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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.

Leyte Hilongos MacArthur Tanauan
Abuyog Hinunangan Mahaplag Tolosa
Alang-alang Hinundayan Matag Tunga
Albuera Inopacan Matalom Villabas
Babatngon Isabel Mayorga
Barugo Javier Ormoc City Biliran
Bato Julita Palo Almeria
Baybay Kananga Palompon Biliran
Bontoc Jaro Pastrana Cabucgayan
Burauen La Paz San Isidro Caibiran
Capoocan Leyte San Miguel Culaba
Carigara Libagon Santa Fe Kawayan
Dagami Liloan Tabango
Dulag Maasin Tacloban City

La Paz

The legend of La Paz, bordering on fiction and history, is an interesting one.

It is said that long ago, a fisherman from Samar named Capuyong came to Abuyog to market his catch. There he met and fell in love with Casinas and they were married according to pre-Spanish customs. After marriage, they left Abuyog to look for a place in which to live.

Coming to a river that is now called Gibuga, they followed its source until they reached a tributary that was named Cabadyangan River where they decided to stay. They had three children: Garcia, Gabic and Badol. Gabic left for Hindang, while Badol settled in Dagami. Garcia, the eldest, stayed home. He married a certain Agustina of Abuyog with whom he had 18 children.

Meanwhile, the Spaniards had settled in Abuyog. They found it difficult to convert Casinal and Capuyong to Christianity. The couple clung obstinately to their religion. Condemned to die for refusing to embrace the new religion, they were tied to a jar full of stones and flung off the coast of Dulag.

Only a few families, descendants of Capuyong and Casinas, inhabited Cabadyangan until 1876. Criminals from the neighboring town of Burauen found a perfect haven in the forests of Cabadyangan. Teniente Paulino (Pauk) Camasin of Burauen heard that the culprits hid in the forest of Cabadyangan and he decided to pursue them.

While he was there, he noticed the fertility of the soil and was attracted by the virgin forests of the region. When he returned to Burauen, he told the people there about the "land of promise" that he saw. The Burauen people were fascinated by the prospect of the new land that they decided to settle there. A sitio was born and among those who settled there was Capitan Estefanio de Paz of Dulag.

A chapel was built in the sitio before 1886. The chapel was called "rosaryohan." Spanish missionaries visited this place to teach the natives the doctrine. However, the people had to go to Dulag for the Holy Week and days of obligation in order to attend mass.

Teniente Pauk Camasin in the meantime had married Fermina, a descendant of Capulong and Casinas. They were childless for nine years. They prayed hard for a child and promised that they would secure an image for "rosaryohan" if their prayers were answered. Fermina dreamt of our Lady of Peace (Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje). In that dream, their prayers were answered. A few months later, a child was born to a very happy couple.

True to their promise, they sailed to Manila to secure an image of Our Lady of Peace. When the parish priest of Burauen heard of the incident, he ordered that the image be brought to his church immediately. But the people of Cabadyangan had learned to love the image that they believed to be miraculous. Upon the orders of the Burauen parish priest, the image was brought to the church there but after a few days the image disappeared. The next day, after it was believed stolen, the image was found in her rightful place at the Chapel of Cabadyangan.

As often as the image was ordered back to Burauen, so often did the people of Cabadyangan steal the image and return their beloved Lady of Peace to their chapel.

One day, the presence of "amor seco" at the hem of the dress of Our Lady caused a stir in the sitio. Our Lady had not been brought to the chapel by human hands. She had come to the barrio chapel by herself. At the same time, the parish priest of Burauen dreamt that should the image be ordered back to Burauen, some mysterious punishment would be brought upon him. From that time on, Our Lady of Peace remained in her chapel.

Until then, the sitio was named Cabadyangan. When the question of official name came up, the people unanimously selected the name "La Paz" -in honor of their beloved patroness.

The first hermana mayor was Victoriano Relano in 1908 when the first celebration of the fiesta in honor of the "Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje" was held.

At first, La Paz was made a barrio of Burauen in 1903. Capitan Estefanio de Paz was the first teniente del barrio. Three leaders went to Manila to petition to the central government to raise La Paz to the status of a municipality. With the help of provincial leaders, La Paz was declared a fourth class town in 1918.

On July 14, 1942, the Japanese forces invaded La Paz. A company of soldiers occupied the town with their garrison at the central school building. Because guerrillas constantly harassed them, the troops stayed in La Paz for only three weeks. However, one month later, more troops came. They constructed strong trenches around the school site. The Japanese abolished existing political parties and formed the "Kalibapi." They organized the local government and appointed a puppet mayor.

The Japanese tried to control the whole population of La Paz and organized the neighborhood associations in the poblacion as well as in the barrios.

Schools were opened with emphasis on Nippongo, the Japanese language and the Asiatic ideologies.

Guerrillas infiltrated the town to learn about the enemy strength that was considered important information for the coming liberation. Many La Paznons risked their lives on these dangerous missions.

In 1945, La Paz was liberated. Guided by their patroness, the people of La Paz expanded to its present status. It now encompasses 28 barrios in a total land area of 13,200 hectares.

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