Legazpi is a city in the Philippines and the capital of the province of Albay. The city is also the regional center of the Bicol Region. It is sometimes given the monicker Queen City of Southern Luzon. It is a top tourist destination in Bicol as it lies 15 kilometers southeast of Mayon Volcano, the Philippines' most famous volcano. Legazpi was named after Miguel López de Legaspi, the Spanish explorer who came to the Philippine islands in the mid 1500s.
Positioned in the geographical center of the peninsula and the two island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate, it has the strategic advantages of a commercial, institutional, and transportation hub.
Legazpi Airport, with a runway of 2,280 meters (longer than Bacolod's and Iloilo's), is the region's gateway and trunkline airport. Philippine Airlines has a daily flight to/from Manila using Boeing 737-300s (higher capacity 737-400s are used during peak seasons). SEAir flies from/to Cebu Mondays and Fridays. Alternate sites for relocation of the airport and upgrading into international are Bariis (farther from ashfall) and Alobo (15 kilometers from Mayon's crater).
As a commercial hub, Legazpi is home to malls: the largest mall in Bicolandia is Pacific Mall/Gaisano Metro Legazpi Department Store and Supermarket, serving as the centerpiece of Landco Business Park. Prior to the opening of Landco Business Park, homegrown Liberty Commercial Center (LCC) Legazpi was the region's largest retailer. It has expanded to Naga City (LCC Central Mall). A. Bichara Silverscreen and Entertainment Center is a multi-story haven of shops, bistros, and cinemas. The seat of city and provincial offices and lately blooming into a new downtown, Albay District has bistros that remain open till late at night; some shops and restos are open 24/7. Legazpi has three Jollibee stores: two in Port District (LCC and Pacific Mall), and one drive-thru in Albay, beside Mercury Drug/GTS and in front of Quick and Hearty.
A magnet of students, the city hosts two universities: Catholic-run Aquinas University (AUL), and state-run Bicol University (BU), one of the country's biggest. Manila-based educational/training centers have put up shop: AMA Computer University is currently constructing its building along busy Rizal Street, and STI College is a stone-throw away. The first school of medicine in Bicolandia is AMEC-BCCM in Albay District. Innodata, a New York-based company, tapped this city's young and dynamic population, putting up a data conversion center operating in three shifts; see http://www.philippinebusiness.com.ph/geographics/legazpicity.htm.
As a financial center, Legazpi City has more than 20 ATM's for 24-hour banking convenience. Its revenue collection for CY 2001 is Php862.97M versus Naga's Php437.66M, and for CY2002, Legazpi collected Php1,016.84M versus Naga's Php453.07M; figures (revenue collection) downloaded from http://www.bir.gov.ph/revcol2001.html and http://www.bir.gov.ph/revcol2002.html
The City's hardworking mayor Noel E. Rosal is into widening main thoroughfares, building seawall/promenade, and expanding the seaport.
Legazpi City has two air-conditioned arenas: Albay Astrodome in Albay District and Ibalong Centrum for Recreation (ICR) near Landco Business Park, which for a number of times served as venues of Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) games when teams like Ginebra, Shell, San Miguel, Pop Cola, among others visit Bicol. During the past few years, only Legazpi could host PBA games because other cities in the region do not have airconditioned arenas. The long gown competition of the Miss Asia-Pacific, an international beauty contest, was held in the ICR in 2001. AUL has a brandnew gym (AQ Dome)with PBA/NBA sized courts and ring/boards. It only needs airconditioning and it could host regional and national games, amateur and professional; ditto Divine Word College gym.
The city's hotels and convention halls regularly host regional and national conventions and seminars; In 2002, Albay Astrodome even hosted an international convention of the Free Masons.
Begun in early 90's and held every October to coincide with Legazpi Port District fiesta, the Ibalong Festival is the mother of all festivals in Bicol. Other provinces followed suit: Voyadores and Kaogma in Camarines Sur, Kasanggayahan in Sorsogon, and Katandungan in Catanduanes. Legazpi is also home to Albay's Magayon Festival held the whole month of May. Other parts of Albay now have their own: Tabak in Tabaco City, Oyanggi in Polangui, and Daragang Magayon in Daraga (a first class municipality which is contiguous to Legazpi).
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