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.
This pioneer city of Leyte and first non-provincial capital
city of the Philippines, Ormoc City, is bounded on the north by
the town of Kananga, on the south by Albuera, on the east by the
stately Amandiwing mountain range and on the west by the romantic
Long before the Spaniards set foot on Philippine soil, a
handful of Malayan families lived in a small settlement called
OGMOK, an old Visayan term for lowland or depressed plain. Ogmok
was also the name of a spring located between Donghol and
Mahayag. The name Ormoc, evidently, is the variation of the
original name and came into use with the coming of the Spanish
conquistadores and the influx of people from the neighboring
towns and islands to settle in its fertile plain.
The primitive Malayans had some well-developed trade and
commerce with the Chinese, Javanese and Indonesians who
frequented the island in their junks, vintas and sailboats.
Pigafetta, the Spanish historian, mentioned Ogmok in the
chronicles as one place in Leyte where Magellan passed in search
of food and water in March, 1521.
In August 1556, Spanish missionaries Fathers Pedro Chirino,
Alonzo Rodriguez, Leonardo Colsi and others arrived in Ogmok and
were met by local chieftains whose courtesy and friendliness
impressed the visitors. The date marked the conversion of the
Ogmokanons to Christianity.
Ogmok could not attain material progress from 1556 onwards
because of the constant harassment by Moro pirates who robbed and
plundered the town every now and then. The Malayans of Ogmok,
Baybay and Palompon (mother town of Ormoc) established a
communication system designed to warn the inhabitants of the
presence of Moro vintas sighted far out at sea. This consisted of
"runners" from watch towers built for the purpose of
looking out for these dreaded vessels.
On December 3, 1634, the notorious pirate Katsil Kulanat
(Kudarat) invaded Ogmok fresh form his conquests of the towns of
Sogod, Kabalian, Kanamokan (now Inopacan) and Baybay. Fifty brave
Ogmokanons fought the invaders furiously but were annihilated by
sheer superiority of arms and number of the enemies. The
defenders were all massacred inside the fort that defended the
town. The marauders then ransacked the town, carted everything
they could lay their hands on, put the town to the torch and took
ten capitanes with them after killing hundreds of the inhabitants
including Father Carpio, the parish priest and wounding hundreds
On February 26,1834, Ormoc was separated from her mother town
of Palompon and was created as a distinct municipality. The
following month, March, 1834. Saw the formal inauguration of the
Ormoc Catholic parish with Rev. Fr. Bibiano Luciano as the first
curate. The ecclesiastical line of succession is as follows.
Rev. Fr. Bibiano Luciano, 1834-39; Catalino Cabada, 1849-67;
Seferino Montecillo, 1867-73; Juan Seno, 1873-92; Lino Codilla,
1892-1910; Ismael Catang, (Ormocanon), 1910-44; Cenon Ocampo,
1945-47; Felis Sabenico, 1947-54; Federico Copuaco, 1954-59;
Francisco Santiago; Felimon Quianzon, 1971 to the present.
Immediately after the creation of Ormoc as a Municipio in
1834, one Sofronio Cabiling was appointed Capitan to head the
When the first Americans arrived in Ormoc after the defeat of
Admiral Montojo's Spanish armada in Manila Bay by the American
fleet under Commodore Dewey, an Ormocanon by the name of Faustino
Ablen led a fanatical resistance group whose spears and bolos
proved useless against the modern arms and greater number of the
At the turn of the century, with the termination of the civil
government, the Ormoc town executive assumed the title of
On November 15, 1935, the Commonwealth Government came into
existence. The town executive got the title Alcalde Municipal
mayor. Under this category, the following mayors served the
municipality of Ormoc:
Victorio Laurente, second term, 1938-1941; Catalino
Hermocilla, 1941-1943; he was replaced by Jose Codilla appointed
by the Japanese government, 1943-1944; Potenciano Larrazabal,
appointed by the Resistance Government 1944-1945; Porfiri Ayuyao,
appointed, 1945-1946 and Dr. Wenceslao Pongos, 1946-1947.
Republic Act No. 179 created the City of Ormoc. The late first
President of the Philippine Republic, Manuel A. Roxas proclaimed
Ormoc a City on September 4,1947. As a chartered political
subdivision it was formally inaugurated on October 20,1947, three
years to the day when U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur
fulfilled his promise to the Filipino people when he said "
I shall return," and liberated them from the Japanese.
The appointive mayors were: By President Roxas: Marcelo
Bandalan, 1947-48; by Presiden Quirino: Inaki Larrazabal,
1948-49; Atty. Lucilo Gon-ui, 1949-53; Inaki Larrazabal, second
term, 1953-54; By President Magsaysay: Atty. Roberto Almaden,
January to May, 1954; Atty. Teodolo Tandayag, 1954-55; Atty.
Vicente Torres, September to October 1955; Potenciano Larrazabal,
1955-57; by President Garcia: Atty. Esteban Conejos, last
From a small town of dirt roads and a few asphalted streets of
the 1950's, Ormoc has metamorphosed into a modern and progressive
city with concrete and wide streets, national roads and bridges,
hospitals and clinics fully equipped (both government and
private), airport facilities, banking and financing institutions,
educational and commercial establishments, housing projects,
factories and industrial plants.