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My Magallanes


Magallanes is where one can find secluded beaches. Go island hopping from the "Pantalan" (docking/pier area) to Malawmaoan Island and Bejia Beach on Bagatao Island.

Bagatao was an important shipyard during the Spanish regime. A favorite diving spot here are the waters near the two lighthouses, which guide ships that ply the Ticao Pass and Sorsogon Bay.

In Magallanes, one can arrange for a whale watching adventure. But be sure to go there during the whale watching season. Those interested should contact Fernando's Hotel or other hotels in Sorsogon for arrangements and details.

It is advisable to go in small groups (to limit the disruption of the natural surroundings) and support efforts to save these gentle giants. Whale shark watching can cost around $25/person, minimum of 4 people. This includes a banca and BIO (a Butanding Interaction Officer who is experienced at diving with whale sharks).

Tourists flocked to the area after tourism officials reported than more than 40 whale sharks were spotted in the area recently. The presence of the friendly and gentle whale sharks in Donsol has become a major attraction for the normally sleepy town facing Burias Pass in Bicol.

A brief history

In 1570, Fathers Alonzo Jimenez and Juan Orta of the Augustinan ORder led a group sent to explore the island of Luzon. Upon reaching its southern shores, they found a small fishing village at the mouth of Ginangra River in what is now Magallanes town. The village, called Gibalong by its residents, became the first Christian settlement in Luzon. Later, the friars called the whole Bicol region "Tierra de Ibalaong".

When the Spaniards had settled in Gibalon, they set out to further explore inland. Upon reaching a small river emptying into what is now Sorsogon Bay, they asked a native they met for the name of the place. The native, not understanding Spanish and thinking they were asking for directions, answered, "Solsogon" meaning "trace the river by going upstream". Through constant use, Solsogon became Sorsogon.

First Mass in Luzon re-enacted

The second week of October is usually the start of the annual Kasanggayahan Festival in Sorsogon. For its opening activity, a Misa ng Bayan was celebrated in Gibalon, Siuton, Magallanes, where the first Mass in Luzon was celebrated in 1569.

In October last year, before the Holy Mass, the flag-raising ceremony was first conducted. The first flag that was raised was the National flag; followed by the different flags of each municipality of the province raised by its respective mayors or their representatives.

After the flag raising, Magallanes Mayor Roque L. Carranza gave his welcome and inspirational message. Then the Holy Mass was started, with the Most Rev. Jesus Y. Varela, Bishop of Sorsogon, as the main celebrant.

Immediately after the Mass, Hon. Gov. Raul R. Lee gave his message, then followed by the laying of the cornerstone of the place in Gibalon by Bishop Varela, with the accompanying priests, in the presence of the hundreds of people who participated in the occasion.

(Bishop Jesus Varela blesses the cornerstone for a church that will be built on Sitio Gibalon, in Siuton, Magallanes, during the Church's dedication rites. With him is Rev. Fr. Antonio Lorilla)