Inopacan, Leyte

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Map of Leyte with Inopacan highlighted
Map of Leyte with Inopacan highlighted
Inopacan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 10°30′N 124°45′E / 10.500°N 124.750°E / 10.500; 124.750Coordinates: 10°30′N 124°45′E / 10.500°N 124.750°E / 10.500; 124.750
Country Philippines
Region Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)
Province Leyte
Congr. district 5th district of Leyte
Barangays 20
 • Mayor Silvestre T. Lumarda
 • Total 94.62 km2 (36.53 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 19,904
 • Density 210/km2 (540/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 6522
Dialing code 53

Inopacan is a fourth class municipality in the province of Leyte, Philippines. In the south, it borders with the town of Hindang and Camotes Sea in the west. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 19,904 people.[3]

Apid and Mahaba Islands, part of the Cuatro Islas, are within the administrative jurisdiction of the municipality of Inopacan.


The name of the town is a namesake of a legendary winged hero named by the natives as “Inong pak-an”, according to old folks. But history tells that Inopacan is a new name of Canamocan which was a pre-Spanish settlement according to Lee W. Vance in his book, Tracing our Ancestor and the analytical understanding of the written manuscripts of the Jesuit missionaries in Leyte. However, it remains unaccepted despite that Canamocan was mentioned as now 'Inopacan' by some authors like Atty. Francisco Tantuico of the history of Baybay, Locsin on Ormoc's History, and Eduardo Makabenta Sr. on Carigara's History.


Inopacan is politically subdivided into 20 barangays.

  • Apid
  • Cabulisan
  • Caminto
  • Can-angay
  • Caulisihan
  • Conalum
  • De los Santos (Mahilum)
  • Esperanza
  • Guadalupe
  • Guinsanga-an
  • Hinabay
  • Jubasan
  • Linao
  • Macagoco
  • Maljo
  • Marao
  • Poblacion
  • Tahud
  • Taotaon
  • Tinago


Much of the documents that could be a good source for learning about the history of Inopacan were destroyed when the town hall as well as the parish church and its convent were leveled into rubbles as the Japanese war planes bombed these buildings during the World War II. But based on the account of Inopacnon elders and records from neighboring towns, Inopacan was once a barangay of Hindang. with Fernando Polistico (a Boholano) as the first appointed Capitan del Barrio, and was succeeded by Francisco Espinoza, and lastly by Agustín Kudéra before Inopacan became a town on December 06, 1892.

The name Inopacan came from the legendary person known as “Inong pak-an”, which means “Inong who have wings” or “winged Inong.” Inong was a mythical man who according to legend was a person who can ran very fast and jump up high over the trees and could hop from one place to another as in from hill to hill. Hence, he was thought to have wings. His story happened before the Spanish came to this place. His supernatural abilities is similar to olden esoteric arts called kamal or ilmu which was practiced by the early Muslim aristocrat in southern Mindanao. Kamal is taught by special masters and was effectively limited to members of the aristocracy. Inong could be a rajah or a sultan under the aristocratic lineage of either the endatuan or dumatus. This fit to his description being a leader of a pack of local warriors. He and his men protected the local villagers by driving away Moro bandits and the much dreaded giant snake that once lived in a cave. The cave has an entrance opening at the tip of a cape now called Baysahas (from “bay-sa-has”; Cebuano: balay sa halas), literally means “the house of snake”, a seaside limestone cave where the giant reptile used to live). The huge serpent was dreaded by the local villagers because it attacked their carabaos, cows, goats, pigs, dogs, and other animals especially when the snake was hungry. Even the fishermen who were on their sakayan (outriggered rowing canoe), or baruto (Visayan for small frail rowing boat), or the Muslim pirates who were on their pankos (sailboat) were not spared from the attack if they happened to pass by near the mouth of the cave. Until one night, under the light of a bright full moon, the snake was seen playing the trabungko, a brightly illuminating crystal ball. The snake tossed it up in the air while skimming the surface of the sea between the islets of Cuatro Islas. It is believed that the ball was a mystical amulet and has birtud (a magical power; the word was believed to be a localization of Spanish word virtud), and Inong was among those who saw the snake playing the trabungko.

The long search for the trabungko could be one of the reasons why Inong came to this place. Because of his desire to acquire the mystical ball, Inong chased the giant snake by hopping from his boat to one islet and another. Using his sword and shield and with the show of his supernatural strength, Inong fought the ferocious giant serpent. After a long fight, Inong disappeared along with the giant snake. Due of their subsequent disappearance, everybody thought that Inong succeeded in killing the giant snake. Few had told that Inong got the trabungko and lived a quiet life in a cave in the jungle on top of Mt. Sacrepante overlooking the nearby plains. Others accounted that they saw him on the hilly karst of what is now Brgy. Bulacan in the northeastern part of Hindang where many caves are found; or most probably, he went back to his origin in Mindanao bringing home the treasured trabungko.

There were some accounts of succeeding great tambalans (from Cebuano word tambalanan, a.k.a. albularyo, referred to as the local shaman or quack doctors in modern sense) before World War II that they happened to have an encounter with Inong in the mountains and network of caves in Inopacan that are connected with the caves in Bulacan, Hindang and to the Cuatro Islas. These tambalans said they had to pass a test such as solving a puzzle, complete a task or quest, or face a fight of strength with Inong, in order to receive more magical power from him. This kind of ordeal is typical of a special master who taught or passed knowledge of kamal to others.

Years later, back in the cave at the cape, there were fewer big snakes left in the Baysahas after the giant serpent disappeared. These are mostly sawa (Python). The snakes still grew big, and were feared by the local villagers. According to village elders, it was during World War II that the big snakes were decimated by Japanese forces. They were hunted down by trolling in the sea carcass and chunks of meat stuffed with bombs. The snakes took the bait and were blown. Today, there are no more reports of big snakes sighting in Baysahas. The cave still exists, its opening is already narrow and partly covered with stones and sands.


Sunset at Cuatro Islas.
Population census of Inopacan
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 16,894 —    
1995 18,864 +2.09%
2000 18,680 −0.21%
2007 19,276 +0.43%
2010 19,904 +1.17%
Source: National Statistics Office[3]


  1. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Province: Leyte". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 

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