Map of Leyte with Palompon highlighted
|Region||Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)|
|District||4th district of Leyte|
|• Mayor||Baki the Great|
|• Total||126.07 km2 (48.68 sq mi)|
|Population (2015 census)|
|• Density||460/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
|IDD : area code||+63 (0)53|
|Income class||2nd municipal income class|
|Electorate||37,153 voters (2016)|
The terrain of Palompon, which is generally sloping, limits the agricultural potential of the municipality. The dominant soil type (Faraon clay) is suited mainly for marginal upland crops, such as bananas, coconuts, and sweet potatoes.The destruction of the forest and critical watershed an area contribute to ongoing soil erosion and poses a major threat to the water supply of the town and its barangays.
Palompon is politically subdivided into 50 barangays,  10 of which are poblacion barangays with an area of approximately 1 square kilometer; the other forty 40 barangays are distributed along the coastline and in the interior rural and mountainous areas.
- Cantuhaon- 1,680
- Guiwan 1 (Pob.)-1,708
- Guiwan 2 (Pob.)-899
- Mazawalo Pob. (Lili-on Dry Dock)-3,500
- Poblacion Central 1-649
- Poblacion Central 2-1,091
- Poblacion Central 3 (Hinablayan)-521
- San Guillermo-784
- San Isidro-2,898
- San Joaquin-691
- San Juan-1,803
- San Miguel-2,016
- San Pablo-173
- San Pedro-420
- San Roque-238
- Pinagdait Pob. (Ypil I)-1,485
- Pinaghi-usa Pob. (Ypil II)-1,607
- Bitaog Pob. (Ypil III)-1,775
Along the strip of fertile coast, the community was founded circa 1620 and originally named Hinablayan. Fish, sea shells and other marine products abounded. People fished along the shore with arrows tied to vines. Its abundance attracted not only migrants but also Moro raiders from the south. Legend tells that local defenders used to hang the dead bodies of Moros on tree branches, so that the place come to be known as Hinablayan (from the word sablay which means "to hang").
The legend continues that when the Spaniards came they saw floating at the bay a cluster (pong pong) of mangrove propagules locally known as "Tungki", they decided to change the name of Hinablayan to Paungpung, after the cluster of mangrove propagules to erase the bloody memory of the Moro raiders. Gradually the name evolved to Palompong, then to Palumpun, and its current spelling of Palompon sometime in 1700 or 1800. It is said that cluster later got stuck to the shoal until they grew up as trees, forming an islet which is Tabuk Island today.
In 1737, Jesuit missionaries arrived and built the first chapel which was later burned during a Moro raid. It was rebuilt and, as a refuge from attack, the chapel was enclosed with piled stones, with a "cota" along the frontage. When the people saw Moro vintas coming, the big church bell would ring the alarm and people rushed inside the church, fighting back with bows and arrows and spears.
The place assumed the role of cabeceria of all the municipalities in the north-western side of Leyte during the Spanish regime. At that time Palompon was under the parish of Hilongos. The parish priest visited the place occasionally for marriage, baptism and masses.
The Jesuits, later succeeded by the Augustinians, built the present church with 300 natives, who were forced labor without pay. If one or some of the laborers were unable to work, they were substituted by others just to maintain the quota every day for the next thirty years. The structure soon became a landmark of Palompon, reputed to be the oldest church in Leyte. On November 12, 1784, Palompon obtained its parochial independence from Hilongos.
Sometime in late 17th century, there was a nine-day battle between the Palomponganons and Moro raiders during which the residents rushed to the stone church (newly completed at that time) and took refuge for more than a week. The Moros suffered losses in that encounter and were defeated. A cannon in the town's plaza is a relic of that battle.
Ormoc remained part of Palompon parish from 1784 until 1851, when finally it was declared as an independent parish. Villaba and Matag-ob were both part of the territorial jurisdiction of this town as well before they obtained their municipio (pueblo) status.
|Population census of Palompon|
|Source: Philippine Statistics Authority |
In the 2015 census, the population of Palompon, Leyte, was 58,108 people, with a density of 460 inhabitants per square kilometre or 1,200 inhabitants per square mile.
Palompon has a very young population with 43.5% total population are less than 20 years old. The population is equally balanced between females (50.3%) and males (49.7%).
Palompon is composed of 50 barangays, 10 of which is located in the poblacion while the remaining 40 are located along the coastal and interior parts of the municipality. Some 26% of the population resides in the poblacion barangays while the remaining 74% are found in rural areas. Palompon is densely populated, with 3.92 persons per hectare. This is much higher than the population density of Region VIII, which is 1.56 persons per hectare. However, population density is not evenly distributed among the barangays. The poblacion barangays are the most densely populated (Central – II is ranked first at 682 persons per hectare) while the hinterland barangays are the most sparsely-populated (Hinagbuan ranked last with 1.22 persons per hectare). Palompon had a literacy rate of 91.30% as per 1990 census. The municipality has as extensive educational system consisting of 45 elementary schools, 7 high schools and one state college (Palompon Institute of Technology), which is a well-known and respected institution in the province.The population growth rate has been relatively slow, averaging less than 1.4% annually during the period 1980-91, although this increased to 2.12% from 1991-95. The average percentage of deaths over births is 26.15 per 1,000, which is approximately one death rate and relatively slow increase in population, there appears to be a net out-migration of residents from Palompon. This is consistent with the overall trend of out-migration in Region VIII.One form of out-migration occurs when Palomponganons leave their hometown for Cebu, Manila or abroad where they can find well-paying jobs. The lack of well-paying job opportunities in Palompon encourage many skilled people (e.g. seamen, carpenters, contractors, etc.) to leave the town. The education programs offered by the PIT, which focus on marine transportation and engineering, are also in favor of this trend. A second (and more serious) form of out-migration occurs within Palompon itself where residents from the hinterland barangays migrate to the poblacion barangays. Many of these migrants join the rank of subsistence fisher folk while others become tricycle (or “trisikad”) drivers. The in-migration of these upland dwellers has given rise to slum communities, particularly in the poblacion barangays of Ipil—I, Ipil-II and Lili-on.
The crime rate in Palompon is very low compared to other towns in the Province and, so far, most are not considered serious. However, police officials expressed concerns that criminality may be on the rise because of the progress being experienced by the town, which is attracting an increasing number of in-migrants to Palompon. About 54% of the total population of Palompon belongs to the labor force, totaling 27,376 individuals. Of these, 13,963 are males (51%) while 13,413 are females (49%). Only about 1,390 workers (5% of total labor force) are employed in the so-called formal sector, which includes the schools, local government unit, national government agencies, the Pheschem Industrials Corporation (150 direct and 250 contractual) and the market vendors (120 with stalls). The remaining 95% of the labor force are employed in agriculture, fishing and the growing service sector within the poblacion of the town. Some 15,096 residents of Palompon (about 30% of total population) have been identified as living below the poverty line. The poverty line in Palompon has been set at a monthly income of ₱ 2,699.00 for a family with six members.
Cebuano (Kana dialect) is widely spoken in Palompon but you may hear a few who speak Waray-waray itlog as there are students coming from different towns/cities from the eastern part of the region that are native Waray-waray speakers.
In general, the growth and development of agriculture and the rural sector in the province of Leyte and including Palompon, has been hampered by the following problems: 1) poor and inadequate infrastructure; 2) limited access to land, production inputs, credits and other resources among small agricultural producers; 3) inadequate post-harvest facilities; 4) inadequate government support; and 5) lack of irrigation facilities. Palompon has substantial food consumption requirements in cereals (rice and corn), meat, eggs, milk and products, fish, sugar, vegetables, root crops and others. Despite the LGU’s plans to stimulate agricultural production to meet the above demand, Palompon must import many of the above commodities (mainly from Cebu) in near future. Palompon is mainly a coconut producing area with 1,640 hectares devoted to coconut cultivation (30% of agricultural area). In contrast, rice is grown on only 794 hectares (394 Irrigated, 250 Rained and 150 Upland). The irrigated farms average about 3.5 metric tons (70 canvas) per hectare per crop while the rained lowland and upland areas produce 2.5 metric tons (50 canvas) and 1.25 metric tons 25 canvas), respectively per hectare per crop. Corn production (500 hectares) is low because farmers prefer to plant the traditional varieties that taste although these have lower yields. Farm sizes in the upland barangays tend to be small, ranging from one-fourth to two hectares. Farmers tilling these lands are considered as the poorest farmers who migrate to the poblacion barangays during the “slack period” from planting to harvesting in order to drive trisikads, hire themselves out as construction workers or go fishing. There is one potential for shifting agricultural production from the low to higher-value crops such as fruit trees and vegetables. To do this successfully, however, farm-to-market roads, irrigation and other physical infrastructure will be required. At present, only a few barangays have water from spring sources and communal irrigation systems; the rest rely only on the rain for water for their crops. The total area covered for distribution under the agrarian reform program is 2,784 hectares or about 50% of total agricultural lands. This covers 79% public land and 11% private land. Farm lot range from 0.2051 to 2.27 hectares. The major portion of Palompon farmlands are owned by small landowners 920 hectares or less) who reside in the Palompon farmlands are owned by small landowners are reportedly teachers who have invested their life savings are considered last priority for re-distribution under CARL and it is likely that many of these may eventually be exempted because of the current retention limits.
The fish sanctuary project of the LGU has contributed greatly to maintaining the level of fish supply in the area. Fisher-folk constitute a major segment of the population in the 18 barangays of Palompon that have access to the sea. According to DA data, some 26% of the population (1,230 out of 4,683 households) in these 18 barangays are fisher-folk. However, this estimate of fisher-folk population includes only those with bancas and do not include fisher-folk who rent boats or hire themselves out as laborers to fisher-folk-boat owners. Of these fisher-folk who own boats, 25% have motorized bancas while 75% rely on manual paddling. Because of their ability to venture out into the sea, fisher-folk with motorized bancas earn ten times as much as their colleagues with non-motorized bancas. Marketing of fish in Palompon is organized around middlemen (local name: “alpor’) who provide the fisher-folk with basic commodities and fishing supplies in exchange for the preferential right to buy their catch. The middlemen earns in two ways: 1) the basic commodities are priced at 10% higher than acquisition costs; and 2) the fish catch is priced lower by about 10–15% of the prevailing market price.
Commerce and Trade
With the completion of ongoing port improvement and road construction efforts, Palompon will be in a strong position to enhance its role as the center of commerce and trade for the north-western towns of Isabel, Kananga, Matag-ob, Villaba, Tabango and San Isidro. Despite the absence of these improvements, the cargo handled at the Palompon port has already posted a significant rise from 27,891.043 metric tons in 1993 to 47,474.724 metric tons in 1995. At the same time, Palompon, already ranked second in 1991 passenger traffic among four ports which include Maasin, Ormoc and San Jose, Samar.
The existing market in the center of the poblacion, which is considered large for a town with the size of palompon, is testimony to the role of the municipality as a trading center for the north-western municipality of Leyte. A new and better planned public market may be required, however, once the port become fully operational. The existence of a large number of commercial establishments in Palompon including sari-sari stores, shipping companies, special services is further testimony to the role of the municipality as a center of commerce and trade. There are a number of flourishing labor-intensive industries within Palompon with the potential for expansion. Two of the more promising industries are 1) preparation of “boneless dried danggit” in the barangays Buenavista, Plaridel and Cantuhaon, 2) mat-weaving in barangays Plaridel, Cruz, Duljugan, Cantuhaon, Tinabilan, Himarco, Sabang and Lomonon
- Kalanggaman Island
- Buenavista Underwater Caves
- Masaba Falls
- Palompon Eco-Terrestrial Adventure Park
- Tabuk Marine Sanctuary
Historical and Religious Sites
The original Palompon town has several historical sites and heritage to reckon with that can be equated with the interesting saga and unflinching struggle of the ancient Palomponganons in making a virtual place in the annals of the history and etched a proverbial deck in the sun. The bravery and undaunted valiant stanch against all odds of our forefathers to vanquish foreign invaders way back the "Moro Marauders" in the ancient times down to their collective participation to repeal the controversial atrocities of Spaniards, Americans, Japanese in the land had echoed to other municipalities in the Leyte Island. The historic places and sites of the ancient Palompon are still there for everyone to give a nostalgic focus. But due to the ramification of its former barangays to town-hood and even city-hood where geographical subdivisions followed and were made appurtenant, the present Palompon map has been trimmed down of some of its interesting locations that bespeak the rich and formidable historical accounts of the Palomponganons through the years. But in spite of the development process, still Palompon is replete with historical sites and heritage that herald and relate to the present genre the town’s glorious past. One of them is the Palompon Liberty Park (PLP). A full account on how this historical icon and location came to be follows in the succeeding pages of this article. It was authored by a centenarian, Salud Esmero Reposar at 103 years old, who left the PLP legacy to us before she went home back to the Lord.
Palomponganons are incontrovertibly religious people. This inheritance and burning passion for the religious life can be traced back in the olden times. The fact, that Palompon is one of the early few towns of ancient Leyte where the first mass of Christendom in the Philippines was held.
The townspeople are predominantly Roman Catholics. But interestingly, there are at present 14 religious sects shepherding their respective pious faithful in town. Thus, with the given number multifarious religious sites and various displays are expected and worth for everyone’s valued time.
The Roman Catholic Church of Palompon which was built for 44 years and thereafter was formally founded on November 12, 1784 is considered the oldest church in Leyte. Hence, a blown up feature on it is highlight on the succeeding pages for everyone’s information, guidance, and a boon to religious fervor.
Palompon has 2 tertiary institutions:
- Palompon Institute of Technology
- Northern Leyte College
It also has 12 secondary institutions:
- Palompon National Highschool
- Lomonon National Highschool
- Tinabilan National Highschool
- Alfredo Parilla National Highschool (San Miguel)
- Taberna National Highschool
- Cantuhaon National Highschool
- San Guillermo Annex of Taberna NHS
- PIT Laboratory Highschool (Semi-Public)
- Colegio de San Francisco Javier
- NLC Laboratory Highschool
- Ace Learning Center Inc.
- PromisedLand Educational Academy Inc.
- "Province: Leyte". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- Census of Population (2015). "Region VIII (Eastern Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
- Arcadio A. Molon, Jr. (2013). "History". Palompon Municipality. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- Manuel Artigas de Cuerva “Resena de la Historia de la Provincia de Leyte”
- "An Act Creating the Municipality of Matag-ob in the Province of Leyte". LawPH.com. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
- Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region VIII (Eastern Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- 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.
- "Province of Leyte". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
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