ORIGIN OF NAME “LEGAZPI”
Historically, the place was named Legazpi, to perpetuate to the memory of Adelando Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. This was the agreement made between the original inhabitants of the place and the Spaniards during the former’s quest for autonomy. It took them 21 years, in which they sought the help and support of the Spaniards, then living in the town. As a sign of gratitude the people readily accepted the name, which was also then proposed by the Spaniards upon fulfillment of their efforts.
On September 22, 1856, through a Royal Decree, the name of Legazpi was officially adopted to include the visitas of Lamba, Rawis and Bigaa, and declaring it an independent town. It was formally inaugurated on October 23, 1856 which Lorenzo Hac as the first elective Governadorcillo and Rev. Camilio Abaiza as acting priest.
It began as a barangay called Sawangan (now Legazpi Port) whose inhabitants were mostly fishermen and farmers. In 1587, Franciscan friars of the Doctrina of Cagsawa began to convert the settlement to Christianity and in 1616 they transformed it into a separate town and parish called Albay. Its first parish built as small chapel and established the “Mission de San Gregorio Magno de Sawangan.”
The progress of two centuries was razed to the ground in the eruption of Mayon Volcano on February 1, 1884. The people were evacuated to makalaya (now Taysan) and on the decree of the Gobierno Superior on October 1, 1829, prohibiting the founding of another town, they finally settled in Tagaytay (Bagumbayan). In 1818, Sawangan, then already known as the town of Albay, was separated from Cagsawa and was made the capital of Partido de Ibalon (the old name of Albay Province).
Some of the people, however, remained in the old town and began anew as a barrio. In lieu of their former patron saint, St. Gregory the Great, which has been transferred to Albay, they adopted St. Rafael the Archangel and transformed the ermita into a church. They finally regained their old status but never changed the name as Albay Viejo or Banwang Daan. Even after their autonomy in 1856, they called it “Binanuahan,” meaning the former site of town.
LEGAL BASIS OF EXISTENCE
Now autonomous and with a past progress and prosperity, Legazpi was declared a Royal Cedula in May 18, 1872, open to world trade. Legazpi first became a city under the Becerra Law of 189, which constituted the municipalities of Legazpi, Albay Nuevo and Daraga into the Ayutamiento de Albay. With the American occupation in 1890, the city was dissolved. Upon restoration of peace, the three towns were re-established and in 1908 became the Municipality of Albay, the provincial capital. In 1922, the town of Daraga was separated from the capital, realizing the merger was doing more harm than Good to their interest. Legazpi became a city for the second time on July 18, 1948 when Daraga and Legazpi were combined again to constitute its territory, under Republic Act No. 306. With the recreation of the two municipalities, the city was dissolved in June 8, 1954. Finally, on June 12, 1959, Legazpi became a city once more under Republic Act No. 2234. This was later amended by Republic Act. No. 5525. Presidential Decree 125 issued on February 23, 1973 declared the town Daraga as part of the territorial jurisdiction of the city. This decree, however, was not implemented with the onset of the Integrated Reorganization Plan, involved the restructuring of local governments.
The City Government of Legazpi shall promote economic growth and sustainable development and provide effective delivery of basic services under a climate of social justice with the active participation of all sectors of the community.
By the year 2002 and beyond, the City of Legazpi shall stand as the model of a progressive community where governance draws strength from an active and empowered citizenry and where development is tempered by an unwavering commitment to democracy, social justice, balanced ecology and the welfare of the future generation.
We, the City Government Officials and Employees, in the spirit of genuine public service, commit and pledge to provide Best of Class Service to the public founded on the ideals and principles of Good Governance.