Long before the Spaniards arrived, Albay had a thriving civilization. This was evident in the archeological finds dating to the middle Pleistocene age between 200,000 to 300,000 years ago. During those times, Albay was called Ibat ruled by Gat Ibal, a very old chief.
In July 1569, Luis Enriquez de G uzman, a member of the expedition led by Maestro de Cam-po Mateo de Saz and Captain Martin de Goiti, led a group who crossed from Burias and Ticao islands and landed on a coastal settlement called Ibalon in what is presently the province of Sorsogon. From this point another expedition was sent to explore the interior and founded the town of Camalig.
In 1573, Juan de Salcedo penetrated the Bikol peninsula from the north as far south as Libon and established the settlement of Santiago de Libon. Jose Maria Penafrancia, a military engineer, was made "coregidor" of the province on May 14, 1834. He constructed public buildings and built roads and bridges.
The entire Bikol peninsula was organized as one province with two divisions, Camarines in the northwest, and Ibalon in the southeast. In 1636, the two partidos were separated, and Ibalon became a separate province with Sorsogon as capital. In the 17th century the Moro slave raiders ravaged the coastal areas of the province of Albay on the northeastern coast.
Mayon Volcano, in one of the most violent eruptions, destroyed five towns surrounding its base in 1814. This eruption forced the town of Cagsawa to relocate its present site to Legazpi.
A decree was issued by Governor and Captain General Narciso de Claveria in 1846 separating Masbate, Ticao and Burias from Albay to form the comandancia of Masbate. Albay was then divided into four districts: Iraya, Cordillera or Tabaco, Sorsogon and Catanduanes.
Glicerio Delgado, a condemned "insurecto" started the revolutionary activities in the province. With headquarters in the mountain of Guinobatan, he joined the revolutionary government of Albay as lieutenant of the infantry.
A unit of the Philippine Militia was then organized by the Spanish military authorities. Mariano Riosa was appointed major of the Tabaco Zone which comprised all the towns along the seacoast from Albay to Tiwi, while Anacieto Solano was also appointed as major for the Iraya Zone which was made up of the towns from Daraga to Libon. Each town was organized into sections of fifty men under the command of a lieutenant.
On September 22, 1898, the provisional revolutionary government of Albay was formed with Anacieto Solano as provisional president. Major General Vito Belarmino, appointed military commander, reorganized the Filipinos Army in the province.
During the Filipno-American War, Brigadier General William Kobbe headed the expedition that landed on the ports of Sorsogon, Bulan and Donsol. From there, the American marched to Legazpi and captured the place.
Although, a civil government was established in Albay on April 26, 1901, Colonel Harry H. Bandhortz, Commanding Officer of the Constabulary in the Bikol Region, attested that Simeon Ola, with a thousand of men, continued to defy American authority after the capture of Belarmino in 1901. Ola was later captured with about six hundred men.
During the Second World War, the Kimura Detachment of the Japanese Imeprial Forces occupied Legazpi on December 12, 1941. The region was defended only by the Philippine Constabulary unit under Major Francisco Sandico.
Albay is situated on the southern part of the island of Luzon. It lies 1240 east latitude and about 14.400 north altitude. On the eastern plank, Albay is rimmed by chains of little islands and is exposed to the Pacific Ocean. The long indented coast on its western part dominates the narrow but no less turbulent Burias Pass. To the north lies the province of Camarines Sur and Lagonoy Gulf, while to the south is the province of Sorsogon.
The mountains of the province are Mayon, Masaraga, and Malinao in the northeast and Catburaun in the west. Its forests are a source of timber, rattan, pili nuts, and gum elemi. There are also vast grasslands for pasturing horses, cattle, carabaos, goats, and sheep.
Albay is composed of three cities (Legazpi, Tabaco, Ligao) and 15 municipalities grouped into three congressional districts. Legazpi has been officially designated as administrative center and site of the regional offices
The climate in Albay is generally mild with no specific extreme seasons. The frequency of the tropical storms in the entire region is between 16 to 19 percent, while in the eastern part it is 19 percent.
Generally, the Bikol dialect spoken in Legazpi City and Albay District is the common tongue used. The alteration in tones and in words arise as one travels away from the city proper. Tagalog is fluently spoken language and English is not a difficult medium to communicate with liberal stature.
Relish Bikolandia"™s mouth-watering indigenous cuisine namely: Bikol Express (spicy pork and shrimp concoction), Cocido (fish soup), Balaw (small shrimps), Natong, Candingga and Pinangat. These are made more flavorful by the Bikolanos penchant for spice (sili). The strong taste, however, is neutralized by the sweetness of pili, a nut that is made into various confections. Other tasty delicacies are lunga (sesame seeds) and puto ( rice cake) and panocha ( sugar cake).
The province has continued to direct its efforts toward the development of its industries. Of the total 6,369 manufacturing establishments in the Bikol Region, half are located in Albay. 48.6% of the large scale lot are operating in Albay.
Agriculture, however, still accounts for the largest share in the total production and employment. Coconut, rice, abaca, and corn are the major crops.
Handicrafts are the main source of rural income. Albay is a major supplier of geothermal energy to the Luzon Grid with its Tiwi Geothermal Plant in Tiwi.
The province is also famous for its variety of beautiful and exquisite orchids that can be bought practically everywhere but more specifically in Cagsawa Park and in downtown Legazpi.
By air, Legazpi City is 45 minutes away from Manila via the nation"™s flag carrier, Philippine Airlines.
By land, aircon tourist bus companies ply the Manila-Legazpi route daily with an average travel time of nine hours. The average travel time by train is sixteen hours via the Philippine National Railway, the country"™s sole rail transport service.
Several shipping lines have regular trips to and from Catanduanes through the Tabaco Port. Travel time from Visayas and Mindanao pass through the port of Matnog in Sorsogon.
Buses and jeepneys are generally the modes of transportation in getting around Albay"™s destinations. Pedicabs and tricycles are also available for short distance travels. Taxis and rent-a-car services are also available.
Albay has modern and efficient services such as domestic and international dialing, telephone/cellphone facilities, facsimile, worldwide express delivery services, postal services, telegram system, media communication, internet service providers and network system for e-mail and internet services.