The City of Legazpi (Bikol: Ciudad nin Legazpi; Filipino: Lungsod ng Legazpi) is a first class city and capital of the province of Albay, Philippines. With 157,010 inhabitants according to the 2000 census (194,580 as of 2007) it is the largest city in the Bicol Region in terms of population, though not in land area. It is also the political center and de facto capital of the Bicol Region.
Located in the geographical center of the peninsula and between the two island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate, Legazpi City is the southernmost terminus of the Philippine National Railways Main Line South. It also services sea-going vessels through its port. The city is the ecclesiastical seat of the Diocese of Legazpi, and most of its inhabitants are Roman Catholics.
Legazpi was named after Miguel López de Legazpi, the Spanish conquistador who conquered the Philippine islands in 1565, and whose family name came from Legazpi, a town in Guipuzcoa, Spain.
Legazpi was founded by the ancient settlers of the old barangay of Sawangan in the domain of Gat Ibal, a chief who ruled Albay. Spread in small groups of huts made of nipa and rattan, the small settlement occupied a conscription of low and swampy land known as Banuang-gurang or Binanuahan, which means old town or place in which a town was built. The indigenous name Sawangan was a corruption of Sabang, signifying natural wharf formed by the waters of the sea.
In 1942, the occupied by the Japanese troops landed in Legaspi city.
In 1945, the defenders of the Filipino soldiers and Bicolano guerillas attacked by the Japanese imperial forces Liberated in Legaspi city with the landed of the American liberation forces during the Second World War.
The Ibalong Festival is among the renowned non-religious festivals in Bicol. It began in the early 1990s and is held every October to coincide with Legazpi Port District fiesta. Legazpi is also home to the annual Magayon Festival of Albay which is held throughout the month of May.
Legazpi City is one of the Bicol Region's top tourist destinations thanks to its close proximity to Mayon Volcano, one of the Philippines' most famous volcanoes, and Donsol, Sorsogon, the site of one of the world's largest annual migration of whale sharks. It is also a convenient jump-off point to other tourist destinations in the region such as the Cagsawa Ruins, the upscale resort of Misibis and the white sand beaches of Sorsogon and Catanduanes. The city is served by Legazpi Airport which accommodates Airbus A320, Boeing 737-400, and Boeing 727 and has the Mayon Volcano as its scenic backdrop.
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