Chapter 8b

Legaspi in Albay Icon

April 4, 2022


Legaspi is the principal port of Albáy province.

Its roadstead, however, is very unsafe, and, being exposed to the northeasterly storms, is perfectly useless during the winter.

The northnorth-east wind is the prevailing one on this coast; the south-west breeze only blows in June and July. The heaviest storms occur between October and January.

They generally set in with a gentle westerly wind, accompanied with rain. The gale presently veers round to the north or the south, and attains the height of its fury when it reaches the north-east or the south-east.

After the storm a calm generally reigns, succeeded by the usual wind of the prevailing monsoon. The lightly-built elastic houses of the country are capitally suited to withstand these storms; but roofs and defective houses are frequently carried away. The traffic between Manila and Legaspi is at its height between January and October. But during the autumn months, all communication by water ceases.

The letter-post, which arrives pretty regularly every week, is then the only link between the two places. At this season heavy packages can be sent only by a circuitous and expensive route along the south coast, and thence by water to Manila.

Much more favourably situated for navigation is the port of Sorsogon, the mouth of which opens to the west, and is protected by the island of Bagaláo, which lies in front of it.

Besides its security as a harbour, it has the advantage of a rapid and unbroken communication with the capital of the Archipelago, while vessels sailing from Legaspi, even at the most favourable time of the year, are obliged to go round the eastern peninsula of Luzon, and meet the principal current of the Straits of San Bernardino, frequently a very difficult undertaking; and, moreover, small vessels obliged to anchor there are in great danger of being captured by pirates.

The land around Sorsogon, however, is not so fertile as the neighbourhood of Legaspi.

I took letters of introduction with me to both the Spanish authorities of the province; who received me in the most amiable way, and were of the greatest use to me during the whole of my stay in the vicinity.

I had also the good fortune to fall in with a model Alcalde, a man of good family and of most charming manners; in short, a genuine caballero.

To show the popular appreciation of the honesty of his character, it was said of him in Sámar that he had entered the province with nothing but a bundle of papers, and would leave it as lightly equipped.