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Asia Gotoarrow.png Philippines Genealogy Gotoarrow.png Albay Province

Guide to Albay Province, Philippines ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Albay Province, Philippines

Location: 13° 14'N 123° 38′E
Country: Philippines Genealogy
Province: Albay
Country Region: Bicol (Region V)
Founded Year: 1636
Capital: Legazpi
Time Zone: PHT (UTC+8)
Zip Code: 4500-4517
Dialing Code:
ISO 3166 Code: PH-ALB
Spoken Languages: Bikol, Albayano, Tagalog

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Pre-Hispanic period

Long before the Spaniards arrived, Albay had a thriving civilization. Formerly called Ibat, and then Libog, Albay was once ruled by Gat Ibal, an old chief who also founded the old barangay of Sawangan, now the district of Albay and part of the city of Legazpi.

Spanish colonial period

In July 1569, Luis Enriquez de Guzman, a member of the expedition led by Maestro de Campo Mateo de Saz and Captain Martin de Goiti, led a group which crossed from Burias and Ticao islands and landed on a coastal settlement called Ibalon in what is presently the province of Sorsogon. From this point another expedition was sent to explore the interior and founded the town of Camalig.

In 1573, Juan de Salcedo penetrated the Bicol Peninsula from the north as far south as Libon, establishing the settlement of Santiago de Libon. Jose Maria Peñaranda, a military engineer, was made “corregidor” of the province on May 14, 1834. He constructed public buildings and built roads and bridges.

The entire Bicol Peninsula was organized as one province with two divisions, Camarines in the northwest and Ibalon in the southeast. In 1636, the two partidos were separated, and Ibalon became a separate province with Sorsogon as capital. In the 17th century, Moro slave raiders from southern Philippines ravaged the northeastern coastal areas of the province of Albay.

Mayon Volcano, in one of its most violent eruptions, destroyed the five towns surrounding its base on February 1, 1814. This eruption forced the town of Cagsawa to relocate to its present site, Legazpi.

A decree was issued by Governor-General Narciso Claveria in 1846 separating Masbate, Ticao and Burias from Albay to form the comandancia of Masbate. Albay was then divided into four districts: Iraya, Cordillera or Tabaco, Sorsogon and Catanduanes.

Philippine revolution

Glicerio Delgado, a condemned insurecto (insurgent), started revolutionary activities in the province. With a headquarters in the mountain of Guinobatan town, he joined the revolutionary government of Albay as a lieutenant in the infantry.

A unit of the Philippine Militia was then organized by the Spanish military authorities. Mariano Riosa was appointed major of the Tabaco Zone, which comprised all the towns along the seacoast from Albay to Tiwi, while Anacieto Solano was appointed major for the Iraya Zone, which was made up of the towns from Daraga to Libon. Each town was organized into sections of fifty men under the command of a lieutenant.

During the Philippine Revolution on September 22, 1898, the provisional revolutionary government of Albay was formed with Anacieto Solano as provisional president. Major General Vito Belarmino, the appointed military commander, reorganized the Filipino Army in the province.

American colonial period

The sovereignty of the country was transferred to the United States after the Treaty of Paris (1898). During the Philippine-American War, Brigadier General William Kobbe headed the expedition that landed at the ports of Sorsogon, Bulan and Donsol. From there, the Americans marched to Legazpi and captured it.

Although a civil government was established in Albay on April 26, 1901, Colonel Harry H. Bandhortz, Commanding Officer of the Constabulary in the Bicol Region, said that General Simeon Ola, with a thousand men, continued to defy American authority after the capture of Belarmino in 1901. Ola was later captured with about six hundred of his men.

World War II

During the Second World War, the Kimura Detachment of the Japanese Imperial Forces occupied Legazpi on December 12, 1941. The region was defended only by the Philippine Constabulary unit under the command of Major Francisco Sandico.

During the Japanese Occupation, the military general headquarters of the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines remained active from 1942 to 1946, and the 5th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was established from 1944 to 1946 and stationed in Albay. Then came the clearing operations and anti-Japanese insurgency in Bicol Peninsula, helped by the local Bicolano resistance. Some Bicolano guerrilla groups invaded around the province of Albay during the Japanese Insurgencies between 1942 to 1944, and were supported by local Filipino troops under the Philippine Commonwealth Army and pre-war Philippine Constabulary 5th Infantry Regiments attacking the enemy soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army. In the aftermath of three years of siege and conflicts, many Bicolano guerrillas were forced to retreat by the Japanese around the province before liberation in 1945 by Allied forces.

In 1945, Filipino soldiers of the 5th, 51st, 52nd, 54th, 55th, 56th and 57th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and the 5th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary participated in the liberation, recaptured the province of Albay and helped Bicolano guerrilla fighters and American soldiers defeat the Kimura Detachment of the Japanese Imperial Forces. A major role in the resistance and liberation of Albay was played by Major Faustino Martinez Flor of the Philippine Army's Bicol Brigades unit. The Bicol Brigades were assisted by the U.S. Navy through Major Faustino Flor's eldest brother Julian Martinez Flor (1901–1990), who had joined the U.S. Navy in 1919 as a machinist in the Overhaul and Repair Dept. at the North Island Naval Air Station. Eventually Julian Flor became a Warrant Officer, and retired in 1935, returning to the Philippines. A few years later, when Japan invaded the Philippines, the U.S. Navy reinstated Julian Flor back into service to assist his younger brother Major Faustino M. Flor, and the Philippine Armies "Bicol Brigades." Their base of operations was the Sto. Domingo Church, where the Flor's maternal great-grandfather was buried in July 1873. The Flor brothers, especially Major Faustino, are still held in high regard by the people in Bicol, Albay. After the war ended, U.S. President Harry S. Truman and Naval Secretary James Forrestal personally awarded a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart to Julian Flor for his "heroic achievement for his planning, and execution of Guerrilla activities mainly in the Bicol Province, but also in Cavite, and Leyte Gulf. Julian Flor is credited for surviving and escaping a Japanese military camp, saving 4 downed American airmen, and stealing vital papers which revealed various strategic Japanese military plans."


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*Province, Philippines
*History|Albay Province, Philippines History
* Cemeteries|Albay Province Cemeteries
*Family History Library|Albay Province Family History Library
* Philppine Statistics|Albay Province Philppine Statistics
* Researching Filipino Ancestors|Researching Filipino Ancestors
* Vital Statistics|Vital Statistics