Guiuan, Eastern Samar

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Guiuan's Lugay Street in 2016
Guiuan's Lugay Street in 2016
Map of Eastern Samar with Guiuan highlighted
Map of Eastern Samar with Guiuan highlighted
Guiuan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 11°02′N 125°44′E / 11.03°N 125.73°E / 11.03; 125.73Coordinates: 11°02′N 125°44′E / 11.03°N 125.73°E / 11.03; 125.73
Country Philippines
Region Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)
Province Eastern Samar
Congr. district Lone district of E. Samar
Barangays 60
 • Mayor Cristopher Sheen P. Gonzales
 • Total 175.49 km2 (67.76 sq mi)
Population (2015 census)[3]
 • Total 52,991
 • Density 300/km2 (780/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 6809
Dialing code +63 (0)55

Guiuan (IPA: ['ghee.wan]) is a first-class municipality in the province of Eastern Samar, Philippines. As of the 2015 census, it had a population of 52,991 people.[3]

Guiuan played a significant part in Philippine history. In the 16th century, when Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines, it is believed that he first landed on the island of Homonhon. It is probably because of this that the majority of the population of the town are Catholics. The town's church, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, is one of the oldest in the country.

During the Second World War, Guiuan served as one of the Alliance's bases. Now all that is left of the American occupation are concrete slabs which once served as the foundations of a vast supply depot, and an air strip, which now serves as the town's own airport.

As well as a rich historical background, Guiuan has many scenic spots. Being a coastal town on the Pacific side, the town has many white-sand beaches that are suitable for swimming and surfing.

The Guiuan Church is currently in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension). A proposal has been suggested by scholars to make a separate UNESCO inclusion for the Old Centre of Guiuan which includes the Guiuan Church. The same would be made for other churches listed in UNESCO's tentative sites, where each town plaza and surrounding heritage buildings would be added. No government agency has yet to take action on the proposal.


Guiuan's shoreline

The municipality of Guiuan is located at the southernmost tip of Samar Island. It is bounded on the north by the municipality of Mercedes, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Surigao Strait, and on the west by the Leyte Gulf.

Clustered around the municipality are numerous islands and islets such as Manicani, Calicoan, Sulangan, Candulo, Homonhon, Suluan and Tubabao. They are protected as part of the marine reserve known as the Guiuan Protected Landscape and Seascape.

Guiuan is 109 kilometres (68 mi) south of Borongan and 154 kilometres (96 mi) from Tacloban. It has a total land area of 175.49 square kilometres. It is composed of sixty (60) barangays and the only town in the province with biggest number of island barangays.


Guiuan is politically subdivided into 60 barangays.[2]

  • Alingarog
  • Bagua
  • Banaag
  • Banahao
  • Baras
  • Barbo
  • Bitaugan
  • Bungtod
  • Bucao
  • Buenavista
  • Cagdara-o
  • Cagusu-an
  • Camparang
  • Campoyong
  • Cantahay
  • Casuguran
  • Cogon
  • Culasi
  • Gahoy
  • Habag
  • Hamorawon
  • Inapulangan
  • Lupok (Pob.)
  • Mayana
  • Ngolos
  • Pagbabangnan
  • Pagnamitan
  • Poblacion Ward 1
  • Poblacion Ward 2
  • Poblacion Ward 3
  • Poblacion Ward 4
  • Poblacion Ward 4-A
  • Poblacion Ward 5
  • Poblacion Ward 6
  • Poblacion Ward 7
  • Poblacion Ward 8
  • Poblacion Ward 9
  • Poblacion Ward 9-A
  • Poblacion Ward 10
  • Poblacion Ward 11
  • Poblacion Ward 12
  • Salug
  • San Antonio
  • San Jose
  • San Pedro
  • Sapao
  • Sulangan
  • Suluan
  • Surok
  • Taytay
  • Timala
  • Trinidad
  • Victory Island
  • Canawayon
  • Dalaragan
  • Hagna
  • Hollywood
  • San Juan
  • Santo Niño
  • Tagporo


Guiuan is widely known for two significant events in history 423 years apart. In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan, first European to set foot on Philippine soil, landed in Homonhon, now part of Guiuan. In 1944, the American Forces landed on the island of Suluan where they fought their first battle in the Philippine territory three days before Gen. Mac Arthur stormed the beaches of Leyte.

The facade of Guiuan Church

The name of the town originated from its geographical location. The first settlers named the town “Guibang” when they discovered a sharp break in the mountain range (Tenigbang – partly chiseled off) which screens the town from the Pacific Ocean in the East. Subsequently, settlers modified its name to Guiuan.

The occurrence of World War II shook the town and people moved to the mountains to find comfort. On June 28, 1943, several Japanese soldiers set foot on Guiuan soil. Not as fearful and brutal as they were thought of by the local populace, a cordial relation soon existed between the conquered and the conquerors. Evacuees came down from the mountains and resumed a normal urban life.

Except for a few killings of suspected traitors by both Japanese, Filipino soldiers and local guerillas, not a drop of blood was shed needlessly. This made Guiuan one of the few places in the islands where World War II did not leave so many tragic memories.

The first sign of liberation of the town came on November 27, 1944, when a US Navy submarine chaser steamed the harbor for reconnaissance duty. On December 1, 1944, a fleet of LCTs, Liberty ships and barges poured into the Guiuan Bay to unload machines that was to transform Guiuan into one of the biggest Naval Bases in the Far East that time.

In 1952, the sitios of Talisay, Bagambang, Calamrisan, Lo-ok and Barawalti, belonging to Barrio Tubabao, were separated and created into the barrio of Trinidad.[4]

On November 10, 1978, Proclamation No. 1801 was issued declaring Guiuan as a Tourist Zone and Marine Reserve under the administration and control of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA).

On November 8, 2013, the city suffered heavy damage, along with 110 fatalities and over 3,625 injuries, as it was hit by the eye of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Philippine name Yolanda) with peak wind gusts near 380 km per hour (235 mph) and sustained wind speeds of 315 km per hour (195 mph). Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda first made landfall in the Philippines on Friday at 4:40am. [5]

Almost every building was heavily damaged or deroofed, including the designated typhoon shelters, the Catholic Church, hospital and gymnasium. However, one house in Lactason remained intact because of the owner's effort to hold it in place with her bare hands. The woman was later identified as Mana Maring, a morun (a Filipino delicacy)maker and vendor.


Population census of Guiuan
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1903 11,594 —    
1918 15,870 +2.12%
1939 23,110 +1.81%
1948 27,202 +1.83%
1960 22,881 −1.43%
1970 26,529 +1.49%
1975 28,709 +1.60%
1980 30,689 +1.34%
1990 33,825 +0.98%
1995 35,447 +0.88%
2000 38,694 +1.90%
2007 43,469 +1.62%
2010 47,037 +2.91%
2015 52,991 +2.30%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[3][6][7][8]

Guiuan recorded a total population of 38,694 in 2000, which rose to 47,037 in 2010 and 52,991 in 2015.[9] It has the second largest population in Eastern Samar (after Borongan) with a population density of 270 persons per km2.

Majority or 97.7% of the Guiuananons speak the Waray-Waray language. Less than 3.0% speak Cebuano (including the Boholano dialect) and Tagalog. A few percentage can converse in English, with varying degrees of proficiency.


Downtown Guiuan

Guiuan is classified as a second income class municipality as of CY 2008. Its Total Financial Resources amounted to 67.71 million pesos. Its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) represents 78.0% of its total financial resources.

Being a fishing community and the only municipality with the most number of island barangays, the town is rich in fishery and aquatic resources. It is considered by the fisheries authorities as the best fishing belt in the region.

The coastal waters offer almost all species of marine life: euchuema, abalone, ornamental fish, lobster and the golden cowry (known for its extraordinary golden sheen). They also offer delicacies, shellcraft products as well as fresh and processed marine products.

Existing land use indicates a predominance of agriculture which covers 38.2% of the total land area. Most of the agricultural lands are dominantly planted with coconut trees. Other major crops include vegetables, root crops, palay, corn, banana and other fruit trees, coffee and pineapple.

The municipality is likewise rich in mineral resources. It has an estimated mineral reserve of bauxite, nickel and titaferous magnitie of more than 26.7 million metric tons.


By air

Guiuan Airport has a 2,800-metre (9,200-ft) runway which can service light private planes, chartered cargo and military planes. The Guiuan Airport was upgraded in 2010. Cebu-based airline Mid-Sea Express had scheduled flights from Cebu City to Guiuan twice weekly on Saturdays and Mondays, using a 19-seater Jetstream 32 aircraft. Service started in 2012 but has now been discontinued.

By land

The town is accessible by land with highway connection from Tacloban City, about three-four hours travel. Several buses and vans regularly shuttle passengers to Guiuan. It is also accessible from Borongan City. Alternatively, several bus companies have daily trips to Guiuan from Manila. Travel time is approximately twenty-one hours.

Since the town is a coastal municipality, it has a small seaport operational throughout the year.


Guiuan Plaza

Telephone companies operating in the municipality includes TELECOM, Globelines and Bayantel. Smart and Globe cellular phone companies are also operational.

In 2004, Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative (ESAMELCO) was able to energize Guiuan, Calicoan Island up to Sulangan covering 37 out of 60 barangays. Island barangays are served with electricity through generator sets either privately owned or operated by the barangay council. However, electricity shortages are frequent and subscribers experience weekly power failures, often lasting 24 hours.


  1. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: Eastern Samar". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Census of Population (2015). "Region VIII (Eastern Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016. 
  4. ^ "An Act Creating the Barrio of Trinidad, Guiuan, Province of Samar". Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region VIII (Eastern Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Census of Population (1995, 2000 and 2007). "Region VIII (Eastern Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City and Municipality. NSO. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Province of Eastern Samar". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  9. ^ "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 

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