The History of Towns in Region VIII, Philippines
These histories were taken from the book Leyte Towns, Histories/Legends by Francisco S. Tantuico Jr of Tacloban City. Click on a town and view the history below the menu.
The small and quiet town of Matag-ob lies within the mountain ranges of Ormoc City, Palompon and Villaba. The town is marked by two rivers which meet at the entrance to the poblacion. To the townspeople, these two separate elements uniting as one or "nagtig-ob" echo their love for unity and this is where the name Matag-ob came about.
Matag-ob is surrounded by 18 barangays with a total land area of 13,806 hectares. Its 18 barangays are: Sto. Rosaraio, San Vicente, Balagtas, Naulayan, Mansahon, Cansoso, San Dionisio, Riverside, Mansalip, Bonoy, Talisay, and Masaba.
The town is accessible by land transportation through the Ormoc-Palompon road which serves as the town's link to progress. The development of Matag0ob started when around 19 kaingineros from Palompon, Leyte (its mother town) made ventures to develop the place. They were considered the first settlers. Matag-ob remained a barrio under the jurisdiction of Palompon until August 1957 when the people knew it was time for them to acquire political independence.
Basically, the economy of Matag-ob is agricultural with rice, coconut, and sugar cane as its principal products. A stranger to the place is at once aware of its fertile soil, favorable climate and its topographic characteristics. This accounts for 90-95 percent of its labor force being engaged in farming and other agricultural activities.
The completion of the Hilongos Development Corporation (HIDECO) at Kananga, Leyte (the first municipality east of Matag-ob) triggered the people's move to turn the cogonal and idle hands into sugar plantations. This has hastened the municipality's socio-economic growth.
The Matag-obanons, are known for their being industrious and having a strong determination for development. The growth of the place from a barrio to a municipality is a story of how a united group of people can work together for improvement. The people of Matag-ob are hospitable and happy despite daily toil in their farms. These characteristics can easily be discerned by visitors to the region. The people are also scientific and open-minded. This can be traced to the way they started with crude kaingin methods to the present-day mechanized farming.
Matag-ob is one of the food-producing municipalities of Leyte with a substantial production of rice yearly. Other farm products such as vegetables and root crops are likewise produced. These are marketed in the town poblacion to be brought to Ormoc City, Palompon, Leyte, and other neighboring towns and cities.
The proximity of the place to the island of Cebu is responsible for the people's socio-cultural values. This means the language, food, and their way of life.