What the Albay Province has to offer
The Province of Albay is situated between Sorsogon and Camarines Sur. Mayon Volcano famous as the most perfect cone is the major tourist attraction in the Bicol region. Aside from this, the province also offers other natural attractions a well as cultural and historical events and man-made attractions.
Albay is approximately 540 kilometers southeast of Manila. The name Albay comes from a Bicol word which is “Magayon” means beautiful or pretty. This volcano has erupted over forty times already in the last two centuries.
The total land area is 2,552.6 square kilometers and it is the smallest province in the Philippines, is mostly situated in the heart of Bicol Peninsula and it has four islands that border in the east namely San Miguel, Cagraray, Batan and Rapu-Rapu. The Lagonoy Gulf borders Albay in the northeast.
Province is mostly composed of mountains although there are several scattered valleys and fertile plains, composed of fifteen municipalities and three cities. Its three cities are Tabaco, Ligao and Legazpi. The capital city of the province is Legazpi.
The province experiences a tropical rain forest climate. It experiences plenty of rainfall the whole year through. It has marked wet and dry season. Its driest month is March. The average temperature all through out the year is 80.6 degree Fahrenheit or 27 degree Celsius.
Base in August 2007 census, the population of 1,190,823 putting the province in the 20th rank under the most populous provinces in the country. The primary dialect spoken is Bicol. Other dialects spoken include Oasnon, Legazpeño, Viejo and others. Most of the locals understand English and Tagalog.
Major industry is agriculture with its major crops like abaca, sugar, rice and coconut. In rural areas, handicrafts are their major source of living. Another source of livelihood is paper making and forestry.
Manufacturing of Abaca products like slippers, mats, bags, hats and Manila hemp is just one of the major sources of income in the rural areas. For those living along the shore of Albay, Fishing is their source of income. Another boost of their economy is the tourism industry since its major attraction, Mayon Volcano draws income to the province.
Albay is indeed the top foreign currency earner in Luzon because of the presence of heavy manufacturing industries. To mention a few of big manufacturing industries present there – Goodfound Cement Factory in Camalig, isarog Pulp and Paper Company in Daraga, Bicol Hair and Legazpi Oil Company in Legazpi City.
The academic center in the Bicol region as well as in Albay is Legazpi City. It has two universities namely Bicol University and the Aquinas University of Legazpi. It is by far the biggest tertiary school in the Bicol Region and is among the biggest universities in the Philippines which are known for their engineering and accountancy graduates as well as its fisheries and agricultural research. Other schools operating in the province includes STI College, Bicol Christian College of Medicine, Computer Arts and Technological College and more.
Health facilities include several government and private hospitals like the Aquinas University Hospital, Ago Medical Center, Ibalong Medical Plaza, Albay Doctors Hospital, Estevez General Hospital, Tanchuling Hospital and the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital. There are total of forty-six hospitals and one hundred thirty-one Barangay Health Stations base on 1996 records.
Legazpi city has one domestic airport and has plans of turning it to International airport in the future. Its domestic airport is the region’s gateway to Manila. There are alos four seaports namely Pantao Regional Port, Pio Duran Provincial, Legazpi National and Tabaco International.
Supply of electric power in the province is provided by Albay Electric Cooperative or ALECO. All of the municipalities as well as cities are one hundred percent energized.
As for water, there are two water districts operating in the province that is the Daraga Water district from Daraga, Albay and Legazpi’s Water District from Legazpi city.
There are modern communication services like different internet service providers, international and domestic calls, Cell phone facilities, Postal services media communication, worldwide express delivery services, facsimile and telegram system.
The locals are traditional religious and you can see that in their practices whenever they come to church. This is one province in the Philippines were you can find several old churches like the church of Our Lady of the Gate which was built year 1773 by a Franciscan Missionaries in 1773. Other church in the province which is includes Saint John the Baptist Parish, Nuestra Señora de Salvacion and San Juan Bautista Church.
Discovering the culture of the people can be exciting. It would be best f you start off by visiting Magayon Art Gallery and Legazpi Museum which is found in Legazpi City. One should not miss the Philippine National Museum in Daraga, Albay.
Of course the history of the place is painted all over its town with its countless monuments and other historical landmarks in the province. It will be an opportunity to explore the wreck site of the Spanish Galleon in Sto. Domingo, Albay; the Liberty Bell, Legazpi Albay Gulf Landing and Headless Monument in Legazpi City.
The Province of Albay is known for its natural beauty especially with their famous Mayon Volcano in Daraga, Albay. This perfect cone volcano attracts plenty of tourists around the world.
You will also find magnificent caves and waterfalls which will surely gold you breathless. The caves in Camalig Albay which are the Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave and Calabidongan Cave. They also have waterfalls like the Vera Falls in Malinao and Busay Falls in Malilipot, Albay.
Celebrations of festivals in the Philippines are famous. In fact most visitors from other countries even want to witness one and participate. Albay has its own set of festivals and the most famous festival they celebrate which is being participated by the whole province is the Magayon Festival. It is a month long celebration which features concerts, street dance competition, beauty contests trade fair and the most awaited by all the fireworks display.
Another festival which they celebrate every second week of October is the Ibalong Festival in Legazpi City and the Sarung Banggi Festival every May 18-25.
Getting to Albay
There is air-conditioned bus en route from Manila to Legazpi everyday. Travel time from Manila to Legazpi is about nine hours. If you travel by train then it takes sixteen hours through the Philippine National Railway which is the country’s only rail transport service.
Legazpi City is just forty-five minutes flight from Manila through Philippine Airlines.
There are several shipping lines through the Tabaco Port. If you are from Visayas or Mindanao then you will pass through the port of Matnog in Sorsogon.
Modes of transportation within the city include jeepneys, bus, tricycles, Pedi cabs, taxis and even rent-a-car services.