Local History of Leyte and Laguna 

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History of Leyte

Leyte, an area in the island of Visayas that is composed of multiple cities, all of which had their very own history from the day it was built to what it has become now to this very day. Many ideas may spring when the name of the region Leyte is mentioned of which is the city of Tacloban, Ormoc and many areas within the region that are filled with many stories of the past that may or may not be relevant to the people of today.

Let’s start it off with the arrival of the Spaniards within the regions of Visayas, with its forefront Magellan leading the expedition of the Spaniards throughout the entirety of numerous islands that they have visited within the country. This Island of Visayas was home to numerous settlements many of which they interacted with. Magellan arrived at the area of Leyte within the year of 1521 after passing through the island of Homonhon, Samar to the very island of Leyte. The area they visited was named specifically Limasawa where the first mass of the religion of the Roman Catholics throughout the entire country was conducted. It was a town filled with agriculture, where the main product of work was from fishes to farmed foods and many others. The very first name of the Limasawa island in latey was Mazaua, where the name of the area was change in a very unique way. According to sources online the name was change because of the misunderstandings between the Spaniards and the natives of the country. The misunderstanding is quite amusing, because of the mistake of understanding by the natives. Magellan asked about what the name of the area or the place is called, when the natives of the island mistakenly understood the question as the number of wives the Rajah, the one ruling the island has. The answer was that the Rajah has five wives, loosely translated to Filipino as “Lima’y Asawa”, hence the misunderstanding of the name became known to numerous people not only the Spaniards but through the natives as well. After this misconception the idea in which the name of the area was completely change from Mazaua to Limasawa.

Leyte within a similar situation to Mazaua was later then renamed as Felipina by Ruy Lopez De Villalobos a Spanish navigator serving under the King Philip of Spain within the month of February and the year 1543. The name of the entire area was later then given the entire region of the current Leyte of today.

Fast forward to world war two where the battle for Leyte occurred, often referred to as the Battle of Leyte Gulf, where a prominent American in Filipino history makes his appearance in the numerous books that was given to children. The name General Douglas McArthur is one of the most well-known soldiers that have ever fought to protect this country, where the quote “I shall return” is very much referenced into. This was during the second world war within the phase of the Japanese occupation in the entirety of the Philippines, where the Japanese army in Leyte was led by the General Tomoyuki Yamashita. The battle for Leyte occurred in the year 1944, where the war of the world was in the midst of closing where the new and more peaceful era would come following after. The war ended with the Allies winning the war and reclaiming the area from the hands of the Japanese once again.

During the era of the Marcos Regime, one of the most ambitious projects that could ever occur in the country was done during their time, and its effects is still being seen till today. Probably the longest bridge in the entire country of the Philippines, named San Juanico Bridge that connected to main islands of Visayas, both the regions of Samar and the region of Leyte. It was a bridge spanning from having a range 2.49 kilometers long. It was formerly named as the Marcos Bridge but was later then renamed into its current name as of today. The project itself was a project that costed millions of the budget of the Philippines and could be around having its worth as $21.9 million dollars. A project in which thousands of people would benefit from. It made the transportation of from both islands more easily and more accessible to the people. But despite all this the project is self was plagued with legends of about its constructions, where one of the most famous one is the abduction of kids where their blood was used to strengthen the metals throughout the entire bridge. The construction of the bridge lasted about the four years, from the years 1969 to 1973. It would then withstand one of the most devastating typhoons that would ever hit the country.

Typhoon Yolanda, commonly known as Typhoon Haiyan Internationally, was probably one of the most unforgettable disasters that ever occurred in the country. The typhoon killed countless of lives, traumatized thousands if not millions of people that viewed and experienced the horror that unfolded in front of their very eyes. Millions of people not only Filipinos helped in containing the after of what it became. Different organizations, and different countries donated millions of dollars and other relief packages. International organization such as United Nations donated $25 Million and countries like USA, Australia, Japan, and other countries also helped.

5 years after the typhoon Yolanda, Leyte has undergone major development by the local governments, national governments,and international non-profit organization. Tacloban has developed into a whole new modernized city such as the once old Mcdo building became modernized years after the said event. Leyte province regained its economic status in the country.

History of Laguna

The Province of Laguna was named after Laguna de Bay, the waterway that shapes its northern limit. Laguna de Bay, thus, was named after the town of Bay (Laguna de Bay is Spanish which signifies “Pool of Bay”), the main commonly accepted capital. Captain Juan de Salcedo with a band of one hundred Spanish-Mexican officers and numerous Bisayan comrades vanquished the territory and its encompassing locales for Spain in 1571. After seven years, two Franciscan monks began conversion by Christianization.

In 1577, the Franciscan teachers touched base in Manila, and in 1578 they began evangelizing Laguna, Morong (presently Rizal), Tayabas (presently Quezon) and the Bicol Peninsula. Fathers Juan de Placencia and Diego de Orepesa were the first Franciscans sent to these spots. From 1580, the towns of Bay, Caliraya, Majayjay, Nagcarlan, Liliw, Pila, Santa Cruz, Lumban, Pangil and Siniloan were established. In 1678, Fray Hernando Cabrera established San Pablo de los Montes (presently San Pablo City) and contracted a wooden church and religious community considered as the best and best in the region.

In 1670, delimitation of borders were made between Lucban, Majayjay and Cavite. The populous town at that time was Bay, the capital of the province until 1688, when the seat of the provincial government was moved to Pagsanjan, and later, in 1858, to Santa Cruz.

The region turned into a ravenous fight for ground for the Chinese amid the two occasions that they ascended in rebellion against Spain. In the 160o’s, the Chinese made their last remain in the mountains of San Pablo, and in 1639, they strengthened themselves in the good countries of Cavinti and Lumban, surrendering in Pagsanjan a year later.

The steadfastness of the general population of Laguna to the crown was tried amid the British intrusion (1762-1764) when a huge number of Filipinos mobilized to its guard. At the point when a unit of British troops under Captain Thomas Backhouse entered the area looking for the silver payload of the ship Filipino, Francisco de San Juan of Pagsanjan drove a band of volunteers that battled them in a few commencements in and around the town which was then the commonplace capital (1688-1858). Chief Backhouse ravaged the town and consumed its recently recreated church however San Juan prevailing with regards to getting away with the valuable crowd to Pampanga where the fortune enormously reinforced the barrier exertion of Simon Anda. For his valor, San Juan was made a detachment leader and alcalde city hall leader of Tayabas (presently Quezon) area.

The general population’s steadfastness step by step declined into severe antagonistic vibe. Grave maltreatment by the colonizers, including that of the ministry, made the disdain of the locals be fanned into a rising surge of revolt. In 1840 for example, religious prejudice drove the general population of Majayjay, Nagcarlan, Bay, and Biñan to join the revolt of Hermano Pule (Apolinario de la Cruz) of Lucban, Tayabas.

Dr. Jose Rizal, who was conceived in Calamba. The pursecution of Dr. Jose Rizal and his folks toward the century’s end additionally exasperated the circumstance, so that by 1896, a large number of enthusiastic occupants, particularly of Bay, Los Baños, Nagcarlan, Magdalena, Santa Cruz, and Pagsanjan had joined the progressivevly growing Katipunan.

Laguna was one of the eight provinces to rise in revolt against the Spanish misrule led by Generals Paciano Rizal of Calamba, Severino Taino of Pagsanjan, Agueda Kahabagan (woman general) of Calauan, and Miguel Malvar of Batangas. The ill-equipped Filipino forces fought the well-armed enemy until on August 31, 1898, when the last Spanish garrison surrendered to the victorious patriots in Santa Cruz. The province was cleared of Spaniards. There had been only one respite, the Pact of Biac-na-Bato on December 14 to 15, 1897.

Laguna actively supported the first Philippine Republic proclaimed at Malolos on January 23, 1899. Her two delegates to the Malolos Congress, Don Higino Benitez and Don Graciano Cordero, were natives of Pagsanjan.

Upon the outbreak of the Filipino-American War (1899-1901), General Juan Cailles and General Paciano Rizal led the defense of Laguna until June 30, 1901, when surrender became inevitable. Cailles became the first Filipino Governor of Laguna under the American flag.

The Province of Laguna progressed rapidly in peace. Roads were built, schools were established, and in 1917, the Manila Railroad Company extended its line to Laguna as far as Pagsanjan.

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines (1942-1945), Laguna was a center of Filipino resistance despite the presence of Makapili collaborators. Beginning in 1945, attacks by the Filipino soldiers and Filipino guerillas against Japanese forces in Laguna increased in anticipation of the Liberation of the Philippines by the Filipino & American forces.

Present-day Laguna shows a thriving economy. Peopled by 1,734,618 (1997 estimated population) industrious citizens and possessing a total area of 1760 km² of land, Laguna produces millions of pesos worth of coconuts, rice, sugar, citrus fruits, lanzones and other products. Tourists flock to its beauty spots, especially Pagsanjan Falls, Los Baños Hot Springs, Makiling National Park, Caliraya Lake and many others. Levels of development vary. The towns near Metro Manila have become industrialized whereas the inner towns continue to engage in agricultural production or pursue agri-based industries and cottage and small-scale industries.

Laguna was one of the first sites of the Philippine Revolution. Calamba City is the birthplace of José Rizal, the country’s national hero.


Cite this paper

Local History of Leyte and Laguna . (2020, Nov 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/local-history-of-leyte-and-laguna/



What is the history of Leyte?
Leyte is a province in the Philippines that played a significant role in the country's history. It was the site of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which was considered the largest naval battle in World War II.
What is the history of Southern Leyte?
The province of Southern Leyte was established on May 1, 1959. It is located in the southeastern part of Leyte Island and consists of the southern and eastern parts of the island.
Where did Leyte name came from?
Leyte is named after the Spanish province of the same name. It was originally called "Kanlaon" after the highest mountain in the area.
Why is Leyte known as land of history?
Equality and liberty are related because they are both essential principles of democracy. Equality is the principle that everyone is equal under the law, and liberty is the principle that everyone has the right to freedom and self-determination.
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