Albay Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: April 3, 2024

Albay Day in the Philippines Albay Day (Araw ng Albay) is a special non-working holiday in the Philippine province of Albay that commemorates its founding anniversary. It is celebrated annually on April 3.

The Province of Albay is located in the Bicol Region of the Philippines, on the Bicol Peninsula on the island of Luzon. The region had a thriving civilization long before the arrival of the first Europeans, who found densely populated settlements once they set foot in what is now Albay in the second half of the 16th century. One of these settlements was the fishing village of Sawangan, which is now part of the City of Legazpi.

The territory of Albay was explored by Luis Enríquez de Guzmán in 1569 and by Juan de Salcedo in 1573. On April 3, 1574, the region became an encomienda granted to Juan Gerro. An encomienda was an estate of land and the inhabiting indigenous people granted to a Spanish colonist by the crown. The receiver of the grant (encomendero) had the right to exact the tribute from the locals in labor, and the duty to protect the laborers. The day when the Bicol Peninsula became an encomienda is regarded as the founding anniversary of Albay.

The encomienda consisted of two divisions, Camarines and Ibalon; the latter included the present-day province of Albay. In 1636, Ibalon became a separate province with Sorsogon as its capital. In the 17th century, the northeastern coastal areas of the province were ravaged by Moro slave raiders, but it continued to develop in spite of the raids. The majority of the province’s population were indigenous settlers; by the late 18th century, there were only 146 Spanish Filipino families living there and more than 12,000 native families.

The catastrophic 1814 eruption of Mayon caused a major setback in the development of the province. It destroyed five towns surrounding the volcano and caused many residents to flee. The population returned to its pre-eruption numbers only in the 1850s, in no small part thanks to the efforts of governor Jose Maria Peñaranda who worked to restore the province during his tenure that lasted from 1834 to 1843.

In 1846, Governor-General Narciso Claveria separated the islands of Masbate, Ticao and Burias from Albay to form the province of Masbate. Sorsogon was separated from Albay and became an independent province in 1894. Following the defeat of the Philippines in the Philippine-American War, Albay fell under American administration. The Americans established its civil government in 1901 and formally re-established the province of Albay in 1917. In 1945, Catanduanes was split from Albay and became a separate province.

Today, Albay is one of six provinces in the Bicol Region, alongside Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Masbate. It includes fifteen municipalities and three cities: Legazpi, Ligao, and Tabaco. The provincial capital of Legazpi is also the center of the entire Bicol Region.

The founding anniversary of Albay was designated as a special non-working holiday in the province by President Rodrigo Duterte in October 2018, and the first celebration took place on April 3, 2019. Albay Day is marked by a wreath-laying ceremony and other celebratory events and activities.

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Albay Day in the Philippines, holidays in the Philippines, special non-working holidays, regional observances, founding anniversary