Southern Leyte is a province of the Philippines located in the Eastern
Visayas region. Maasin City is the capital of the province.
Leyte was once a sub-province of Leyte
it was divided from the latter. Limasawa, an island to the south is part of
the province where the first Christian mass was held and is said to
be the birthplace of Christianity in
The province ranks as the second least populated area in the
region. According to 2007 census, the province has a population of
390,847 a 1.13% growth compared to last 2000 census with a
population record of 360,160.
Southern Leyte's geological
several issues in the province after the flooding of Subangdaku River
and the awful mudslide in
Guinsaugon. Organizations warned the province as susceptible to
occurrences like landslides
Southern Leyte contributes to the economy of the country.
an important part of the inter-island transportation system of the
country, with ferries transporting people and goods between
Liloan and Surigao del Norte in Mindanao.
province is well known for its quality abaca
products and the country's major producer of abaca fiber.
as 1898 during the Spanish and American periods, there had already been existing as
"sub-province" consisting of the municipalities from Palompon to Hinunangan, with Maasin as the center.
offices have already been established in Maasin on the southwestern
part of Leyte to govern the area.
Historically, the governing city was the depository of cedula tax
collections from Palompon to Hinunangan. This was administered by
the office of the Administrado de Hacienda, equivalent to the
Provincial Treasurer, a position under Secretario de
There was also established in Maasin a Court of First Instance,
then known as the Promoter Fiscal, where all minor administrative
and other cases from Palompon to Hinunangan were heard and disposed
Spanish colonization, the province was sparsely
The continued raiding of Moro slaves discouraged
the province to grow and develop. However, on 19th century, immigrants from
near provinces like Bohol and Cebu populated
Ruperto Kangleon held a conference
in the town of Sogod, when the first attempt in Malitbog, a town to the east, failed to succeed due to many
leaders stayed away.
He was trying to unify all guerrillas
helped to the Philippine Commonwealth
troops during the outbreak of World War
On 1944 to
1945, the Allied Philippine Commonwealth Army soldiers and the
recognized guerrillas attacked by the Japanese Imperial forces beginning to liberation in Southern Leyte,
and the American troops landed in Leyte on October 20,
change of sovereign powers, all the offices in Maasin except the
Fiscal’s Office were abolished and reverted to Tacloban, the capital of Leyte.
This created a major
problem because of the dearth of transportation, the difficulty in
managing the affairs of government in Tacloban and the language
barrier between the Cebuano
-speaking South-westerners and the
Easterners. The difficulty of
managing the entire island from the main city suggested the need to
separate the island into two provinces.
At first there was a general movement for a Western Leyte and soon
after, many prominent men and leaders rallied behind the movement.
Six attempts to pass a law for the division of Leyte were made. On
the sixth attempt, then Congressman Nicanor Yñiguez introduced into
a division law similar in
substance to that of the Kangleon Bill, but recognizing the
impossibility of creating an East-West Division, he instead opted
to make his own district a province.
Abandoning the first bill
Congressman Nicanor Yñiguez presented House Bill No. 1318 proposing a new
province of Southern Leyte comprising the Third Congressional
District of Leyte to include 16 municipalities, from Maasin to
Silago in the
mainland, and in the Panaon Island.
The bill became Republic Act
known as an "Act Creating the Province of Southern Leyte" and was
signed into Law
by President Carlos P. Garcia
on May 22
. On July 1
, Southern Leyte was inaugurated as a province with
sixteen municipalities and Maasin as the capital town. Thus the
third District of Leyte became the province of Southern Leyte and
Lone District of Southern Leyte.
Southern Leyte is subdivided into 18 municipalities
People and culture
While ethnicity of the province is widely Bisaya
, most people of the province are farmers and
In Panaon, an island situated in the southernmost part of the
province, a certain aboriginal
folks are found locally known as Kongking
which means mountain people. They were believed to
be migrants from Mindanao, inhabiting the portions of Agusan, after their migration from the island
to evade militarization and the logging/mining corporations’
intrusion to their ancestral domains in the early
Literally, there physical attributes are dark
complexion, curly-haired and short in height. Hunting and
gathering, mat weaving and rattan craft are among the main economic
activities of the Mamanwas
, so they prefer to inhabit the
forested areas in the newfound Southern Leyte mountain. However,
they were again displaced by threats of the recent incidents of
landslides in the province.
is the staple food
of the province and also includes
. Mountain living folks, however, prefer
which is abundant in the
place. Native delicacies of the province includes "tres marias,"
"bocarillo," "salvaro," "bibingka," and "starhoy." They also have
their own "kinilaw."
The native language
and the major language spoken in
the province. The speech variety however used by natives
has also Boholano influences because of its proximity with the
are widely spoken as second
languages. Natives also understood foreign language
such as English
A detail of Carlos V.
Limasawa, an island municipality to the south is believed to be the
site of the first Christian mass and the birthplace of Christendom in the Philippines, when Ferdinand
Magellan, a Portuguese navigator and explorer landed on March
Francisco's First Mass in the Philippines painting
The first Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass was held on March 31
led by Friar Pedro de Valderrama, the chaplain of
Magellan during the expedition, and the start of the Christianity
People in the province are generally Roman Catholics in religion.
Generally, 87.28 percent of which adheres to Roman Catholic Church
folks still influence the people in the province. Aglipayan
ranks second with
4.51 percent affiliates and Evangelicals
with 2.03. Other religious affiliations include Iglesia ni Cristo
, Jehovah's Witnesses
, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church
A Spanish-era church can be found in the City of Maasin. The church
is embellished with an ornate altar and images of saints believed
to be the testament of continuing religiosity of the people in the
Although most people are Christians, a very few who live in remote
villages of the province hold-on to Pre-Hispanic influences in
making offerings and sacrifices before planting their crops.
Farmers ritually sacrifice chickens and pigs to ensure that the
spirits or elementals which they believe to be the cause of good
harvest will grant them.
Fiesta, a Spanish
term which means
festivity, is celebrated in the province with prayer
, food/drinking dance and music. Every barangay
of every town in the province have their own distinct date of
celebration. For instance, Hinunangan celebrated town fiesta on 29
June where they highlighted their celebration with the St.
Peter and St. Paul Fluvial boat parade before the day of the fiesta
which is June 28.
The kuratsa - a
dance drama - highlights every
The province also held its unique festivals. Sinulog sa malitbog
is an annual religious street pageant in
Malitbog, a town in the province, to pay homage to the Holy
Child Jesus (Santo Niño) which is
their town's patron saint.
reception has grown steadily, with devotees from other places
flocking to the town. Similarly, the historic and religious coming
of the Spaniards is commemorated every March
31 in Limasawa with a cultural presentation and anniversary
program dubbed as Sinugdan, meaning "beginning."
festivals held in the province to highlight events are Pagkamugna
Festival and Pabulhon Festival in Maasin City, Karomata Festival in
Beunavista, Pintuyan, Tangka-tangka Festival in Tangkaan, Padre
Burgos and Manha-on Festival in Macrohon.
Leyte occupies the southern one-fourth of the island of Leyte.
bounded by the province of Leyte to the north,
Strait to the east, Bohol Sea to the south, and Canigao Channel, across from Bohol, to the
Green grass covering mountains
situated in Maasin City
Its total land area
173,480 hectares or 1,734.8 sq. kilometers.
The province is characterized by relatively flat lands along the
coastal areas where population centers lay, but rugged and
mountainous towards the interior.
The province has inland water-form features. Based on a national
data, the province has an overall 93 rivers including 18 majors
namely Amparo River in Macrohon, Canturing River in Maasin City, Das-ay and Pondol Rivers in Hinunangan, Divisoria River in Bontoc, Hitungao and Lawigan Rivers in San
Juan, Maag River in Silago, and Subang Daku River in Sogod which is the biggest river among others.
province has an inland lake called Lake Danao
located in the mountains of San Juan and Anahawan, towns in the eastern region.
, the province's largest
river, created an issue over the area. By description, it can be
considered a braided river comprising of several channel
from near areas that divide and
reunite forming an alluvial fan with very wide floodplain
. As such, the river usually became
hazardous during typhoon
heavy rain. The river sometime overflow spilling its waters on the
low-lying towns of Liloan and San Vicente and destroyed an ongoing
flood control project worth millions of pesos. The river has been
known to meander along its course, ever changing its way over time.
During the time it's flooding, it destructs every side of its
course. In 2001, portion of the road and banks in Barangay San
Miguel along the river have been destroyed. It hampered the
economic activities of the local residents as well as national
because the destroyed portion is part of the Philippine National
Road. The Local officials blamed the rechannelization
and uncontrolled quarrying
of gravel and sand at the side of river as
the cause of the flood. At a meeting on March 18, 2002, one of the
representatives of a government agency alleged that the reason of
the incidents of flood and other environmental problems in the
river was due to the "Philippine Fault" which caused rocks to
rumble down. However, the reason was contended because the fault
is a geological feature and
environmental problems in the province just occurred that
Along with other mountain forms in the province, Mount Nacolod in
Hinunangan town has the highest peak with an elevation of 948
meters above sea level
. Young volcanic rocks are discovered in the terrain
areas, which cover the top of the southern mountain ranges of Mount
Cabalian in the Pacific Area and Mount Nelangcapan in Panaon
View of Hinunangan Beach
The province lies within the Philippine Fault System
. The major
fault lines traverse the municipalities of Sogod, Libagon, St.
Bernard and San Juan to Panaon Island. Based on MGB Region 8 data,
these areas had experienced strong earthquake
in 1907 and 1948 with a magnitude of
6.9 and on July 5
with a 6.4 scale
. Bureau of
Mines and Geosciences warned that Southern Leyte's natural
features make it susceptible to landslides and floodings. The
affiliated group stated that there are four reasons why there are
some incidents like these:unusually heavy rains; numerous faults
and badly broken rocks; steep slopes; and absence of effective
The province has numerous type of soil
special soil type within Maasin Clay, Guimbalaon Clay, Himay-angan
Clay, Bolinao Clay, Quingua Clay and Malitbog Clay series is found
to be a good raw materials for ceramics
activities of the local
December 2003, a landslide in San
Francisco, Southern Leyte destroyed most of the town, killing 200
The incident was caused by heavy rains in the
2006 Southern Leyte mudslide
On February 17
, several mudslides caused by heavy rains,
amounting over , and a minor earthquake
destroyed at least one town and many commercial and residential
infrastructures, leaving hundreds dead. The municipality of
Bernard was one of the worst hit areas where twenty-three
are confirmed to be dead with up to 200 estimated as dead and
another 1,500 missing.
Barangay Guinsaugon, a mountain
village on the said municipality with 2,500 people, was almost
completely leveled and everything from trees to homes was destroyed
killing 1,800 of its 1,857 residents.Many rescuers from national
and international responded to the incident. However, rescue
efforts were greatly hampered by poor road conditions and lack of
heavy equipment. Survivors reported also lack of coordination of
rescue efforts. The Philippine Government again stated their
inability to cope with disasters.The few handful of Guinsaugon
citizens which escaped the mudslide were put up in emergency
shelters without adequate nutrition and care despite the National
Government collecting millions of Dollars worth of donations for
A graphical presentation of Southern
Leyte's 1903-2000 population depicting the negative growth rate in
The 1980 national census
province of Southern Leyte with a population of 296,294 from the
historic record in 1903 of 72,369. On 1990, the population of the
province increased to 321,940 which was caused by in-migration
and increasing rate of birth
over death. In 2000, number of population increased to 360,160 with
a rate of 2.73 from the negative growth rate recorded on 1995
period with 317,565. The sudden decrease of the 1995 records was
due to the late census in the province. While regular censuses were
done in May where most of the students were at their respective
places of residence, in 1995 the census on population was done in
September where the students were out for schooling in nearby
provinces. The decrease in population was also, theoretically,
attributed to out-migration
rural population to highly urbanized cities to seek for better
employment and livelihood opportunities. A corresponding increase
on the number of households was also recorded at 72,894 households
higher by 7,327 households over the 1995 figure. Southern Leyte
ranked fifth in terms of population among the six provinces in
with 9.98 percent of
the 3.6 million persons of the region. On the contrary, it was the
fastest growing province in the region. At the national level, the
province contributed 0.47 percent to the total population of the
Philippines with 76.5 million.
In terms of ethnicity
, on 2000 survey,
80.8 percent of the people living are Bisaya
, 16.6 percent are Boholano
, 5.1 percent are Cebuano
, and other includes Tagalog
Southern Leyte has two types of climate according to the Coronas
Classification. These are Type II and Type IV.
Type II is characterized by the absence of dry season with a very
pronounced maximum rain period occurring in the months of November
to January. This type prevails in the eastern half of the province
that includes the municipality of Sogod, Libagon, Liloan, San
Francisco, Pintuyan, San Ricardo, St. Bernard, San Juan, Anahawan,
Hinundayan, Hinunangan and Silago. On the other hand, Type IV has a
rainfall that is more or less evenly distributed throughout the
year. This type prevails in the western part of the province that
includes the City of Maasin and the municipalities of Macrohon,
Padre Burgos, Limasawa, Malitbog, Tomas Oppus, Bontoc and little
part of Sogod.
The province is located within the area of less frequent tropical
. Yearly typhoon
only affect the northern half of the
island under the jurisdiction of the Province of Leyte. During
passage of typhoons, the province only experienced heavy rains and
occasional gusty winds
. The province is
generally affected by typhoons that pass through Surigao.
In 2004, the province has recorded rainfall
data with maximum temperature
to minimum temperature of
24.09 Degrees Celsius. In addition, mean minimum temperature was
25.24 degrees Celsius. The province has 163 numbers of rainy days
and total rainfall of 1,729.20 mm.
Vegetation and biodiversity
People in the province plant rice
, white corn
, root crops
, and coconut
which is their major products. They also
planted various types of vegetable.
A three year effort project was established in Sogod Bay conducted
by the Southern Leyte Coral Reef Conservation Project (SLCRCP) to
surveyed coral reefs in the area. The undertaking was to provide
local residents educational opportunities to have knowledge on
protecting the province's biodiversity as well as to have a
Southern Leyte was originally consist of 16 municipalities
. It was composed of four islands namely:
Island, Limasawa Island, San Pedro Island and San Pablo Island.
After the inauguration of the province, three more municipalities
were created subsequently, namely; San Ricardo from Pintuyan, Tomas
Oppus from Malitbog and Limasawa from Padre Burgos. Currently, the
province is subdivided into 18 municipalities and one city which is Maasin.
has an overall 501 barangays or villages around the province.
converted into a city as capital of
The remaining component municipality classes
ranges from 3rd to 5th level in the province. From 3rd class
belongs Sogod municipality which is the center of trade, commerce and industry among municipalities within the Sogod
Bay. Bontoc, Hinunangan, which holds the distinction as the "Rice Granary
of the Province" for its vast plain land that
is entirely planted with rice, Liloan, Malitbog, Saint Bernard, and Macrohon, are in the 4th level. The remaining
municipalities—Anahawan, Hinundayan, Libagon, Padre Burgos, Pintuyan, San Francisco, San Juan (formerly Cabalian), San
Ricardo, Silago, Tomas Oppus and Limasawa, a component island to the south—are under 5th
Most of the people in Southern Leyte go into coconut planting, a
widely distributed industry, especially in mountainous and even
plain regions. The German Technical Cooperation has embarked on a
value chain study on one of the most important products in Region 8
— the coconut, particularly in Leyte
year 2004, a beetle pest was observed and threatened the Philippine
coconut industry including Visayas. Brontispa longissima
damage to seedlings and mature coconut trees and ornamental palms,
killing the young spears and eventually the entire trees.
People in Southern Leyte also go into abaca
planting. The province is one of the major producer
of abaca fiber in the country along with Catanduanes, Leyte, Davao
Samar, Sorsogon, Sulu, Davao del Sur, and Surigao del Sur.
The fibers from Leyte and the province are
recognized as having the best quality. On the year 1990 to 1999,
Southern Leyte produced abaca with a rate of 17 percent.
A project, Study on the Abaca Industry Profile of Southern Leyte,
was funded by DOST
GIA and implemented by the Southern Leyte State University (SLSU),
one of the college universities in the province, and the Provincial
Government of Southern Leyte. It was aimed to conduct a thorough
assessment on the status of the abaca industry of the province
being its major crop.
On 2003, a certain virus threatens the abaca industry in the
province. Almost all of the abaca-producing
municipalities in the area namely Maasin City, Padre Burgos, Malitbog, Tomas Oppus, Bontoc, Sogod, St. Bernard,
Juan, Hinunangan and Silago were greatly
affected by the deadly virus except from the municipalities at
Eighty percent of the province's abaca
plantation particularly in Sogod town was greatly affected while
Maasin City was estimated to suffer about 30 percent in
Abaca fiber helps livelihood in the province. Women in the selected
areas go into abaca-based handicrafts, which is widely known in the
area as tagak or spooled abaca fiber. Natives usually called it as
tinagak or continuous spooled abaca fiber. The half-finished
product is then made into sinamay or hand woven clothe out of
tinagak ready to be made into other sinamay-based products.
are being exported by Manila to
Because of a wide distribution of an
industry called tagak, provincial sectors taught farmers on how to
cultivate a suitable variety locally called laylay.
In Bontoc, a project was successfully established with a mudcrab
hatchery with eleven hatchery tanks at the RKKMAFTI Compound.
Initially, 25 spawners are being worked-on by the project.
Aside from abaca-based products, ceramics and handicraft items made
from coconut and bamboo
are also the
province's industry. Among the province’s economic activity
includes fishing, livestock and poultry raising.
is the main mode of
communication of the province. There are five telephone
exchange companies operating in the
province and two radio stations. It has also other types of
communication including SSB radios for government offices and
for government and
The existing road network crisscrossing Southern Leyte consist of
major arterial highways that link the province to Leyte, passing
through two major outlets. On the western part is the Maasin-Mahaplag-Baybay and the
central part by the Mahaplag-Sogod road via the Maharlika
Highway. On the eastern part of the province, the
opening of the new Abuyog-Silago Road
provides fast and convenient travel to the eastern towns of
Maharlika road contributes to the
development of Southern Leyte.
six designated bus terminals in Southern Leyte: Maasin, Liloan, Sogod, San Juan, Hinunangan and Silago.
However, these terminals are open spaces used by buses as parking
areas and are therefore not equipped with buildings and other
The province has only one existing airport that is located in
Pananawan, Maasin. This airport is considered a feeder airport with
a total runway length of 1200 meters and width of 30 meters.
Southern Leyte has a total of 12 seaports, two of which are
declared as national ports, the Maasin and Liloan ports and the 10
are municipal ports. Of these 10 ports, five are operational,
namely, Maasin, Liloan, St. Bernard, San Juan and Sogod. By sea,
travel to Cebu from Maasin port takes an average of six hours and a
maximum of two hours. A ferryboat from Liloan to Surigao takes
Leyte has one existing airport the Panan-awan Airport located in Maasin City.
At present, however, the airport does not
service any commercial flight. It has no terminal and can only
accommodate aircraft for general aviation weighing 12,000 pounds
and below at daytime.
Colleges and Universities
- GlobalPinoy, Travel - Southern Leyte
- http://www.census.gov.ph/data/sectordata/2007/province.pdf |
Philippines 2007 Census
- Policy and Advocacy | Haribon
- Southern Leyte: Attractions
- About Culture and Arts
- Bulatlat - The Philippines's alternative weekly
- Places of Interest in Maasin City and Southern
- A short Philippine History before the 1898
- Sinugduan Fest recalls great historic event in Limasawa
- The Provincial Profile of Southern Leyte
- Southern Leyte Philippines
- About Culture and Arts
- WOW Philippines:: Explore Philippines:: Famous
- Southern Leyte
- Inercar Paper
- Southern Leyte-News on Samar 5
- PIA Information Services - Philippine Information
- Manila Standard: The Future is Ours
- Taipei Times - archives
- U.S. Pacific Command | Official Military Website
- Southern Leyte: From Negative to a Positive Growth
Rate in the Late 90’s
- Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED) - - The
potential of Southern Leyte's Vegetable Industry -
- CCC - News - Southern Leyte Coral Reef Conservation
Project: July 2006 update
- Beetle threatens survival of RP’s coconut industry:
- Genetic Engineering Eyed To Solve Problems Of Abaca
- PIA Information Services - Philippine Information
- Philippine Ventures & Destinations: July
- DOST Region VIII
- "Region Viii"