Albay is divided into three regions defined by the local dialect of Bikol spoken, and also correspond to districts defined for the purpose of congressional representation.
- Coastal District (Bacacay, Malilipot, Malinao, Santo Domingo, Tabaco, Tiwi) - Various towns and a city alongside the Legazpi-Tiwi coastal road
- Capital District (Camalig, Daraga, Manito, Legazpi, Rapu-Rapu) - Vibrant and touristy parts of the province
- Miraya District (Guinobatan, Jovellar, Libon, Ligao, Oas, Pio Duran, Polangui) - Mountainous areas on the west coast accessible via Asian Highway 26
- 1 Legazpi — The provincial capital and the "City of Adventure". Its suburb, 2 Daraga, is known for the picturesque ruins of Cagsawa Church
- 3 Bacacay — Fishing town with beaches, islands and caves
- 4 Libon — Agricultural town at the border of Camarines Sur
- Ligao — Small city to the southwest of Mayon
- 5 Pio Duran — The ferry port to Masbate
- 6 Polangui — Small tourist town with good views of Mayon
- 7 Tabaco — The ferry terminal to Catanduanes
Albay has a total land area of 2,575 km2 (994 sq mi), which makes it the 53rd biggest province of the Philippines. The province is generally mountainous with scattered fertile plains and valleys. On the eastern part of the province is a line of volcanic mountains starting with the northernmost Malinao in Tiwi, followed by Mount Masaraga and the free-standing Mayon Volcano. Separated by the Poliqui Bay is the Pocdol Mountains in the town of Manito.
What is now Albay has been home to civilization long before the Spaniards arrived. In ancient times, it was the center of the polity of Ibat (then Libog), ruled by Gat Ibal, a chieftain who also founded the ancient barangay of Sawangan in what is now Legazpi.
In July 1569, Martín de Goiti led an expedition group which crossed from Burias and Ticao islands and landed on a coastal settlement called Ibalon in what is now Sorsogon. From there Goiti led another expedition to explore the interior and founded the town of Camalig. In 1573, conquistador Juan de Salcedo penetrated the Bicol Peninsula from the north and created the settlement of Santiago de Libon.
During the Spanish era, Bicol Peninsula was its own province divided into two partidos, Camarines in the northwest and Ibalon in the southeast. In 1636, the two partidos became their own provinces, and what was the Ibalon became the new province of Albay, whose capital is the town of Sorsogon. Albay is frequently raided by Moro pirates from the south for most of the 17th century.
Mayon Volcano, in its most deadly eruption, destroyed five towns surrounding its base on 1 Feb 1814, including Cagsawa, which would become the city of Legazpi. In 1846, Masbate, Ticao and Burias islands were separated from Albay to form what would become the province of Masbate. During that time, Albay also included Catanduanes and Sorsogon.
Albay has a population of about 1,300,000 people in 2015, and is largely ethnically Bicolano. Catholicism is the predominant religion.
- Provincial Tourism, Culture and the Arts Office (PTCAO), Tourism Bldg, Albay Astrodome Complex, F. Aquende Dr, Legazpi, ☏ .
Albay is home to several languages and hosts some varieties of the Bikol languages. Out of seven Bikol languages, only one of them do not originate from Albay.
Most Albay residents speak dialects of Albay Bikol, which includes the East Miraya, West Miraya, and Libon dialects. Rinconada is spoken by a minority in towns bordering Camarines Sur. Residents of the east coast, including Legazpi and Tabaco, speak the Tabaco-Legazpi-Sorsogon (TLS) dialect of Central Bikol.
Legazpi (LGP IATA) is served by daily flights from Manila, both on PAL Express and Cebu Pacific. A new airport is under construction southwest of the city at the suburb of Daraga; it was expected to open mid-2020, but it has been plagued with delays.
Multiple bus companies operates buses out of Manila to Legazpi and Tabaco. Some other towns also have buses from Manila.
The main highway traversing Albay is the Maharlika Highway, carrying Asian Highway 26. From Camarines Sur, you can also take the Tigaon-Sagñay-Tiwi road (Rte 630) which follows a scenic route along the Pacific coast.
There is no through train service to Albay from Manila since 2015. The only available services are the Bicol Commuter come from Camarines Sur, but they are slow local services that only operate on weekdays.
Roll-on/roll-off ferries connect Albay with nearby Masbate and Catanduanes. Ferries from Masbate call either call at Pilar port in Sorsogon (for boats from Masbate City and Ticao Island) and Pio Duran (from Burias Island), while those from Catanduanes call at Tabaco.
Legazpi is a seaport, but there are no interisland ferries; the few passenger services that call there are occasional cruises.
Buses form the main way of transportation between Albay’s cities and towns. Many of those services are rather segments of longer intercity routes from Manila or Naga, but there are also plenty of local buses and minibuses plying the Legazpi-Tabaco route.
The PNR Bicol Commuter Line serves Legazpi, Daraga, Guinobatan and Ligao, but services are limited and somewhat slower than the buses.
Most of Albay's cities and towns are linked by national roads of decent quality, like the Maharlika Highway (Rte 1/AH26), Legazpi-Tabaco Rd (Rte 630), and Sabluyon Rd (Rte 636). Other major roads tend to be narrow, and not designed for highway speeds. Traffic is generally light, but as in most of the Philippines, chaotic.
- Cagraray Eco Park - has an amphitheatre perfect for picture taking.
- DJC Halo-Halo, Baybay, Tiwi, Albay. A homegrown restaurant near Tiwi Boulevard.
- Misibis Bay, Cagraray Island, Bacacay (this Misibis resort in Cagraray Island is 45 minutes from the airport), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. All rooms are equipped with wireless internet access, air conditioning, daily newspaper, desk, hairdryer, minibar, coffee/tea maker, LCD TV with cable channels, private toilet and bath. Some of its facilities and services are bars, business center, cafe, conference room, fitness room/gym, jacuzzi, restaurant, shops, swimming pool, aerial tours, airport transfer, babysitting service, massage service, private beach access and water sports (motorized and non-motorized).
- Sabando Ocampo Beach Resort, Oas, Albay. From ₱19436.
- Casa Simeon = a heritage house of Alparce family that turned into a hotel and restaurant for tourists. Located at Bes Street, Bacacay. https://www.facebook.com/casasimeon/
- Casa Bicolandia Suites - Malvar Street, Daraga. https://www.facebook.com/casabicolandiasuites/
- Masbate - on Burias island via Pio Duran port