express -- Not from BICOL???

Hey, Do you know that our BICOL EXPRESS was “invented” by a Non-Bicolano?? According to documents I have gathered, this spicy concoction was invented by Ms. Cely Kalaw, who was born in Los Banos Laguna but spent her childhood days in Bicol particularly in Naga City. This spicy dish is "Tita Cely's" version of a long-standing Bicolano dish "GULAY NA LADA".

By LAI SUAREZ REYES --The Manila Bulletin Online

They say that a good cook doesn’t follow recipes...he invents them! Well, that’s if you have the talent, guts and the palate for good food the way Tita Cely does!
Regarded by food critics as the doyenne of Filipino cuisine, Cecilia "Tita Cely" Villanueva Kalaw set the Pinoy tastebuds on fire with her "invention"... a fiery dish popularly known as Bicol Express.
Contrary to popular belief, Bicol Express didn’t originate in Bicol. It was a labor of love of two siblings who shared a passion for all things spicy and yummy!
As the story goes, Tita Cely and her brother Demetrio "Kuya Etring" Kalaw had opened a hole-in-the-wall eatery on Oregon St., Malate, Manila, which they called "The Grove Luto ni Inay." This was way back in the 1960s.
There were only a few tables and chairs and no waiters but immediately the eatery was swamped with foodies hungry for good homecooking! This prompted Tita Cely and Kuya Etring to move to a bigger place on M.H. del Pilar St., in Ermita.
The Grove became famous for its buffet which offered 54 kinds of Filipino dishes. "I was the first one to put up a Filipino buffet. At that time, it only cost R7.50 per head. It was such a big hit! Over the years, the price of the buffet went to as high as R175/head," recalls Tita Cely.
Tita Cely’s regular customers included the late food writer and critic Doreen Fernandez, journalist Jullie Yap Daza and former senator Francisco Kit Tatad.These people just couldn’t have enough of Tita Cely’s laing, served quite spicy."But Doreen told me that some of our “sosyal” customers who wanted to eat laing, could not tolerate the chili in it. So, I told my brother Etring that we should come up with a tamer version of the dish," narrates Tita Cely. For customers who want their laing spicy, Tita Cely and Kuya Etring invented a dish similar to Bicol’s "gulay na lada" which they mixed with a less spicy laing.
"It’s actually a separate dish. One could either mix it with the laing or just add a bit of it (chili dish) according to one’s taste," explains Tita Cely. Once again, the siblings experimented in the kitchen with chopped siling haba and coconut milk. By now a kitchen pro, Tita Cely wielded her ladle like a witch concocting potions in a cauldron. In a snap, the chili dish was cooked!"So, I’ve invited Doreen and other friends for an intimate lunch to try our “new” laing. At that time, we didn’t have a name for the chili dish yet! Our house was located at the back of the restaurant along M.H. del Pilar, where the PNR train passes. It was 11:45 a.m., we only had 15 minutes left to think of a name before our guests arrived," Tita Cely continues. "Kuya Etring was taking a shower, while I was seated on the sofa. Suddenly, we heard the sound of the train and so I shouted: “Kuya Etring, biyaheng Bicol!” And he shouted back: “Cely, let’s call the dish “Bicol Express!” Well, the rest is history," Tita Cely laughed.
Tita Cely is not a Bicolana but she spent her childhood days in Bicol. Born in 1938 in Los Banos, Laguna, Tita Cely and her family moved to Naga City, when she was 3. Most probably, that’s the reason Tita Cely loves "luto sa gata" dishes. This is evident in the menu of her new food stall, "Tita Cely’s Sinigang Bar, Atbp." at the foodcourt of Market! Market! in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.
Tita Cely graduated with a degree in agriculture from UPLB. But she’s more proud of the following "degrees" appended on her name: Cecila V. Kalaw, C.CS.P.S.
"C stands for CONCERN; CS stand for COMMON SENSE. P is for PRACTICAL while S stands for SYSTEMATIC. These words are synonymous to SUCCESS," Tita Cely says with a grin.

The Bicol Express

A savory and delicious dish made with succulent pork and coconut cream that will have you expressing how much you adore the taste!
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garlic chopped
1/2 cup onions chopped
1/4 cup ginger fresh, chopped
2 tablespoons dilao fresh, (tumeric)
1 kg pork cooked and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 1/2 tablespoon hot chili peppers (siling labuyo, chopped)
1 1/2 cup bagoong alamang
6 cups coconut cream
2 cups hot green peppers fresh (elongated variety), sliced diagonally into 1/4 inch strips
1 1/2 cup sweet red peppers, fresh (elongated variety), sliced diagonally into 1/4 inch strips

Saute garlic in hot oil. Add onions and cook until translucent. Stir in fresh ginger, dilao, and the sliced cooked pork. Stir continually for 5 minutes. Add bagoong alamang and chopped hot chilli (siling labuyo). Stir until the pork is completely covered by the mixture. (about 15 minutes.) Pour in 6 cups of coconut cream and add the sliced hot green and red peppers. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes. Add salt if necessary.
Note: chillis and peppers to be added according to spiciness desired.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What's in a Town's Name?


Originally named Tigbi by the Spanish religious community in 1658, the gem of a town was once a barrio of Malinao, Albay, before it became formally organized as a town in 1696. The name, Tigbi, was derived from the name of a plant, a gabi look-alike, which grew abundantly in the area. However, this name was later changed to Tivi, and then finally, to its present name, Tiwi. The Historical Commission of the National Library described Tiwi, in its early stages a town with a gobernadorcillo and a secular parish priest under the Diocese of Nueva Caceres. It had some 1,105 houses in its barrios, a parish house and church, a primary school funded by the community and a cemetery outside the town proper. The products were rice, corn, sugarcane, indigo, fruits, and vegetables. Its industries were agriculture and weaving abaca clothes. Legend however has it, that long before the establishment of this municipality by the Spaniards, the present Poblacion, including the barangays of Libjo, Cararayan and Naga, and the hills Bolo and Putsan were part of the Pacific Ocean, as an island. The filling up of this part of the sea with alluvial deposits came about during the volcanic eruption of Mt. Malinao, now long since extinct. Geothermal drilling in the barangay of Cale, which extracted sand at sea, level has established proof that the legend could be true. The municipality, since Lorenzo Mancilla, the first gobernadorcillo, to the present Mayor JAIME C. VILLANUEVA has had 119 town executives.


The Municipality of MALINAO was founded in year 1600 or 79 years after Magellan landed in Cebu and planted the first Christian Croos. Between Year 1600 to year 1616, Malinao was then part of the Diocese of Cagsawa (now Daraga). It became an independent bisita or sitio attached to Sawangan (now Legazpi Port) until the year 1619 when separate religious administration was exercised with Rev. Francisco de Sta. Ana, OFM as first pastor.
Local folklore speaks of a plant once abundant in this town called “ALINAO”. The prefix “Ma” which denotes abundance of something in local dialect was affixed by the natives in referring to the place abundant with Alinao, thus, Ma-Alinao and later corrupted to Malinao. Ironically, said plant is nowhere to be found in this locality. It was however in Year 1916 when according to legendary account, Malinao got its name. A siege by Moros on the town resulted in the abduction of seven women. Miraculously, the boat sank within the jurisdictional waters of Malinao and on that same spot in the sea across the island of Natunawan because of the Women’s fervent prayers in canticles and tarahades or clear thoughts for the Blessed Virgin to sink the boat. From these “clear thoughts” of the seven women translated in the Bicol dialect as “Malinao na isip”. The name of Malinao was given to the Municipality. It has since then the tradition among the residentrs particularly the women to sing the canticles or tarahades in times of crisis or calamities or when they want to drive away epidemics and misfortunes.
The people of Malinao took active part in the uprisings both during the Spanish and American revolt which produced heroes like Rev. Gabriel Prieto who was martyred in Bagumbayan, Manila together with thirteen other residents for participating in revolution against Spain and Corporal Eusebio Capuz of Barangay Tuliw who died in the Battle of Maturao against the American invasion.
During the duration of year 1600 up to year 1850, parish priests served the people of Malnao as administrators. From 1850, civilian administration through a Capitanes took over in the administration of the town until 1900 where Municipal Presidents replaced Capitanes as administrator of the town’s affairs and lasted up to year 1932. The first appointed Municipal President was Don Maximo Chavez in Year 1901 and was the construction of wooden municipal building.
The resiliency of the people of Malinao was again brought to the fore when the Japanese occupied the town during World War II. Organized guerilla units fought the Japanese occupation forces through hit and run tactics and nearly cause total execution of residents of Tanawan, Libod and Balza if not for the timely intervention of Incumbent Mayor Teodoro R. Regalado. An “On Guard Monument” built on March 5, 1955 stand as testimony to the courageous guerilla fighters of Malinao.
From the Commonwealth Period in 1933 to 1946, succession of the Municipal Mayors administered the town with the present Acting Mayor, Hon. Emiliana T. Kare.
The present functional role of the Municipality of MALINAO is that of an agricultural procedure in the First District of Albay Province and is a Fourth Class Municipality. Under the Settlements Plan of the Albay Provincial Physical Framework Plan, Year 1993 – 2002, the Municipality of MALINAO shall become a MEDIUM TOWN from its present settlement category of a Small Town.

TABACO CITY – by Kevin

Tuesday, 04 December 2007
As recorded in the Estado Geografico Estadistico Historico written in 1805 by Father de Huerta, the recorded history of the city began in 1587 through the missionary work of the Franciscan Fathers. In 1616, Fr. Pedro de Alcareso became the permanent minister and built a church which was dedicated to the glorious Precursor of our Saviour, St. John the Baptist. Up to the present, St. John the Baptist remained the patron saint.
The President on record, however, was only in 1731, Martin Aguirre. The incumbent, Hon. Krisel Lagman-Luistro, from whom we address as City Mayor is the 177th to hold the postion.
Hon. Krisel Lagman-Luistro introduced House Bill No. 7581, converting the municipality of Tabaco into a component city of the Province of Albay. Senate Bill No. 2244 was sponsored by Sen. Sergio OsmeƱa III and Sen. Franklin Drilon as its counterpart in the Senate. The Republic Act No. 9020, An Act Converting the Municipality of Tabaco into a Component City of the Province of Albay was signed into Law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last February 5, 2001. The municipality was finally converted into a city after the Plebiscite conducted last March 4, 2001.
The Official Seal was conceived from the legend of how the name "Tabaco" came about. It was officialy adopted thru Municipal Council Resolution No. 29 on February 23, 1966.
One of the many versions on how the City got her name is the Legend of Pagkamoot which tells about a woman who was well-loved by her people because she was their healer, prophetess and servant. She was called Pagkamoot, meaning Love. One day, a Spanish vessel arrived asking about the place's name. A middle-aged man, some say, the healer's father, feared that his daughter would be taken captive by the foreigners, shouted at the top of his voice, "Tabak ko! Tabak ko!", which means, "My bolo! My bolo!". The Spaniards thought their question was answered and went their way believing that the place they had just left was called Tabaco.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 December 2007 )

STO. DOMINGO ALBAY -- The Legend of Sto. Domingo
Sto. Domingo, originally named Libog, is a former barrio of Ibalon (Legazpi City) and was established in the year 1749. This even took place through the efforts of its inhabitants under a secessionist leader Don Domingo Castellanos who took up the issue with the Bishop of Nueva Caceres and the civil authorities in Manila.
The name “Libog” appears to be a corruption of the term “libot” meaning roundabout. As it is, the Poblacion was off the main route between the trade center of Legazpi and Tabaco but had to be included in the route for trading and governance purposes, thus, a roundabout road had to be constructed.
Another version of where the name of the town originated is the word “labog” or jelly fish which abound in the coastal waters of the pueblo. Accordingly, one day a group of children were frolicking at the shores of the town when a number of boys got in contact with the deadly “labog.” There was panic among the inhabitants of the village as the victim was brought ashore. A group of Guardia Civil happened to pass by and inquired about the commotion. The crowd chorused “Na-labog, na-labog!” And when asked where’s the town of Tabaco, the crowd shouted “Libot, libot!” Hence, the Spaniards called the place “Libog.” For more than two centuries, the quaint and peaceful locality came to be known as Libog.
In 1957, during the term of Mayor Hilario Balilo the council adopted Resolution No. 57 changing the name Libog to Sto. Domingo because of the negative connotation of the word especially among the Tagalogs.
In 1959, the change of the name of the town to Sto. Domingo became official with the approval of the Congress of the House Bill No. 554 sponsored by then Congressman Tecla San Andres Ziga based on the Municipal Resolution No. 57. The bill was enacted into law under Republic Act 2520. On April 4, 1959 the name, Sto. Domingo, was finally inaugurated.
In 1786 the Spanish galleon "Nuestra Sra. De Guia" sunk off the coast of what is now known as Barangay Buhatan. For years, the only attention it got was probably from local diver/fishermen who may have been cannibalizing the wreck over the years


The word DARAGA (with accent on the last syllable) according to legend, refers to a kind of tree which grew in abundance especially on the top of a hill where now stands its famous church.
The term Daraga, means maiden. During the 12th century, most of the migrants are traders and settlers. When the Spaniards came headed by Juan Salcedo, they name the village Budiao, then giving birth to Cagsawa. In 1857, evangelization of the place and improvements were undertaken by the Franciscan missionaries. In 1595, Cagsawa was raised to the category of a ?visita?, but attached to the town of Camalig. Fr. Alfonso de Jadraque was the first Parish priest of Cagsawa. On June 12, 1872, the Spanish Governor General Simon de Anda transferred Cagsawa to a new settlement once called Salcedo and later renamed Daraga. In 1815, a government for the town was formally organized with Venancio Espiritu Salomon as first appointed captain. Under the Becerra Law of 1892, Daraga became a district of Legazpi City. In 1922, Daraga regained her autonomy as ordered by the Philippines Assembly and eventually on December 15, 1948 Republic Act 306 was enacted.
Recent archeological findings within the municipality shows that Camalig had been inhabited by people with developed social attributes of cultural, religious, social-political and economic relationship and organizations as as the years 200 B.C. to 900 A.D., the period referred to as early Iron Age in the Philippines.
According to Father Cayetano Sanchez, OFM who made researches on Bicol History at the Franciscan Archives in Pastrana, Spain. In 1569, a Spanish galleon led by Capt. Luis Enriquez de Guzman came to Bicol Region accidentally as they were scouting the neighboring island in search for food supplies badly needed northward inalnd and went as far as Camalig where they came upon a thriving and prosperous agricultural settlement (rancheria) whose inhabitants kept their farm products in little hut grass roofs without walls called KAMALIG in the local language. De Guzman and his men stayed then for a brief rest and the friars started civilizing the natives.
So it is easy to deduce that Camalig got its name from this native hut used for storing harvest or crops. It is also noted that its hispanization from camarin especially the plural camarines was soon used by the Spanish forces in referring to the subsequent areas they explored and conquered a year later, the present Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte. This led to a plausible though still unverified conjective that Camalig in fact comprised the entire Bicol mainland in the minds of the Spanish colonizer in the early part of 1570.
Camalig was founded as a town in 1579 by the Franciscan missionaries, Father Pablo de Jesus and Father Bartolome Ruiz, who continued the catholization drive by the Augustinian Chaplain during the early spanish expedition to the region

There is no document found to support how Guinobatan got its name. Analyzing the word, its root word "Gubat" has a substantive form in Bicol idiom meaning barren and uncultivated. When used as a verb, it connotes grave physical encounter. These physical encounters emanated from the moros who frequently plundered the town of Guinobatan. When the native could no longer withstand those attacks, they organized resistance against these moros. Hence, the name "Guinobatan" was given due to the armed clashes between the native and the moros that often occurred plus the actual physical condition of the settlement.
In 1578, the Franciscan missionaries of Camalig came to evangelize Guinobatan, then considered a barangay of Camalig, populated by indigenous tribes inhabiting the Albay Gulf. Upon acceptance and recognition of Christianity by the native, the missionaries gathered the converts in Binanuaan, a place located between Mabalod and Tandarora. From 1672 to 1678, the settlement expanded to a greater number and was designated as Christianity Station of the sector known as the Mayon District.
Meanwhile, Mauraro, a distant settlement with a population 217 persons was also considered a temporary religious station as reported by Don Sinibaldo de Mass in 1843. During these years, the civil government was under the reign of the tenientes and the chief was Don Francisco Bagamasbad, considered to be the founder of Guinobatan. Together with other Dons, they initiated a petition to the Governor-General through the Franciscan Missionaries requesting that the settlement be declared an independent town. The request was granted ten years after it's filing (1680), through a decree making Guinobatan an independent town.
Before 1963, the territorial boundaries of Guinobatan extended as far as the southern coast of the Province of Albay, with Malacbalac (now Pioduran) as its most progressive barangay as its outlet to the sea. With the enactment of R.A. 3617 on June 22, 1963 of the defunct Philippine Congress creating the municipality of Pioduran; Malacbalac as its seat of government together with the barangays of Malidong, Basicao, Malapay, Nablangbulod, Buyo, Rawis, Mamlad, Oringon, Cagbatano, Nacasitas, Sukip and Tibabo of the municipality of Guinobatan were separated and constituted a part of the newly created municipality of Pioduran. This separation not only decreased the number of barangays to 43 but was also economically felt by the municipal treasury of Guinobatan, since Malacbalac has a great bulk of share in the town's income being a fishing village and a center part of the coastal province of Masbate and a portion of Sorsogon.

In July 1575, Juan de Salcedo, the Spanish Conquistador, founded in the province of Albay the
town Santiago de Libong, now known as Libon. One of Libon’s big sitios was Polangui which was made a municipality in 1585, with Oas as a Sitio. In 1587, Oas was also made into a municipality. The thriving settlement of Cavasi was made a sitio of Polangui in 1608. In 1614, it was annexed as a sitio of Oas. Cavasi’s developing place of detour thrived and was made a municipality known as Ligao in 1665 with Cavasi as a sitio.

The present official name of the town Ligao, a word said to be derived from the name of a tree called "TICAU". This tree with leaves used to poison fishes was known to abound in Ligao.

Long ago a group of Spanish soldiers passed by the place and took shelter from the heat of the sun under the "ticau" tree. They asked the natives for the name of the place. The natives thinking they were asking for the name of the tree answered, "TICAU". The Spaniards mispronounced "ticao" to "LIGAO" and since then the place was called LIGAO.

A more logical version says that Ligao comes from a Bicol word "LICAW" which means detour or a by road substituted for part of the main road temporarily impassable.

During the earliest settlement period of the town, Chinese traders called the place along the riverbank "Cavasi" mispronounced to "Cavasi" meaning a commercial center or leader.

The early inhabitants and traders from Libon, Polangui and Oas passed Cavasi on their way to the port of Legazpi to transport abaca fibers and other products. During rainy days transportation to Cavasi became difficult for they had to pass by lowland places called Bobonsuran and Ranao-Ranao.

Whenever the road to Cavasi becomes flooded, the traders would order their cart drivers to "Licaw" or detour to a trail on a higher plain. After sometime the place of detour was known as "Licaw". Licaw was rnispronounced to Ligao and developing place of detour became known as Ligao. The earliest settlement of Cavasi was made only a sitio when Ligao was made a municipality.

History reveals scant details on the origin and foundation of the Municipality of Oas which can be related to the early Spanish Colonization of the Bicol Peninsula. It tells of the creation of this Municipality into some kind of a rural community of rather. Provisionary character in year 1595 or approximately 64 years after discovery of the Philippines by Magellan in Year 1521. The zealous work of a missionary, Father Baltazar de los Reyes y Miranda or de la Magdalena which resulted to conversion to Christianity of the twelve (12) leading natives in one single day became the foundation or nucleus of the community now known as the municipality of Oas.
How the name of the Municipality of Oas evolved, speaks of three (3) different versions attributed to constant traditions of uncontroverted value. The first version mentions the existence of numerous lagoons or pools of water abounding the place which prompted early colonizers to give it to the name of "OASIS". The natives soon called the place by this name and later abbreviated it to "OAS". A second version relates to the existence of a dam across the narrowest portion of a river traversing the place. This dam solely irrigates the vast fields of the place including those of nearby town of Libon and results to good harvest. People are wary of any cracks or leaks on the dam walls during months of heavy rains. A crier would shot "NAWASWAS" giving the call to the people for immediate action in groups. From then on, the natives coined this name to the place and later shortened it to present from in times of this kind emergency. A third version and perhaps the most logical version of how the municipality derived its name gives an account of early Spanish Colonozers reaching this particular section of the Bicol Peninsula. The Spaniards, inquired the name of the place from the about 600 natives found living there, "COMO SE LLAMA ESTE SITIO?" with gesture of their hands. The natives mistakenly thought the question to be, "ONAN KADING LUGAR DALI MAIWAS?" in their native dialect. In response, the natives answered, "SI SENORS, MAIWAS. LABI NIKADING IWAS. LABI NIKADING IWAS". From then on the early Spanish Colonizers adopted in their Official census the existence of a rich fertile valley with verdant fields of grain which is a little town of OAS in Bicol.
The present role of the municipality of OAS is a SMALL town. However, its projected role under the Albay Provincial Framework Plan (1993-2002) is now as a MEDIUM TOWN. Under the Legazpi - Iriga - Naga - Daet Growth Corridor, the municipality is projected role that of a RURAL SERVICE CENTER whose functions includes: Morning Wet Market, Barber Shop, Eateries, Sari-Sari Stores, Drug Stores, Blackmuth and Municipal Hall. These indicators aptly describes the projected role of the municipality of OAS for its preferred development strategy for the planning period Year 2000-2004 which are combination of AGRICULTURE, LIGHT INDUSTRY, COMMERCE and TOURIST DEVELOPMENT.


OYANGI-- a name of a tree in abundance when Father Baltazar de la Magdalena found the Municipality, was the origin of the name of Polangui. The town was then a place called “BINANUAAN”. Its foundation started with the baptism of its about twenty-five elderly citizens. The town then consisted of five hundred people. Binanauaan’s location was a low place and such was prove to floods. The people then moved to where the town now exists, an elevated area less exposed to flood.
The construction of the parish church which took a period of ten years to its completion is one of the significant highlights in the history of Polangui. The church was started in 1654 by Fr. Juan Bautista. It is also during this regime that Polangui gave birth to a martyr Camilo Jacob, a photographer who together with other Bicolanos was executed in January 1897. A year later, the “Guardia Civil” in Naga City led by Don Elias Angeles mutinied against Spaniards. This ended the Spanish rule in Bicol Region. By 1899, the whole country was free from the pang’s of the Spanish rule.

The City Called Legazpi

Legazpi City - to perpetuate the name of DON MIGUEL LOPEZ DE LEGAZPI, conquistador and first Spanish governor General in the Philippines.
When the Spaniards arrived in what is now known as Legaspi Port they found a small settlement of fishermen and farmers called Sawangan, corrupted to Sabang. It's site was the low swampy tide lands along the margin of the Macabolo River. It was located at the northwerst part of Legazpi.
In 1587, the Fraciscan friears of the Doctrine de Cagsawa began to convert this settlement to Chrsitianity and in 1616, they transferred it into separate town parish called Albay. Fr. Francisco de Sta. Ana was designed as its first ministro. He built a church made of bamboo and nipa. In 1636, under the advocacy of Fr. Martin del Espiritu Santo, a church made of stone and abode was constructed. In 1649, the town had already 300 tributes entered. For two centuries this town has been prosperous and progressive until it eventually became the capital or cabecera of the province. But it 1814, it was ravaged by a calamity. The eruption of Mayon Volcano which ruined the whole town and decided to transfer to Macalaya. Contrary to the degree of the Superior Gobierno dated October 5, 1892, disapproving said transfer and prohibiting the foundation of another town, the parish preist, Fr. Pedro Licup, moved the town to a sitio called, Taytay, then called Bagumbayan, and constructed a church therein. Hence Taytay became the capital or cabecera.
While there was no barrier against the on-slaught of nature, against the will of man, there was. thus after the town and patron saint was transferred bilitated their farms. They started from the scratch by beginning anew as barrio. They adopted St. Rafael the Archangel as their patron saint in liue of the former, St. Gregory the Great, which had been taken away from them. They transformed the small "ermita" into a church. In 1856, they obtained and regained their autonomy and called their place Binanwahan, which meant the former site of a town, much in the same way that in the district of Albay, there was Bagumbayan which meant a new town.
In September 22, 1856, Vice-Governor Paterno Real decreed that the name of the new town should be Legazpi and it was officially inaugurated as an independent town. Thus, the old town regained its autonomy and because of the rapid progress and prosperity it attained, Legazpi was declared by virtue of the Royal Cedula dated in Madrid, May 18, 1872 and published by the Gobierno Superior de Filipinas, December 22, 1873, opened to world trade and exported to Boston 214 thousand piculs of abaca ever produced and exported as revealed by the Bulletin of the Ministro de Fometo. Madrid, 1874.
Under the Becera Law of 1892, Legazpi was declared a city which constituted the municipalities of Legazpi, Albay and Daraga. It was known as the Ayuntamiento de Albay. In 1908, a law was enacted combining the towns of Daraga and Albay into what was called "Municipio de Albay", which concurrently became the capital of Albay.
Legazpi became a city for the second time on December 15, 1948. Daraga, Legazpi including Albay were again combined to constitute the territory defined by Republic Act 306.
On June 8, 1954, Legazpi comprising three districts ceased to be a city. Instead two municipalities were created: the municipality of Daraga and it was composed of Albay Distric and Legazpi Port District. Separate set of officials were appointed by the President of the Philippines. On June 12, 1959 another charter of Legazpi was approved and Legazpi became a city for the third time. This time the municipality of Daraga was no longer included in the territorial limits of Legazpi city.
Until lately, it was difficult to distinguish the two districts which the city is divided into the district of Albay is the set of the Cathedral and both the city and provincial governments while Leagzpi Port District is the port area and commercial center of Legazpi City. Old Albay or Pueblo Viejo refered to Legazpi Port District while Pueblo Nuevo refered to the district of Albay.
Albay Province, a group of 17 municipalities and the chartered city-Legazpi is 556 km. south of Manila. It has a total land of 20,420.40 hectares or 204,204 square lometers, representing about 8 percent of the total land area of the Province of Albay. It is composed of 70 barangays, 41 of which are urban and 29 rural. It's where the most beautiful volcano comes into full view in majestic splendor - Mayon Volcano, famous for its perfect natural cone.
Lying at the southern tip of Luzon, Albay is strategically the growth center of business and trade activities, mobility and travel to and from Luzon mainland in the north and Visayas and Mindanao in the south; and to the other provinces of Bicol region. Aptly, it deserve to be named Gateway to Bicol.
Albay abounds with home-grown industries ranging from small to large of various types. Bounded by the wide Pacific Ocean on the east, the serence Burias Pass on the west, the Lagonoy Gulf on the northwest and Sorsogon province in the south, it offers a variety of agricultural crops, nurtured by a pronounced maximum rainful throughtout the yeat and fertile slopes and plains.
Legapi City is the capital of the Province of Albay. It is like wise, the Administrative Center for Bicol Region. Legazpi offers high tech and modern communications facilities throughout the regions and to the world.
The volcano stands 2500 metres high and is famed for its almost perfectly symmetrical cone shape. The name Mayon is a derivation of the Bicol word 'magayon' which means beautiful. Beauty can also become dangerously active. Mayon is said to erupt about every 10 years - the last eruptions were in 1978 and 1984 when a series of eruptions shook towns and villages nearby and 70,000 people had to be evacuated. The most violent eruption of Mayon took place in 1814 and destroyed three towns and burried the Cagsawa Church.
1. Origin of Name
Historically, the place was named Legazpi, to perpetuate to the memory of Adelantado Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. This was the agreement made between the original inhabitants of the place and the Spaniards during the former’s quest for autonomy. It took them 21 years, in which they sought the help and support of the Spaniards, then living in the town. As a sign of gratitude, the people readily accepted the name, which was also then proposed by the Spaniards upon fulfillment of their efforts.
On September 22, 1856, through a Royal Decree, the name Legazpi was officially adopted to include the visitas of Lamba, Rawis and Bigaa, and declaring it an independent town. It was formally inaugurated on October 23, 1856.
2. Foundation
It began as a barangay called Sawangan (now Legazpi Port) whose inhabitants were mostly fishermen and farmers. In 1587, Franciscan friars of the Doctrina of Cagsawa began to convert the settlement to Christianity and in 1616 they transformed it into a separate town and parish called Albay. Its first parish priest built a small chapel and established the “Mission de San Gregorio Magno de Sawangan.”
The progress of two centuries was razed to the ground in the eruption of Mayon Volcano on February 1, 1814. The people was evacuated to Makalaya (now Taysan) and on the decree of the Gobierno Superior on October 1, 1829, prohibiting the founding of another town they finally settled in Taytay (Bagumbayan). In 1818, Sawangan, then already known as the town of Albay, was separated from Cagsawa and was made the capital of Partido de Ibalon (the old name of Albay Province).
Some of the people, however, remained in the old town and began anew as a barrio. In lieu of their former patron saint, St. Gregory the Great, which had also been transferred to Albay, they adopted St. Raphael, the Archangel and transformed the ermita into a church. They finally regained their old status but never changed the name of the place as Albay Viejo or Banwang Daan. Even after their autonomy in 1856, they called it “Binanuahan”, meaning the former sit of a town.
Now autonomous, and with a fast paced progress and prosperity, Legazpi was declared a Royal Cedula in May 18, 1872, open to world trade. Legazpi first became a city under the Becerra Law of 1892, which constituted the municipalities of Legazpi, Albay Nuevo and Daraga, into the Ayutamiento de Albay. With the American occupation in 1900, the city was dissolved. Upon restoration of peace, the three towns were re-established and in 1908 became the Municipality of Albay, the provincial capital. In 1922, the town of Daraga was separated from the capital, realizing the merger was doing more harm than good to their interests. Legazpi became a city for the second time on July 18, 1948 when Daraga and Legazpi were combined again to constitute its territory, under Republic Act No. 306. With the re-creation of the two municipalities, the city was dissolved in June 8, 1954. Finally, on June 12, 1959, Legazpi became a city once more under Republic Act No. 2234. This was later amended by Republic Act No. 5525.
On February 27, 1973, the City of Legazpi was declared under Presidential Decree No. 125, to comprise its present territorial jurisdiction and the adjacent Municipality of Daraga. With the onset of the Integrated Reorganization Plan however, the decree was permanently mothballed. This plan also made the city as the regional administrative center of the Bicol Region (Presidential Decree No. 1).
Year Significant Events
1587 Franciscan Friars began conversion of Sawangan to Christianity. 1616 Franciscan Friars transferred the settlement into a separate "pueblo" called "Albay". The first Parish Priest built a small chapel and established the "Mision de San Gregorio Magno de Sawangan". Feb. 1, 1814 Eruption of Mayon Volcano destroyed half of the village. The people evacuated to Macalaya (now Barangay Taysan). 1818 Sawangan then known as the town of Albay was separated from Cagsawa and made the capital of "Partido de Ibalon" (the old name of Albay Province). Oct. 1, 1829 The "Govierno Superior" issued a decree prohibiting the founding of another town. The people formally settled in Taytay (now Bagumbayan), Albay district. 1834 St. Raphael de Archangel Church in Legazpi Port District was built through the generosity of Pedro Romero. Sept. 22, 1856 The name "Legazpi" was given the ancient village of Sawangan by Royal Decree. Oct. 23, 1856 Inaugurated Legazpi as independent town constituting the visitas of Lamba, Rawis, Bigaa. May 18, 1872 Legazpi was opened to world trade by Royal Cedula. 1892 Legazpi first became a city under the Becerra Law, constituting the municipalities of Legazpi (Legazpi Port), Albay Nuevo (Albay District), and Daraga into "Ayuntamiento de Albay". 1898 First set of officials took office. 1900 American occupation dissolved the AYUNTAMIENTO. 1908 Legazpi Port together with Albay District and Daraga became one "Municipality of Albay", the Provincial Capital. July 12, 1912 Academia de Sta. Ines (St. Agnes Academy) was founded by the Missionary Benedictine Sisters. 1922 The town of Daraga was separated from the Capital. July 18, 1948 Legazpi became a city for the second time. Daraga and Legazpi were recombined to constitute its territory under Republic Act No. 306. June 8, 1954 The city was dissolved for the third time with the re-creation of Legazpi and Daraga into municipalities. June 12, 1959 Legazpi became a city for the third time with a new charter under Republic Act No. 2234. Feb. 05, 1973 PD No. 125 issued by then Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos, declared Legazpi City anew to include the Municipality of Daraga. Under the decree Legazpi is to be divided into 3 districts: Daraga, Albay district and Legazpi Port District. PD 125 is held in abeyance with full implementation of the integrated Reorganization Plan which also involves restructuring of local governments. PD No. 1 - Legazpi City declared as Regional Administrative Center for the Bicol Region. Aug. 10, 1988 Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Department Order No. 81 created the Task Force on Bicol Regional Industrial Center. Important Dates January 23 - Battle of Legazpi
September 2-3 - Albay district fiesta (St. Gregory, the Great)
October 23-24 - Legazpi Port District Fiesta (St. Raphael, Archangel)