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About Bicol and its History



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The Bicol region is known for many things which make it a popular tourist destination - The Mayon Volcano, the world’s smallest and largest species of fish, its own unique way of cooking more popularly known as Bicol Express, the Pineapple festival and Peñafrancia Festival to name a few. There are also many beautiful natural sceneries around Bicol like mountains, volcanoes, lakes, hot springs, rivers, caves and waterfalls.

The present day Bicol Region, otherwise known as Region V in the Philippines, is located at the southeastern peninsula of Luzon. The Region has 6 provinces namely Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.

Brief History

Historically, the natives called the territory “Ibalon”, possibly after their chieftain-Datu Gat Abaal, who ruled the inhabited territories from his seat of power at Sawangan on the mouth of Makabalo River which is now the present day Legazpi City.

The sword and the cross of Spain reached Ibalon in 1570 when part of Legazpi Urdaneta expeditionary force headed by two Augustinian friars, Fr. Alonzo Jimenez and Fr. Juan Orca landed at the southwestern coast of the western peninsula. They named the southern part of the peninsula “Tierra de Ibalon” and the northern part , “Tierra de Camarines”. Tierra de Ibalon is also referred to as the first Christian settlement in the island of Luzon.


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