The original name of Sta. Magdalena was “Busaingan”. The term implies “Water Breakers” or the place where sea water smash.
It is presumed that the earliest settlers must have been DatuDumaguil’s tribe. The history of its adjacent municipality of Matnog mentions that a few families led by Sirangan, the chief and his wife Hara-hara, who supposedly came from this place, then known Busaingan, had settled in Matnog. Some local sources on the other hand, claimed the earliest settlers originated from Bulusan. It may be inferred therefore, that Bulusan must have been settled by civilized Malays earlier than Sta. Magdalena or Matnog. These early settlers inhabited the slope of what is known as Binongtohan. Binongtohan is a local term which means former town site. The place was part of Bulusan where the first Spanish explorers and missionaries during the latter part of the of the 16th century made contact with the natives who were converted to Christianity.
The natives embraced the faith brought by the Spanish missionaries who had special devotion to St. Francis of Assisi. This blessed saint was chosen by the people as their patron saint. In his honor, they constructed a chapel on top of the hill which was later transferred to a plain below. For more than a century they celebrated October 4 as their patronal feast day.
The barrio of Busaingan was organized under the town of Bulusan when Matnog became independent from its mother parish of Sto. Nino de Matnog. The newly organized parish installed for its patron head, San Francis de Asis. On November 1894, Busaingan became an independent “pueblo civil”, first under the Province of Albay, then after a few days with the newly organized Province of Sorsogon. Isidro Gallanosa was the 1st Gobernadorcillo.
When the Poblacion was transferred to the present site during the early part o the 20th century, the parishioners decided to have St. Mary Magdalene as their patroness and likewise changed the name of the town from Busaingan to Santa Magdalena, and the feast day had also been changed from October 4 to July 22.