Legazpi is the center of socio-economics in the province of Albay and it is the one with the biggest population. Legazpi has the advantage of having a geographical core and it is no surprise that Legazpi festivals are held here. Most of the Legazpi festivals are held in honor of their patron saint or as a tribute to its rich cultural heritage.
Strictly speaking the Magayon Festival is celebrated by the entire province but it is held primarily in Legazpi City. The word ‘magayon’ literally means ‘beautiful’ and this Legazpi festival has been rightly described by its very name. The Magayon Festival is not something that has been celebrated for a very long time, in fact it was first celebrated in 1998 as part of the governor’s effort to increase tourism in Albay. The province of Albay is primarily Catholic and during the Magayon Festival, Catholic traditions are primarily what are showcased.
Aside from the religious aspect of the Magayon Festival, this event is also ingested with Bicolano culture. There is a cooking competition held during this Legazpi festival that draws contestants from the entire region and the theme of this contest is local delicacies. For those who are not aware, most Bicolano dishes are prepared with chili and coconut milk. Among the other events held during the Magayon Festival are marathons and an eco-camp that focuses on increasing awareness of the need to protect Bicol’s environment.
Held every October for 6 whole days, the Ibalong Festival celebrates the myths of Legazpi before the Spanish colonizers arrived. Apart from the myths, this Legazpi festival also showcases how resilient the inhabitants of this region are. The main event of the Ibalong Festival is the choreographed dances in the street prepared by high school students. There are other merry making activities during this Legazpi festival including street parties, drag races, concerts and the night always ends with a magnificent fireworks display. For those who like shopping, during the Ibalong Festival, the flea markets here also take center stage and here handicrafts can be bought as well as other items such as clothing and accessories. During the Ibalong Festival, the culture of the Bicolanos come shining through and the liveliness of the event is something that most visitors can’t resist. This Legazpi festival takes place in Albay with the Mayon Volcano and its perfect cone as the background. The Ibalong Festival allows the locals to remember times long gone and the tourists to learn the heritage of this region.
Summary: The Bicolanos have a rich heritage and they are considered as one of the most resilient. Every year, there are Legazpi festivals that are much awaited and these are the Ibalong Festival and the Magayon Festival. During these Legaspi festivals, everyone takes a step back in time to significant historical events and a lot of merry making happens to celebrate what the city has become over the centuries.