Southern Leyte is a province in the southern part of Region VIII or Eastern Visayas that occupies about a fourth of the entire island of Leyte. It is bordered by the province of Leyte to the north, by Surigao Strait to the east, Bohol Sea to the south, and Canigao Channel, to the west. It has 18 municipalities and 1 city of which Maasin City is the capital of the province.
Panaon Island, Limasawa Island and the islets of San Pedro and San Pablo are the only the only islands and islets that belong to the province.
Municipalities in Southern Leyte
10. Padre Burgos
12. Saint Bernard
13. San Francisco
14. San Juan (Cabalian)
15. San Ricardo
18. Tomas Oppus
How To Reach Southern Leyte?
Southern Leyte is linked from Leyte through a network of major roads such as the Abuyog – Silago highway, Mahaplag – Baybay – Maasin highway or the Ormoc – Baybay – Maasin Highway, Baybay – Bato – Sogod highway and the Mahaplag – Sogod – highway which is part of the Maharlika highway.
If you are coming from Mindanao, you can take the Maharlika highway via Lipata – Liloan ferry, or just take a passenger vessel from Surigao port to Maasin City port.
If you are coming from Bohol, you have the option of boarding a motorized banca bound to Bato, Leyte or directly to Maasin City from Ubay or a ferry vessel from Ubay to Bato, Leyte or directly to Maasin City.
If you are coming from Cebu, you have several options to consider.
- Cebu – Southern Leyte through a passenger vessel bound to Ormoc City. Then from Ormoc City, just take a ride of passenger bus or Van for Hire.
- Cebu – Southern Leyte through a passenger vessel bound to Hilongos, Leyte. Then from there, just take a ride of passenger bus, passenger jeepney or Van-for-Hire.
- Cebu – Southern Leyte through a passenger vessel bound to Bato, Leyte. Then from there, just take a ride of passenger bus, passenger jeepney or Van-for-Hire.
- Cebu – Maasin City, through a passenger vessel bound to Maasin City. Cebu – Liloan through a passenger vessel directly bound to Liloan.
- Mactan to Tacloban City through a passenger airplane bound to Tacloban City. Then from there, just take a ride of passenger bus or Van-for-Hire.
And if you are coming from Luzon, You can either take a land trip through the Maharlika Highway, sea trip through a Manila-Cebu bound passenger vessels, or through airplane bound to Tacloban City.
History of Southern Leyte
Southern Leyte is previously part of the province of Leyte. But because of difficulty of managing this portion of Leyte from the capital which is Tacloban City, a move to divide Leyte into two emerged.
In 1919, Representative of the 2nd district of Leyte, Ciriaco K. Kangleon (Representative from 1919 to 1922) authored a bill that would divide Leyte. The proposed Southern Leyte would comprise the towns from Inopacan to Cabalian. However, it failed to be passed in the Senate.
But, it didn’t stop the movement there. In 1922, the next Representative, Tomas Oppus presented House Bill 254 which had been passed into law as Act No. 3117. The law insist that the towns from Villaba to Hinunangan will be part of the new Western Leyte province. But the law was not implemented and never proclaimed.
In 1957, after the Act No. 3788 was passed which was responsible in the division of Leyte province into 5 districts, Nicanor Espina Ynigues, Jr presented a bill that would create a Province of Southern Leyte that would include towns from Maasin to Silago which is actually part of the 3rd district of Letye under Representative Yniques.
The bill was passed and signed into law by President Carlos P. Garcia on May 22, 1959 and became the Republic Act No. 2227 which is known as an “Act creating the province of Southern Leyte”.
The inauguration of the new Province of Southern Leyte was done on July 1, 1960. It’s official towns are: Maasin which is the capital of the province, Malitbog, Bontoc, Sogod, Libagon, Pintuyan, San Francisco, St. Bernanrd, Cabalian, Anahawan, Hinundayan, Hinunangan, Silago.
New municipalities were created later namely: San Ricardo from Pintuyan and then Tomas Oppus and Padre Burgos from Malitbog. Later, the island of Limasaya became a municipality, separating itself from Padre Burgos.
Southern Leyte Disasters
In December 2003, a landslide in San Francisco killed at least 200 people. It was followed by several landslides at the same town by the following years.
In February 2006, several landslides happened in various part of Southern Leyte including in Hinunangan, Pintuyan, Liloan and San Francisco. The biggest happened in St. Bernard which killed hundreds of people, destroyed homes and plantations and covering the entire village of Guinsaugon by muds.