The City of Legazpi (Bikol: Ciudad nin Legazpi; Filipino: Lungsod ng Legazpi) is a first class city and capital of the province of Albay, Philippines. With 157,010 inhabitants according to the 2000 census (194,580 as of 2007) it is the largest city in the Bicol Region in terms of population, though not in land area. It is also the regional center of the Bicol Region.
Located in the geographical center of the peninsula and between the two island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate, Legazpi City is the southernmost terminus of the Philippine National Railways Main Line South, though it will be extended up to Matnog in Sorsogon. It also services sea-going vessels through its port.
The city is the ecclesiastical seat of the Diocese of Legazpi, and most of its inhabitants are Roman Catholics.
Legazpi was named after Miguel López de Legazpi, the Spanish conquistador who conquered the Philippine islands in 1565, and whose family name came from Legazpi, a town in Guipuzcoa, Spain.
Legazpi was founded by the ancient settlers of the old barangay of Sawangan in the domain of Gat Ibal, a chief who ruled Albay. Spread in small groups of huts made of nipa and rattan, the small settlement occupied a conscription of low and swampy land known as Banuang-gurang or Binanuahan, which means old town or place in which a town was built. The indigenous name Sawangan was a corruption of Sabang, signifying natural wharf formed by the waters of the sea.
In 1942, Japanese troops landed and occupied Legaspi city.
In 1945, American and Filipino liberation forces supported by Bicolano guerrillas liberated Legaspi city from Japanese Imperial forces during the Second World War.
The Ibalong Festival is among the renowned non-religious festivals in Bicol. It began in the early 1990s and is held every October to coincide with Legazpi Port District fiesta. Legazpi is also home to the annual Magayon Festival of Albay which is held throughout the month of May.
TourismLegazpi is one of the Bicol Region's top tourist destinations thanks to its close proximity to Mayon Volcano, one of the Philippines' most famous volcanoes, and Donsol, Sorsogon, the site of one of the world's largest annual migration of whale sharks. It is also a convenient jump-off point to other tourist destinations in the region such as the Cagsawa Ruins, the upscale resort of Misibis and the white sand beaches of Sorsogon and Catanduanes. The city is served by Legazpi Airport which accommodates Airbus A320, Boeing 737-400, and Boeing 727 and has the Mayon Volcano as its scenic backdrop.
Other places to go to and sights to visit include:
- The Albay Park and Wildlife - This is a picnic grove and a park combined. It also serves as the home to 347 animals of 75 species.
- Liberty Bell - Installed in 1945 by the American liberation forces. It is made from bronze.
- Japanese Tunnel - Used as an arsenal during the second World War, it measures 40 meters long and around 7 feet deep.
- Magayon Art Gallery - Found at the lobby of the Albay Provincial Capitol and serves as the avenue for artists to show off their visual creations
- Legazpi City Museum - Showcases the heritage and culture of the city. It is currently the only public museum in the Bicol Region.
- Bicol Heritage Park - Located inside the Camp General Simeon Ola Headquarters. This is where you can find the statue of General Simeon A. Ola.
- Lignon Hill (also spelled as Liñon Hill) - Located behind Albay Park and Wildlife. PHIVOLCS is situated into this hill.
- Kapuntukan Hill (also known as the Sleeping Lion Hill) – This is the place to visit if you wish to have a view of the Legazpi Port District .
- regional government offices in Rawis - DepEd (Department of Education), DOT (Department of Tourism), RTC (Regional Trial Court), DAR (Department of Agrarian and Reform), DOST (Department of Science and Technology), and LTO (Land Transportation Office).
Legazpi Airport, with a runway of 2,280 meters, is capable of handling international aircraft. Both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly once daily from Manila. Cebu Pacific uses Airbus A319 and A320, while PAL uses AB319.
Plans have been approved for the construction of a new international airport to be located on a plateau in barangay Alobo in neighboring Daraga town. It is hoped that the proposed airport, named Southern Luzon International Airport, will boost tourism in the Bicol Region. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has affirmed her commitment to fast-track the airport's construction in her State-of-the-Nation-Address in 2007.
Legazpi can be reached through land transport (by bus) from Manila in about 11 to 13 hours, three hours less if the new Andaya Highway route is taken. More than 10 bus companies operate daily transport to and from Manila to Legazpi which makes the city very accessible to commuters and tourists alike.
The Philippine National Railways has not resumed operations after being damaged by Typhoon Reming last November 2006 and has yet to be rehabilitated.
In 2006, Legazpi City was recognized as one of the most competitive cities in the Philippines by the Asian Institute of Management. Also, it was recently cited as the most business-friendly city for the whole South Luzon by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). To further boost the development of its economy, the city is focusing its efforts for the development of the Bicol Regional Agro Industrial Center (BRAIC) and a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
The construction of Legazpi City International Airport is just right in time for the transformation of Legazpi City into a world-class city with an expected influx of investments and tourism-related developments such as the now on full-swing development "Embarcadero", Misibis Resorts, Estates & Spa, windmills and mini-hydroelectric plants and the Cagraray Waterworld Park in the Sula Channel.
Currently the largest mall in Bicol, Pacific Mall Legazpi serves as the centerpiece of Landco Business Park Legazpi. Recently, Pacific Mall has expanded its floor area to accommodate more tenants. Headquartered in nearby Tabaco City, and with its LCC Central Mall in Naga City, Liberty Commercial Center (LCC) Legazpi remains the city's original mall. Modernistic Bichara Silverscreen and Entertainment Center is a multi-story haven of shops, bistros, and cinemas.
The city hall and several provincial offices are located in what promises to be another progressive new downtown area known as Albay District (also Old Albay or simply Albay as this place was originally the capital town of Albay Province before it was merged with Legazpi) which has bistros that remain open till late at night. Some shops also are also open 24/7. Legazpi has its share of popular fast-food restaurants such as Jollibee, McDonald's, Max's, Shakey's, Chowking restaurants, and Greenwich. In 2008, a Marina-inspired project dubbed as "Embarcadero" is scheduled to open in the Legazpi Port Area. It will be a 24-hour IT and Commercial Complex that is truly world-class and first of its kind in the Bicol Region.
Legazpi City is connected nationwide and to the rest of the world through up-to-date communication facilities. It has two cable TV operators, DCTV (Digital Cable Television) and ESTV, and cellular and landline phone operators, Digitel/Sun Cellular, Globe Telecom, Smart/PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telecommunication); and local MATELCO (Mayon Telephone Company), offering mobilephone, fax, data, and DSL Internet services.
A number of AM, FM, and TV stations including Manila Broadcasting Company's 99.5 LOVE RADIO, GMA (TV 12 and Campus Radio), ABC through its affiliate station TV 6 (ABC/PBN), and ABS-CBN TV 4 and M.O.R. FM broadcast local, national, and international news and shows. GMA TV 12 (10 kW), ABS-CBN TV 4 (10 kW), and MOR FM (5 kW) set up their transmission towers on top of Mt. Bariw, virtually expanding their broadcast reach not only provincewide, but into Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Masbate, and as far as Northern Samar.
Legazpi City has two air-conditioned arenas, the Albay Astrodome and the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation. These arenas served as venues of PBA games in the past. Apart from these, other sports stadium is present at the city which are owned by private schools and universities namely in Aquinas University, Divine WOrd College of Legazpi & St. Agnes Academy.
US Auto Parts, one of the largest online retailers of automotive aftermarket parts and accessories in the U.S., has established its development arm, MBS Tek Corporation, in the city. MBS Tek provides back office support including software development, content development, Internet marketing, research and customer care services. New York-based Innodata tapped the city's young population and put up a data conversion center that operates three shifts.
The city also boasts of a modern eye center, Legaspi Eye Center (LEC) which serves as a referral center for ophthalmologic care. The center has board certified ophthalmologists with subspecialty training in various fields. LEC is reportedly comparable to major eye centers in Metro Manila in terms of services, expertise, and equipment.
Legazpi has around 40 bank branches that offer products and services such as deposits, loans, and automated teller machines (ATM).
Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda of Albay recently announced plans to develop the highland plateau of Legazpi City, Daraga, Camalig and Guinobatan as a relocation site for residents made homeless by Typhoon Reming and as a new investment area. There is also an ongoing road project that will connect Legazpi to Donsol, Sorsogon, where the whale sharks, locally known as "butanding" are tourist attractions. The said route would take shorter travel time than the current one.
Legazpi has hosted important events in the past such as Miss Asia-Pacific pageant in 2001. In 2002, it hosted an international convention of the Free Masons. In 2003, about 4,000 members of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) conducted their 57th annual national convention in the city.
Legazpi is the academic center of the province of Albay. The city has two universities: Catholic institution such as Aquinas University of Legazpi (AUL) --- sister school of University of Santo Tomas in Manila, and the state-run Bicol University (BU), one of the country's biggest universities that is acknowledged as an engineering powerhouse and also renowned for its agricultural and fisheries research.
Two other large colleges, Divine Word College and Bicol College are based in the city. Manila-based institutions are set to establish branches: AMA Computer University is under construction on Rizal Street, while an STI College is nearby. The AMEC-Bicol Christian College of Medicine in Albay District is the first school of medicine in the Bicol Region. Singapore-based Informatics is located at the second floor of GTS Building, Rizal Street. St Agnes Academy, founded in 1912, is a sister school of Manila's St. Scholastica's College.
Legazpi City is politically subdivided into 70 barangays.
- Bagong Abre
- EM's Barrio
- Maoyod Pob.
- Ilawod West
- Ilawod East
- Kawit-East Washington Drive
- Rizal Sreet., Ilawod
- EM's Barrio South
- Cabagñan West
- Binanuahan West
- Binanuahan East
- Imperial Court Subd
- Cabagñan East
- Victory Village South
- Victory Village North
- EM's Barrio East
- PNR-Peñaranda St.-Iraya
- Oro Site-Magallanes St.
- Sagpon Pob.
- Sagmin Pob.
- Bañadero Pob.
- San Francisco
- San Joaquin
- San Roque
- Rizal Street
' Academy (Academia de Sta. Inés)
- Legazpi City Tourism Council
- Bicol University High School Batch 2007
- Misibis Resorts, Estates & Spa
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- 2000 Philippine Census Information
- Pictures of Legazpi City
- Tourist Information Website
- Bicol University
- Aquinas University
- Divine Word College
legaspi in Central Bicolano: Legazpi (ciudad)
legaspi in German: Legazpi City
legaspi in Spanish: Legazpi (Filipinas)
legaspi in French: Legazpi (Philippines)
legaspi in Iloko: Ciudad ti Legazpi
legaspi in Indonesian: Legazpi City
legaspi in Pampanga: Legazpi Lakanbalen
legaspi in Dutch: Legazpi City
legaspi in Japanese: レガスピ
legaspi in Norwegian: Legazpi City
legaspi in Polish: Legazpi
legaspi in Swedish: Legazpi City
legaspi in Tagalog: Lungsod ng Legazpi
legaspi in Waray (Philippines): Syudad han Legazpi