CITY OF LEGAZPI
DURING THE PRE-SPANISH PERIOD
Early in the 13th century, Datu Balensusa and Dumagsil, two of the ten Bornean Datus led by Datu Puti, went from Panay to Laguna and the Bicol Region. Prehistoric dwellers mostly fishermen and farmers established a barangay on the mouth of Makabulo River called Sawangan (now Legazpi Port) , a small settlement by a mangrove swamp,Its inhabitants were headed by old chieftain, Gat Ibal,a descendant of Datu Dumagsil. The home grown name,Sawangan was another way to say Sabang indicating a” natural wharf created by the water from the sea”. Dwelling in tiny groups of huts which are made from rattan and nipa, small houses occupied this part of swampy and low land and its surrounding areas were known as Ibalon.
DURING THE SPANISH PERIOD
In 1573,under the Spanish expeditionary forces,Capitan Juan de Salcedo (Capitan Esteban de Manchaca) and 120 soldiers reached and explored barangay Sawangan. The natives gallantly fought the invaders but were no match for the conquistadores’ superior arms. Subsequently, the natives were converted to Catholism. In 1587,Franciscan friars of the Doctrina of Cagsawa began to convert the settlement to Christianity. Fr. Francisco de Sta. Ana,it’s first parish priest built the first chapel made of nipa and bamboo to house and established the first Franciscan mission in Sawangan, the “Mission de San Gregorio de Sawangan. In 1605, Sawañgan was elevated to Visita Regular, having been previously under the spiritual ministry of Cagsaua since 1578. In 1616,Sawangan become an independent town separated from Cagsawa called Albaybay (meaning “by the bay”) finally shortened as Albay. It was declared the capital of the province of Partido de Ibalon (old name of the Province of Albay). The town was renamed Albay, then Legazpi, as Albay went on to refer to the province at present.
Perennially rocked by minor eruptions of the Mayon Volcano for two centuries, compounded by sporadic attacks...
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