The date is a national holiday as the charter day observance is simultaneous with the Philippines’ Independence Day.
History of Legazpi City
Legazpi City is the capital of the province of Albay. It is also known as the City of Fun and Adventure. Situated south of Mayon Volcano, it forms part of southern Luzon whose eastern seaboard faces the Pacific Ocean.
The natives in the long past engaged in fishing and farming, and they were the first settlers of its lands. They occupied the coastal area known as Sawangan, which is roughly where the present Legazpi Port is located.
Christianization came through Franciscan missionaries. A church was built in Sawangan as a visita of Cagsawa Church (see Cagsawa Festival) in 1587.
A house of worship made of wood was erected by Fr. Francisco de Sta. Ana, OFM and dedicated to St. Gregory the Great. Known as Misión de San Gregorio Magno de Sawangan, it became a parish in 1616.
Sawangan prospered amidst volcanic earthquakes, devastating typhoons, and other disasters. Its natural features were suitable for harbor, and it hosted ships plying the Manila-Alcapulco galleon trade route.
However, the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Mayon on February 1, 1814 reshaped the contours of Albay. The calamity caused grievous loss of lives and buried many towns. Fr. Pedro Licup, OFM led the people to evacuate to safe terrain of Macalaya (present-day Taysan).
As they were unaccustomed to living in the uplands, a number of the evacuees moved to Taytay (present-day Bagumbayan) and others returned to Sawangan to establish Binanwahan (a name that means Old Place), violating an official colonial policy that restricted the organization of new townships issued on October 1, 1829.
Over time, Taytay flourished and Binanwahan became its visita. The two were combined to become Albay Nuevo, but folks of Binanwahan objected to the annexation.
On July 17, 1856, Governor General Ramon Montero issued a decree that created the visita of Pueblo Viejo by combining Binanwahan, Lamba, Rawis, and Bigaa.
On October 22 of that same year, he issued another decree and renamed the town into Legazpi in honor of Spanish colonizer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.
By virtue of Becerra Law of 1892, Legazpi became a city for the firs time in its history. Its territory included the towns of Albay Nuevo and Daraga that was collectively called Ayutamiento de Albay.
During the Philippine Revolution, the Spanish colonial officials were evacuated on September 22, 1898. In the vacuum of political leadership, a junta was created ruled by Anacieto Solano and later by General Vicente Lukban.
During the American occupation, Filipino resistance was defeated by the American occupying forces in the battle of San Rafael Bridge on January 23, 1900.
In the ensuing reorganization of geopolitical divisions of provinces in the entire archipelago, Legazpi was re-instituted as towns along with Albay and Daraga in the succeeding years but were fused in 1908 to become Municipio de Albay. In 1922, Daraga however seceded.
After World War II, Republic Act No. 306 was passed on June 18, 1948. The law declared Legazpi as a city that also annexed Daraga as a district.
Opposition to the law was such that Republic Act No. 993 came into effect on June 8, 1954. The new law repealed RA 306 and reverted the status of Legazpi and Daraga back into towns.
Then on June 12, 1959, Republic Act No. 2234, otherwise known as An Act Creating the City of Legazpi, was promulgated that converted Legazpi to a city. This is the date that the yearly Charter Day commemorates.
The law was amended with the passage of Republic Act No. 5525 on June 21, 1969.
How to reach Legazpi City, Albay
Legazpi City can be reached via Bicol International Airport in Daraga and buses from Metro Manila.
- Republic Act No. 2234. Supreme Court of the Philippines E-Library. Retrieved September 11, 2023
- History of Legazpi City. City Government of Legazpi. Retrieved September 11, 2023
- Legaspi. Britannica. Retrieved September 11, 2023
- Katedral ng Albay. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. October 2019. Retrieved September 11, 2023
- About Legazpi. Wow Legazpi. Retrieved September 11, 2023
- Saint Gregory the Great Cathedral. Digital Tourism. Retrieved September 11, 2023
- Legazpi City. Visit My Philippines. Retrieved September 11, 2023
- Republic Act No. 306. Supreme Court of the Philippines E-Library. Retrieved September 11, 2023
- Republic Act No. 5525. Supreme Court of the Philippines E-Library. Retrieved September 11, 2023