HISTORY and CULTURE

 

        Rapu-Rapu is the only island municipality of the province of Albay. It is comprised of three major islands, namely Guinanayan, Batan and Rapu-Rapu where the Poblacion is situated and where the seat of government is located.

        In the olden days, the island was a safe haven for variety of flora and fauna. Thick growth of forest made the place a wildlife sanctuary, which are now endangered. Also abundant in those days was a tree called “rapu-rapu” whose name was eventually adopted by the early settlers as the name of the island. The tree is no longer existing today but Rapu-Rapu, the island, is starting to etch its name in the history of the province to resurrect the tree that was once a part of the town’s rich cultural heritage.

        The municipality was used to be part of the town of Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon. However, the jurisdiction and local supervision was subsequently turned over to the neighboring town, Bacon, due to its geographical proximity.

        In, 1901, Rapu-Rapu was declared as a separate and independent municipality by Governor Arlington Betts, the Civil Governor of the province of Albay. Later, a plebescite was held for the people of Rapu-Rapu to decide whether the town should remain under the provincial jurisdiction of Sorsogon or of the province of Albay. The will of the people in favor of the latter was respected, thus, Rapu-Rapu remained one of the municipalities of Albay until today.

        The first settlers of the island were migrants from neighboring island of Catanduanes. Then in the later years, people from the mainland particularly those from the towns of Sto. Domingo (formerly Libog), Bacacay and Tabaco came to establish permanent settlements in the different parts of the municipality.

        The blending of the peculiar character trait of the early settlers and the  enduring influences of  foreign cultures have seeped into the bedrock of the town’s culture and in time transformed the character of the inhabitants into something truly unique. The inhabitants are religious, industrious and peace-loving. Their hospitality are felt by visitors who are offered not only food but also places to stay while in the island. Many would say that if want to live like a king, go to Rapu-Rapu.

        Despite the gestures of kindness, this was sometimes reciprocated by the mainlanders by jokingly calling them “ASWANG” (a supernatural being that could fly). This name-calling started in the olden days when the inhabitants who travelled to Legazpi City by means of  “parao” ( a sailboat that depends on the wind for its velocity and direction) would take long hours or even days to reach destination. Most often they criss-cross the Albay Gulf until the right wind direction hit their sails and reach the shores of Legazpi City midnight or past midnight. Because of the unholy hour of reaching the place, people called them “Aswang” innocently thinking that they have sailed all the way from Rapu-Rapu.

        Today, local development is the major thrust of the present administration. Plans and programs have been prepared and geared towards sustainable development and economic growth to support the growing populace. Still infrastructure remains to be developed. Only 37.5 % or 31.0 kms. of roads is concreted and an average length of  7.2 m and 1.3 m width of concrete bridges.   

 

INDUSTRY POTENTIALS :

 

  1. Fishery and Marine Products

  2. Abaca, coconut, livestock

  3. Woodworks

  4. Mining

 

Information Source