Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The History of Tacloban

Tacloban was known as Kankabatok, a name alluded to the first inhabitants of the place – Kabatok. They established their dwelling in the vicinity of the present day Sto. Niño church. Others who came later were Gumoda, Haraging and Huraw who erected their own settlements in nearby sites. Huraw’s domain is the hill where the city hall now sits. As a whole the combined settlements acquired the name Kankabatok, meaning Kabatok’s property.

By the end of the 16th century, Kankabatok was under the political administration of Palo and part of the parish of Basey, Samar. In 1770, the Augustinian Mission discovered the place, they were superceded by the Franciscans in 1813. During this period, Kankabatok was changed to Tacloban. The change of the name came about in this manner: Kankabatok was a favorite haunt of fishermen. They would use a bamboo contraption called "Taklub" to catch crabs, shrimps or fish. When asked where they were going, the fishermen would answer, "(to) Tarakluban," which meant the place where they used the devise to catch these marine resources. Eventually, the name Tarakluban or Tacloban took prominence.

It is not definitely known when Tacloban became a municipality because records supporting this fact were destroyed during a typhoon. It is commonly believed that Tacloban was officially proclaimed a municipality in 1770. In 1768, Leyte and Samar were separated into two provinces, each constituting as a politico-military province. Due to its strategic location, Tacloban became a vital trading point between the two provinces.

The capital of Leyte was transferred from one town to another with Tacloban as the last on February 26, 1830. The decision to make Tacloban the capital was based on the following reasons: 1) Ideal location of the port and 2) Well-sheltered and adequate facilities. On June 12, 1952, Tacloban was proclaimed a chartered city by virtue of Republic Act No. 760.Tacloban is a "waray" speaking city. The dialect is officially called "Leyte-Samarnon." A decade before the end of the Spanish sovereignty, the place was dominantly a typical colonial community. Most of its residents were either pure Iberian families or the new generations of Spanish-Filipino blood. Today’s population consists of a healthy mix of Spanish and Chinese mestizos, foreign expatriates and the native Leyteños.

The arrival of Colonel Murray in 1901 made him the first military governor of Leyte. His first official act was the opening of Tacloban port to world commerce. Before World War II, Tacloban was the commercial, education, social and cultural center of the Province of Leyte. Copra and abaca were exported in large quantities. The leading institutions were: The Leyte Normal School, Leyte High School, Leyte Trade School, Holy Infant Academy and the Tacloban Catholic Institute.

On May 25, 1942, The Japanese Forces landed in Tacloban, they fortified the city, improved its airfield, a since San Pedro Bay was ideal for larger vessels, the Japanese Imperial Naval Forces made Tacloban a port of call and entry. The Japanese started the three years occupation of Leyte. That event was considered the darkest in the history of Tacloban and the entire nation, because men and women and even the ages were tortured. During this time, many guerilla groups sprouted in Leyte the most notable was the group of Colonel Ruperto Kangleon.

Leyte was the first destination by returning Allied forces. The troops landed in the Tacloban and Palo Beaches (White Beach and Red Beach, respectively) and in the neighboring town of Dulag (Blue Beach) on October 20, 1944. Three days later on the 23rd, at a ceremony infront of the Capitol Building in Tacloban, Leyte, the Commonwealth Governments of the Philippines was restored in Tacloban City.

Today, Tacloban is the largest city and regional center of the Eastern Visayas region. It is also the capital city of Leyte province. It is the center of commerce, tourism, education, culture, and government in the region. Tacloban is located on Cancabato Bay, in the San Juanico Strait which divides the islands of Leyte and Samar.

According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 178,639 people in 34,758 households. Tacloban City is accessible in many ways. By air Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air has 3 daily flights each between Manila and Tacloban City; travel time is 1 hour and 10 minutes. They also have a CEbu-Tacloban-Cebu flights 3 times a week. Air Philippines also has four flights per week between Cebu and Tacloban City.By sea, Sulpicio Lines takes approximately 36 hours to reach Tacloban, the ship departs from Manila three times a week. The days of departure are fixed a week before.

Tacloban has an excellent harbor with facilities for handling large ships and overseas trade. The colorful market at the western end of the wharf is full of life. It is culturally and linguistically diverse as it is a center for the region. The main language in and around Tacloban is Waray-Waray. But the languages used as a medium of instruction in schools, communications in big business and institutions, and correspondence with government offices are the national language of Tagalog, and English the international language of the Philippines. Cebuano is spoken in the northwest and southern parts of Leyte.And it is the 1st class City in the Province of Leyte.and the city is actually developing its Power Industry,Cleanliness,rising economy,and etc... And Tacloban City has the highiest income in the Region 8 and it is also the most Industrialized city in region 8.The City is actually improving a lot.And has a strongest Industry in the Region among other neighboring cities.

from the
City Mayors Office
Tacloban City

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What to do in Tacloban City, Leyte and nearby

Enjoy the scenic San Juanico Straight . Rent a kayak for a day and paddle your way round the bay of Tacloban, under the beautiful San Juanico Bridge. Kayaks are for rent for around a thousand pesos a day.

Waterfalls in the City
A recent discovery , a majestic 30 ft waterfalls hidden in the mountains of Tigbao and Salvacion just4 Km. outside Tacloban . Maps towards the waterfall site is available. A day trip for picnic and swimming is most ideal.

Nearest to Tacloban is Sohoton National Park in Basey just off San Juanico Bridge. The Tourism Offisce in the Municipality of Basey provides excellent tour guides for a hassle free caving. Ideal for non professional, amateurs, and family trips.The one-man adventure outfit of Joni Bonifacio provides professional caving for the more advetourous. Explore the three caves of Jiabong in one day. The ultimate Langun – Gobingob Cave in Calbiga offers more for serious spelunkers. Langun-Gobingo expedition is usually a 3day – 2 night from one end of the cave to another, but an shorter trip can be tailored. Calbiga is one hour away from Tacloban. Jiabong is an hour- and a half trip from Tacloban

Wall Climbing
Bukid Outdoor Shop offers wall climbing. For 60 pesos you can climb till you drop. They also sell outdoor gears for hiking, camping, mountaineering, and surfing.

Three hours away in Calicoan Guaian E. Samar, is a surfing paradise. Blessed with the thundering waves from the Pacific, local and foreign surfers throng to ride the waves of this new surfing capital. Not to mention that Guaian boast of long stretches of white sand sans the crowd and vendors. A laid back town, with friendly people, and a rich history. Do not miss the historic 300 year-old church in the town plaza.

Skimboarding in Tanauan
The secret is out, Tanauan and Dulag towns in Leyte offer the best spots for skimboarding. Tanauan is a 30-minute jeepney ride from Tacloban while Dulag is an hour away. The town of Tanauan is touted as the skimboarding capital of the Philippines. The town hosts the Tanuan International Skimbording Competition which is held every Easter Sunday of each year. Skimboarding gear is available for rent.

The Leyte Mountain Trail is an outstanding trekking area which starts from the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park of Burauen to Lake Danao Natural Park in Ormoc, a distance of approximately 40 km. This rainforest tour will cover the beautiful lakes of – Mahagnao, Malagsum, Casudsu-ran and Danao. The spectacular Guinaniban Falls is not to be missed. From the crest of the central Amandiwing Mountain Range is breathtaking view of mountains, forests, plains and the island of Samar and Leyte. The Leyte Mountain Trail houses a profusion of tropical flora and fauna including colourful insects, butterflies, dragonflies, bugs, giant millipedes, deers, wild boars, monkeys, birds, orchids, and giant ferns.

Tongonan Hotsprings National
Tongonan Hotsprings National ParkLocated in Ormoc City, 123 km. from Tacloban City (also accessible from Kananga). A valley of geothermal power source that can supply electricity to the whole region when fully developed; cool and relaxing climate; first geothermal power plant to operate in the Philippines.

Lake Danao
Lake DanaoLocated in Ormoc City, 125 km. from Tacloban City. A violin-shaped lake 2,100 feet above sea level and 3 km, long; hemmed by cloud-capped-mountain ranges of undetermined depth; wild animals roaming its surrounding forest; hunter’s paradise; lake said to be the habitat of giant eel.

Cuatro Islas
Located in the towns of Inopacan and Hindang, Leyte; plus pumpboat ride. Four lovely isles namely, Digyo, Apid, Mahaba, and Himokilan bordered by white sandy shore; surrounded by beautiful coral gardens, the best in Leyte island. A total of 287 species of reef building corals can be found in the islands waters; rich fishing ground. Himokilan is the largest island of the Cuatro Islas where the big delicious coconut-cracking crabs called “tatus” are found.

Mt. Pangasuhan Ecopark
Mt. Pangasuhan Ecopark is located in Brgy. Pangasuhan, Baybay, Leyte. One of the few remaining virgin rainforests in the Philippines. It is richly endowed with diverse flora and fauna, many of which are considered endangered species like flying lemurs and tarsiers; a unique and precious ecological asset.