Oas is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Albay, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 63,888 people in 11,715 households.
The town's economy is generally agriculture-based. Its major products include rice, root crops such as sweet potato and gabi (taro), coconuts, and other fruits and vegetables.
Fish and other shell foods are also harvested in its coastal areas but do not contribute much to the municipality's income. Underutilization of the town's marine products is due to limited access and transportation to its coastal areas. Farm-to-market roads are currently being constructed to alleviate this situation.
Foundation of the municipality can be traced to the early Spanish Colonization of the Bicol Peninsula. In 1605, Father Baltazar de los Reyes converted 12 leading natives of the area to Christianity in one single day, forming the foundation of the community now known as Oas.
There are three stories that tell the origin of the name of Oas:
- The first version mentions the existence of numerous lagoons or pools of water abounding the place which prompted early colonizers to give it the name of "Oasis". The natives soon called the place by this name and later abbreviated it to "Oas".
- A second version relates to the existence of a dam across the narrowest portion of a local river. This dam solely irrigates the vast fields of the place including those of nearby town of Libon and results to good harvest. People are wary of any cracks or leaks on the dam walls during months of heavy rains. A crier would shot "nawaswas" giving the call to the people for immediate action in groups. From then on, the natives coined this name to the place and later shortened it to present from in times of this kind emergency.
- A third version and perhaps the most logical version of how the municipality derived its name gives an account of early Spanish Colonozers reaching this particular section of the Bicol Peninsula. The Spaniards, inquired the name of the place from the about 600 natives found living there, "Como se llama este sitio?" with gesture of their hands. The natives mistakenly thought the question to be, "Onan kading lugar kadi, maiwas?" (What place is this, it's very big?) in their native dialect. In response, the natives answered, "Si, señores. Labi nikading iwas. Labi nikading iwas." (Yes, sirs, this is grand and spacious). From then on the early Spanish colonizers adopted in their official census the existence of "a rich fertile valley with verdant fields of grain" which is a little town of Oas in Bicol.
Oas is politically subdivided into 53 barangays.
- Bagumbayan (New Town)
- Bongoran (Banana Island)
- Calzada (Road Island)
- Centro Poblacion
- Del Rosario
- Ilaor Norte (Black Region)
- Ilaor Sur (Luyung Kali)
- Iraya Norte (Balaw Team/Sapang Palay)
- Iraya Sur
- San Pascual (Nale)
- Rizal (Rabak)
- San Agustin
- San Antonio
- San Isidro
- San Jose
- San Juan
- San Miguel
- San Ramon
- San Vicente (Suca)
- Oas is known for family names starting with the letter "R". A name like "Romeo R. Rellama", with triple "R" initial, represents a tradition that originates from this town. Stories say that original town dwellers are distinguished from migrants based on their surnames. However, factual documents state that during the Spanish era, every town has a designated alphabet for easy identification of his/her origin.
Famous Personalities in Oas
- Pancho Nepomoceno - The first Oasnun Olympiad's Sprinter.
- Bernardita Rayala - poetry, published two (2) books.
- Atty Pompeyo Roa-Realuyo - is an International Tax Attorney who also handles high-profile pro-bono cases. He flew to Monaco to watch the sensational Safra trial on behalf of nurse Vivian Torrente’s family. Manta Company Intelligence-Legal Services Office(New York, USA )
- Dr. Ramona Bustamante Rañeses - Grand Price Winner (THE WORLD SPEECH COMPETITION held in Indianapolis, Indiana USA)
- Dr Eriberta Nepomoceno - Undersecretary for Special Concerns DOST,Philippines, 1999-2002 Regional Director DOST Regional Office No. V in Legaspi City
- Mike Realba - Canadian Actor (Movies: Gangster Exchange 2008, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium 2007, Saw IV 2007, The Path to 9/11 2006, The House 2006, Mayday 2005, Descent 2005, )
- Miriam Redito Quiambao - 1st Runner up (MISS UNIVERSE 1999)
- Vic Ronan - Director 2003-2004 (Alpha Phi Omega Alumni Association Northern California)
- Felicitas Sacayan - Most Outstanding Farmer Of The Year, 1990 (Busac)
- Carlita Rex Doran - Oasnon Inventor and Entrepreneur
- Eden Redillas - NFA Provincial Manager (Sorsogon)
- Angelito R. Relleve - PNSA-Bicol Regional Executive Council Officer 2004-2006, Philippine Nurse's Association Awardee year 2006
- Councilor Arencio R. Rendor Jr. - Lawyer, Philippine Councilors League INTERIM PRESIDENT
- Engr. Reagan Monforte Ablao - Nov. 2006 Civil Engineer Licensure Examination Board Placer - Ranked 9 (95.60) Bicol University College of Engineering.
- Hon. Noel Rosal - City Mayor of Legazpi City
- Abdon M. Balde, Jr. - (Busac, Oas, Albay) National Book Awards, 2003, 2004 & 2005 Juan C. Laya Prize for Best Novel, 2004
Juan C. Laya Prize for Best Book of Fiction, 2005
Gintong Aklat Award, 2005
Palanca Memorial Award for Literature, 2003
Rokyaw Ibalong Bikol Highest Achievement Award in Literature, 2003
Lifetime Achievement Award, Premio Arejola Foundation, 2007
Rector’s Recognition for Excellence, Achievement, Commitment & Humanitarian Service for Career Achievement, Aquinas University of Legazpi, 2007
Omaw sa Oragon (Tribute for Excellence), 2008