Region VIII Region VIII


Eastern Visayasencompasses the two large islands of Leyte and Samar, the province of Biliran and several minor islands. This region is the eastern boundary of the Philippines. The San Bernardino Strait separates Eastern Visayas from Luzon in the southeast while the Surigao Strait separates the province of Leyte from the northeastern part of Mindanao. The Visayan and Camotes Seas separate the region from the rest of the Visayas. On the east, the region faces the Pacific Ocean. The San Juanico Strait separates the islands of Samar and Leyte. The terrain of the two large islands is entirely different. Leyte has a high peaked mountain mass in the interior while Samar has low rugged hills interspersed with valleys.


As of August 1, 2007, the total population of the region was 3,912,936. This increased by 1.12% from its population of 3,610,355 in May 1, 2000.


Region VIII is inhabited by the Waray-Warays, the country’s fourth largest cultural linguistic group. Cebuanos from the nearby island of Cebu live in Ormoc City, Western Leyte and parts of the Southwest of Leyte.


The eastern portion of the region is frequently visited by storms from the Pacific Ocean. The region receives heavy rainfall throughout the year with no pronounced dry season.


Eastern Visayas is primarily an agricultural region with rice, abaca, corn, coconut, sugarcane and banana as major crops. Its total land area is 21,431.7 sq. kms. 52% of its total land area is classified as forestland and 48% as alienable and disposable land.


The region’s sea and inland waters are rich sources of salt and fresh water fish and other marine products. It is one of the fish exporting regions of the country. There are substantial forest reserves in the interiors of the islands. Its mineral deposits include chromite, nickel, clay, coal, limestone, pyrite and sand and gravel. It has abundant geothermal energy and water resources to support the needs of medium and heavy industries.


Primary sources of revenue are manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade and services. Mining, farming, fishing and tourism contribute significantly to the economy. Manufacturing firms include mining companies, fertilizer plants, sugar central, rice and corn mills and other food processing plants. Cebu is the hub of investment, trade and development in the region. Other industries include mining, rice, corn and sugar milling, coconut oil extraction, alcohol distilling, beverage manufacture and forest products. Home industries include hat and basket weaving, metal craft, needlecraft, pottery, ceramics, woodcraft, shell craft and bamboo craft. The region receives the “spillover” from Cebu’s industrial and eco-tourism activities Leyte is planned to become an industrial hub of the region with the development of the following industrial estates and centers:

Leyte Industrial Development Estate
Amihan Cebu Woodlands township
Eastern Visayas Regional Agri-industrial Growth Center
Barugo Economic Zone
Leyte Provincial Industrial Center in Ormoc City
Baybay Techno Science Par

Government Offices
Department of Trade and Industry 
Department of Environment and Natural Resources 
Department Of Health 
Department of Science and Technology 
Department of Public Works and Highways 
Population Commission



Region VIII Biliran

[The Province of Magnificent Islands]
Capital : Naval
Area Size : 555 km²
Population : 132,210


In 1768, the Jesuit missions in Leyte were assigned to the Augustinians until 1804 when some of the parishes were ceded to the secular clergy and the others (those on the eastern coast of Leyte, Biliran, which was given to the diocesan clergy) to the Franciscans.


During the Second World War, the Japanese Imperial Forces landed at Barrio Pinamopo-an in the Municipality of Capoocan, Leyte. A few days later the islands of Leyte and Biliran were occupied by the enemy. When the American and Filipino troops surrendered in 1942, many civilians and members of the armed forces in Leyte fled to the hills in order to engage in guerrilla warfare. Biliran Island was under the control of the 1st Battalion commanded by Captain Antonio Cinco. The island is originally known as Panamao where it was then under the jurisdiction of Leyte. On April 8, 1959, Republic Act 2141 created the Province of Biliran. The law was later amended by Republic Act No. 5977, enacted on June 21, 1969, and by Republic Act No. 6415, approved on October 4, 1971, it became a regular province.

Region VIII Eastern Samar

The Land of Good Harbors


Capital : Borongan
Area Size : 4,340 km²
Population : 447,800


Eastern Samar was the first area of the Philippines sighted by Magellan on March 16, 1521. The lofty mountains of Zamal as called by Magellan’s crew are the mountain ranges that separate the province from Western Samar and Northern Samar. The Spaniards, however, anchored at the tiny island of Homonhon on the southern side of the province. During the early days of Spanish rule, the Province of Samar, (of which Eastern Samar was a part) was called “Ibabao”. It was under the political and ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Cebu. Samar was made a separate province from Cebu in 1768. From its capital, Catbalogan, the administration of the encomiendas in the eastern coast was controlled. Samar was divided into three provinces, namely: Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Western Samar, by virtue of Republic Act No. 4221. The Law was overwhelmingly ratified in a plebiscite on November 9, 1965.

Region VIII Leyte

Mahaba Island: An Underwater Paradise

Capital : Tacloban City
Area Size : 6,268 km²
Population : 1,685,270

In 1521, Magellan sailed from the island of Homonhon, Samar to the island of Limasawa, Leyte, where the first recorded blood compact was held between Rajah Kolambu and Magellan on March 29 of the same year. Leyte was named “Felipina” by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, the Spanish navigator, after King Philip of Spain, in February 1543. The name was later given to the whole archipelago. Leyte suffered from the separate raids of Muslims Sultans, Pagdalanum Buhiran and Kudarat, and Suluans. Aside from the Muslim raids, Datu Bankaw of Limasawa and his son Pagali, revolted against the Spanish conquistadors but superior Spanish arms quelled them. In 1735, it became a politico-military province, with Samar under its jurisdiction. Samar and Leyte were separated in 1768. The first capital of Leyte was Carigara then Palo, Tanauan, and finally, Tacloban. During the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese Imperial Forces, the American troops led by General Douglas MacArthur and President Sergio Osmena landed at Palo, Leyte on October 20, 1944.

Region VIII Southern Leyte


Capital : Maasin City
Area Size : 1,734.8 km²
Population : 390,000


Father of the Province of Southern Leyte : Hon. Congressman Nicanor E. Yñiguez rough House Bill No. 1318.
Legal Basis of the Creation of the Province of southern Leyte: Republic Act No. 2227 signed by President Carlos P. Garcia on May 22, 1959, Friday at 10:00 o’clock in the morning.
Effective Date of the Creation of the Province of Southern Leyte: July 1, 1960

Original Administrative Composition:
There were 16 municipalities and 349 barangays with Maasin as the Provincial Capital and the Seat of the Provincial Government. These municipalities and barangays were the following:

Name of Municipality No. of Barangays
1.   Anahawan 13
2.   Bontoc 33
3.   Cabalian 13
4.   Hinunangan 35
5.   Hinundayn 17
6.   Libagon 9
7.   Liloan 9
8.   Maasin 59
9.   Macrohon 20
10.  Malitbog 22
11.  Padre Burgos 9
12.  Pintuyan 27
13.  St. Bernard 24
14..San Francisco 2
15.  Silago 13
16.. Sogod 40


The first Leaders of the Province of Southern Leyte:

Governor: Hon. Alfredo K. Bantug
Vice-Governor: Hon. Graciano H. Kapili
Senior Board Member: Hon. Isabelo Kaindoy
Board Member: Hon. Generoso M. Herrera

Composer of the Lyrics of the Southern Hymn: Dr. Angel Beaunoni Espina
Composer of the Tune/Music of the Southern Leyte Hymn: Dr. Jesus Bacala
Provincial Flower: Orchid (Variety-Intermedia, Family-Phaleanopsis)

Meaning of the Provincial Flag:

The Green Background – identifies Southern Leyte as an agricultural province where majority of its people derive their livelihood from the products of the soil.
The Golden Trimmings – suggests golden harvest, not so much as an assurance, as it is an expression of a common prayer and a hope in the face of the unpredictable elements of nature and vagaries of chance.
The Cross – is an illusion to its past in connection with the First Christian Mass on the Philippine soil which was celebrated at Limasawa Island.
The coconut and abaca leaves – represents the two major agricultural products of the province from which majority of the people derive their livelihood.
The four Orchid Flowers – represents the major areas into which the province is divided namely: Maasin, Macrohon, and Padre Burgos Area; Sogod Bay Area; Pacific Area and Panaon Area.

The Meaning of the Provincial Seal:

Two Hands in a Handclasp – connotes friendship and hospitality, in broader sense, it means the proverbial meeting of the East and the West (one hand belongs to a native while the other belongs to a foreigner-Spaniard)
The Cross and the Spanish Galleons – are illusions to its past, the discovery of the Philippines by Ferdinand Magellan in the Seville of the Spanish Crown and the First Christian Mass on Philippine soil on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1521 at Limasawa Island.
The Coconut and Abaca Leaves – represents the two major agricultural products of the province from which majority of the people derive their livelihood.

July 1, 1960 – the effective date of the R.A. 2227 – An Act Creating the Province of Southern Leyte.

Recent Administrative Composition of the Province of Southern Leyte:
Number of Cities: 1
Number of Municipalities: 18
Number of Barangays: 500
Number of islands within its jurisdiction: 4 (San Pedro and San Pablo Islands in Hinunangan, Panaon Island , and Limasawa Island)
Provincial Capital and Seat of Provincial Government: Maasin City
Number of municipalities within 100 km. radius from Maasin City: 8
Number of municipalities outside the 100 km. radius from Maasin City: 10


So. Leyte is one of the six provinces in Region 8 or Eastern Visayas Region.
It is approximately located within the geographic coordinates of 9?52’ to 10?37’ North Latitude and 124?45’ to 125?15’ East Longitude
It is about 1 hour by air transport from NAIA-Manila Airport to Tacloban City Airport and 3 -4 hours mega taxi ride from Tacloban to Maasin City.
It is about 1 hour by air transport from NAIA-Manila Airport to Mactan International Airport in Cebu Province, about 30 minutes taxi ride from Mactan Airport to Cebu City Port and about 6 hours slow boat ride from Cebu City Port to Maasin City Port or about 2 hours fast craft ride from Cebu City Port to Hilongos and/or Bato Port, Leyte to Maasin City.
It is about 36 hours land transport from Pasay City or Cubao, Quezon City to Maasin City.

North : Leyte Province
South: Mindanao Sea and Surigao Strait
West: Canigao Channel or Visayas Sea
East: Pacific Ocean

Region VIII Northern Samar


Capital : Catarman
Area Size : 3,498 km²
Population : 549,759

Northern Samar is one of the three provinces comprising Samar Island. It was created on June 19, 1965 through the issuance of Republic Act 4221, “Providing for the Division of Samar Island into Three Provinces: Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar”.

The province is located in the eastern part of the Philippine Archipelago, bounded on the north by the San Bernardino Strait, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the west by the Samar Sea, and on the south by Samar. It is composed of 24 municipalities and 569 barangays covering a total land area of 3,692.9 square kilometers. Catarman is the provincial capital andcenter of trade and commerce.

Northern Samar is strategically located as the gateway to Visayas and Mindanao from Luzon. It is 743 kilometers from Manila and can be reached by 1 hour and 20 minutes plane ride to Catarman or 14 hours bus travel through the Pan Philippine Highway passing Bicol Region and traversing San Bernardino Strait via ferry boat in the primary ports of San Isidro and Allen, from Matnog, Sorsogon. The route to Mindanao is through Tacloban City, being connected to Northern Samar by the famous San Juanico Bridge, via ferryboat in Liloan, Southern Leyte to Surigao.

In the 2007 Census of Population, the province registered a total population of 549,759, posting an average annual growth rate of 1.3 percent. Its population density is recorded at 149 persons per square kilometer. Majority speak Waray dialect, along with Inabaknon, which is predominantly spoken in Capul Island.

The province is endowed with metallic minerals such as copper, aluminum and bauxite which can be found particulary in Biri, Mapanas and San Isidro.

Major agricultural crops include coconut, abaca, palay, rootcrops and other subsistence crops. Its rich fishing grounds produce spanish mackerel, grouper, tuna, big-eyed scad, round scad, herring, anchovies and salmon. Other aquatic products include cattlefish, crabs, shrimps, squid and lobsters.

Northern Samar is famous for its natural rock formations found in Biri Island and white silky sand beaches in San Jose and Lavezares. A visit to the century old church in Capul Island brings you to the 16th century. Only missionary fervour made possible the building of this church on this island.

Region VIII Samar


Capital : Calbayog City
Area Size : 5,591 km²
Population : 695,000
Samar is one of the three provinces that comprise the Samar Island (the third largest island in the country). It is bounded in the east by Eastern Samar; on the north by Northern Samar; on the south by the Leyte Gulf and on the west by the Samar Sea.

The province has a total land area of 5,591.0 square kilometers. It is composed of two cities (Calbayog and Catbalogan); 24 municipalities and 951 barangays. Catbalogan is the province' capital.

Based on the 2007 Census on Population, its total population reached to 695,149 resulting to a population density of 114.9 persons per square kilometer.

The average household size of the province is 5.

In October 2002, its labor force participation rate was posted at 76.4%, with an employment rate of 93.8%.

Samar is the second major fish producing province in the region. In 2007, its fish production totalled to 47,662 metric tons, contributing 24.9 % to the region's total fish production.

Samar also boasts of beautiful natural attractions. Some of these include: waterfalls in Calbayog City; the Sohoton National Park in the town of Basey where three famous cave can be found; and the world's second largest cave, Calbiga Cave which is located in the town of Calbiga.



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