Albay celebrates 439th Foundation Day

April 4, 2013 1:15 am 

LEGAZPI CITY, April 3 -– The province of Albay is celebrating Wednesday its 439th Foundation Day with various activities from religious ones to those purely for merrymaking.

According to Albay Governor Joey Salceda, Albay was founded on April 3, 1574, based on a document read by the famous Bicolano historian, Dr. Danilo Madrid Gerona.

Salceda quoted Gerona as saying that there is a document in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain, which clearly states that on April 3, 1574, the Spanish Governor-General Guido de Lavezares assigned to a certain Juan Guerra many villages in this area as encomiendas or “entrusted villages.”

“The villages mentioned included Baybayo, Tuburan, Tondol, Libot, Cotmon, Mauraro, Cadsagua and Busay,” he said, adding that a few of these toponymes remained identifiable such as Baybayo (baybay, which evolved into Albay), Tuburan (a barrio in Ligao), Tondol, Cotmon (old barrios in Camalig), Mauraro (a barrio in Guinobatan), Cadsagua (Cagsaua), and so on.

Salceda quoted Gerona as saying, “As encomienda villages, they paved the way for the rise of municipalities which served as the structural base upon which the Spanish colonial regime in the province took root.”

This immensely valuable document provides the indisputable proof of Albay’s entrance into the Spanish imperial chart, the Albay governor said.

“While the document does not officially refer to the foundation of Albay, it nevertheless should be considered as an important date in Albay history… as the rightful date to celebrate Albay Day,” Salceda said, adding that he has a copy of the said document with him.

“And I could vouch for the authenticity of the said document in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain,” he claimed.

The Albay foundation day celebration started with a Misa de Gracia at the Albay Cathedral at 7 this morning followed by Desayuno.

A whole-day affair dubbed as OKB Gayong Bicol sa Daragang Magayon 2013 is being held at the Oriental Hotel here.

Starting 8 a.m., the Five Peaks in One Summer Climb Festival rolled off at Mt. Malinao.

A civic-military parade was held at 8:30 a.m. from LCC Mall in downtown area to the Peñaranda Park in Old Albay District.

At 10:30 a.m., the Programa para sa mga Artistang Albayano was held at the Peñaranda Park.

A Pantomina sa Kalye was scheduled to be done from the Oriental Hotel to Penranda Park at 5 p.m.

The anniversary ball called Zumba Pantomina will be held at 8 p.m. to 12 midnight at the Albay Astrodome

Explaining the importance of knowing that Albay was born in 1574, Salceda said, “I believe it is important because it is a milestone in our long and tortuous trek towards progress and the betterment of our lives.”

He said that 439 years ago, the province was nothing but patches of forest and swamps between the sea and the mountains.

“Our forefathers lived on tilling the land and fishing from the sea. The terrain was rugged, the weather was harsh and they were buffeted by waves and typhoons,” Salceda said.

He recalled that the province was colonized by foreign invaders.

“Today, we are no longer slaves. We are a free people. We are free to elect those who will govern us. Today, we are no longer in the darkness of ignorance. Our children are schooled and are professionals,” the Albay chief executive added.

He said, “Today, we are no longer imprisoned by the land and the waves, we are able to travel to the far corners of the world for opportunities and for pleasure. Today, we are able to tame the winds and the waves; we know how to adapt to climate change and mitigate disaster.”

Salceda noted that today, Albayanos no longer worry about their basic needs and are even able to sell their products and surpluses to the world markets.

“Today, tourists from all over the world come to our beautiful land to feel the warmth of our hospitality and of our cultural and natural resources,” he said, adding that Albay is now the most progressive province in the region and the best governed among all the provinces in the Philippines.

Albay was featured as the best tourist destination in the recently held world tourism exposition in Berlin.

“Nevertheless, our trek is not over. We continue our march towards progress. It is important to know where we came from and where we are now, so that we could chart our way ahead. But for today, let us pause for a while and celebrate our day—our Albay Day! Thank you," he told Albayanos. (PNA)

LAP/FGS/CBD/SSC

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