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.
Caibiran is the easternmost town of Biliran Island, situated beside a bay, and known to be rich in sulfur, iron and manganese deposits. Its volcano last erupted in 1939. Aside from the Tinago River, Caibiran River, Manlabang River, and Tumalistis River, the town also has a hot spring noted for its medicinal value. The town almost faces the western mouth of San Juanico Strait.
Old folks cannot agree as to whether the first settlers came from Carigara, Biliran or Samar. At any rate, they are unanimous in their belief as to how Caibiran got its name: When it was first located by the mouth of the Caibiran River, the place teemed with lizards called "ibid" (iguanas in English) so that strangers passing by always referred to the settlement as Caibiran.
In the early 17th century, missionaries from Carigara were received with great joy. On February 22, 1782, when the town became a parish of Biliran, Caibiran was made a "visita." In 1828, Caibiran officially became a municipality.
In 1877, a sulfur mine was discovered in the Colorado Mountain, which was later known as Santa Rita. Owing to the frequency of typhoons to which the town was exposed, and a terrible cyclone, which destroyed the place, the site of the town was transferred to its present site under the leadership of Capitan Bibiano Maderazo. The transfer was not unopposed, as a serious controversy in the poblacion arose, with SeĆ±or Rostata heading the opposition. It took the Gobernadorcillo of Biliran to settle the disputed transfer. Finally, in October 1884, the Governor of Leyte authorized the transfer of the town site. The town had Saint James for its patron saint and celebrated his feast on July 25. At this period, Caibiran was noted for the superior quality of its abaca, tobacco, and copra.
During the early part of the Filipino-American war, this town was often disturbed by the "pulahans" from Samar. In fact, the "Insulares" and the "Pulahanes" had a brief encounter in the hills of Maurang.
The town soon prospered as a supplier of agricultural products to Tacloban.
Aside from the Maderazos and the Rostatas, Caibiran also had a Vicente Diaz as one-time governor of Leyte.
During the Japanese time, Caibiran was mainly a trading center, being near Samar and Carigara. The Japan army stationed a garrison for a time in the town with Capt. Kaida as commandant. The resistance movement was also active, starting out with a private force of a certain Capitan Chando which later became part of the Carigara guerilla unit.
When Culaba was created a town, several barrios of Caibiran were taken away from its territorial jurisdiction.