In July 1575, Juan de Salcedo, the Spanish
Conquistador, founded in the province of Albay the town Santiago de Libong,
now known as Libon. One of Libon’s big sitios was Polangui which was made a
municipality in 1585, with Oas as a Sitio. In 1587, Oas was also made into a
municipality. The thriving settlement of Cavasi was made a sitio of Polangui
in 1608. In 1614, it was annexed as a sitio of Oas. Cavasi’s developing
place of detour thrived and was made a municipality known as Ligao in 1665
with Cavasi as a sitio.
present official name of the town Ligao, a word said to be derived from the
name of a tree called “TICAU”. This tree with leaves used to poison fishes
was known to abound in Ligao.
Long ago a group of Spanish soldiers
passed by the place and took shelter from the heat of the sun under the
“ticau” tree. They asked the natives for the name of the place. The natives
thinking they were asking for the name of the tree answered, ‘TICAU”. The
Spaniards mispronounced “ticao” to “LIGAO” and since then the place was
A more logical version says that Ligao
comes from a Bicol word “LICAW” which means detour or a by road substituted
for part of the main road temporarily impassable.
During the earliest settlement
period of the town, Chinese traders called the place along the riverbank
“Cavasi” mispronounced to “Cavasi” meaning a commercial center or leader.
The early inhabitants and traders from Libon, Polangui and Oas passed Cavasi on their way to the port of Legazpi to
transport abaca fibers and other products. During rainy days transportation
to Cavasi became difficult for they had to pass by lowland places called
Bobonsuran and Ranao-Ranao.
Whenever the road to Cavasi becomes
flooded, the traders would order their cart drivers to “Licaw” or detour to
a trail on a higher plain. After sometime the place of detour was known as “Licaw”.
Licaw was rnispronounced to Ligao and developing place of detour became
known as Ligao. The earliest settlement of Cavasi was made only a sitio when
Ligao was made a municipality.