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Map of Leyte with Tanauan highlighted
|Region||Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)|
|District||1st district of Leyte|
|• Mayor||Pelagio Tecson, Jr. (LP)|
|• Total||78.41 km2 (30.27 sq mi)|
|Population (2015 census)|
|• Density||700/km2 (1,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
|Dialing code||+63 (0)53|
|Income class||2nd municipal income class|
|Electorate||32,935 voters as of 2016|
Tanauan is one of the oldest towns in Leyte dating back to the year 1710. It comprise of fifty-four (54) barangays. The town has been baptized the title of “Cradle of the Intellectuals” or "Bungto Han Kamag-araman" since the Spanish colonial period. Tanauan is approximately eighteen (18) kilometers south of Tacloban City which is the Capital of the Eastern Visayas Region. It is bounded on the north by the Municipality of Palo, on the south by the Municipality of Tolosa, on the west by the Municipalities of Dagami and Tabon-Tabon, and on the east by San Pedro Bay.The town was heavily damaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in November 2013.
- 1 Barangays
- 2 History
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Infrastructure
- 6 Education
- 7 Heritage and culture
- 8 References
- 9 External links
- Buntay (Pob.)
- Cabarasan Guti
- Canramos (Pob.)
- Licod (Pob.)
- Limbuhan Daku
- Limbuhan Guti
- San Miguel (Pob.)
- San Isidro
- San Roque (Pob.)
- San Victor
- Santa Cruz
- Santa Elena
- Santo Niño (Haclagan) (Pob.)
Pre-Spanish to Spanish Colonial Period
The town got its name from a towering Molave tree which served as a look-out tower. “Tan-awan” or "Taran-awan" means to look-out in the Waray-Waray language. A person who serves as a look-out would watch for the feared Moro Pirates who would every now and then plunder and loot the settlements along the coast.
The first known settlers of Tanauan were the family of Calanao with his wife and daughter. In 1661, Juanillo Siengco’s family joined the Calanao family in the settlement along the bank of Bukid River at the foot of Adil Hill. By the time their settlements were more developed, the plundering of the Moros along the coast became intensified, and for their refuge, they built a stone-walled enclosure called "cuta” in the area of Buaya. In the course of time, Juanillo’s son Josef, married Calanao’s daughter, Sangod, and from the families of Juanillo Siengco and Calanao a tribe was formed which gave Tanauan its first tribal leaders.
In 1710, the first town officials were appointed by the Spanish authorities during the Spanish reign in the Philippines. From 1710 up to the end of the Spanish Colonial period in 1900 and the start of American occupation, forty-seven (47) persons became chief executives of the municipality.
Tolosa, an adjacent town to the south of Tanauan, was once part of the municipality. Through the efforts of certain Magdalino Vivero and Domingo Camacho, they petitioned the Spanish government to grant Tolosa autonomy from the municipality. The petition was granted in 1852.
American Colonial Period to Japanese Occupation/ World War II
During the American Regime from 1901–1943, another set of municipal executives followed. When World War II broke out, Pedro A. Villegas was the incumbent Mayor.
When the Japanese occupied the town, the incumbent Mayor Pedro Villegas and his secretary Janario Perez refused to serve the Japanese authorities. Thus, Rufo Cobacha was appointed Mayor by the Japanese and followed by Pedro Bulik who was eventually killed by the local guerillas.
During the Japanese occupation, the town was burned by the guerillas in 1943. This unfortunate event destroyed the Municipal Building, including its records, and a lot of the big ancestral houses of Spanish Architecture along Calle Real. When the US Allied Forces stormed the town during the liberation of Leyte, it resulted in further destruction of the Municipal Hall ( Lian Chong Building) and the few remaining houses along Calle Real. However, few lives were lost during the assault as the town’s people were warned beforehand and took refuge at the fortified Parish Church. Eugenio Avila, Sr. was the incumbent mayor when the Filipino and American Liberation Forces occupied the town. The US Sixth Army initially established its headquarters in Tanauan before the construction of the Airfield began in November 1944.
Tanauan Airfield and its logistical importance during the liberation of the Philippines
The X and XXIV Corps from the United States Sixth Army took part in the liberation of Tanauan from the Japanese Occupation Forces immediately after the US and Allied Forces landed at Leyte Beach on October 1944. Shortly thereafter, the United States Sixth Army, under the command of Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, established its headquarters in Tanauan. On November 15, 1944, a meeting was held at the site of the Sixth Army headquarters by the commanders and staff members of the major units who participated in the Luzon Campaign.
While the US and Allied Forces were able to capture the Tacloban airstrip, the work to further develop it for US warplanes had been handicapped due to the heavy concentration of troops, supplies, and equipment in the area during the early stages of the operation. It was further hampered by insufficient supply of corals for surfacing the runway. Works were also simultaneously being done on the other two airstrips of Buri and San Pablo in the vicinity of Burauen, but it was halted in the latter part of November 1944. A considerable amount of time and effort have been expended in futile attempts to make these airfields usable. The inability of the Sixth Army to meet its construction dates on the airstrips prevented the US forces from stopping the flow of Japanese reinforcements and made it impossible for the Allied Forces to give sufficient land-based air support to the ground troops.
In a desperate move to have an operational airfield, Lieutenant General Walter Krueger received permission from General Douglas MacArthur to construct an airfield in Tanauan. On November 28, 1944 the headquarters of the US Sixth Army was moved to Tolosa to start the construction of the airfield. The airfield site covers an area bounded on the north, south and west by Embarcadero River, and on the east by San Pedro Bay. The site was favorably chosen due to its generally flat terrain, good sandy surface, and satisfactory drainage - which proved to be an excellent location for an airfield. On December 1944, the field became operational. By December 25, 1944 there have been completed one runway with mat surfacing, one overrun, 90,000 square feet of warm-up area, 120,000 square feet of alert apron, one parallel taxiway, and 26 large dispersal areas. The control tower was code named “Velvet Tower.”
All Marine Aircraft Group 12 (MAG-12) planes in Leyte, which played an important air support role for the Sixth Army, moved from Tacloban Airfield to Tanauan Airfield on December 1944. The airfield was used by the following units:
- 312th Bombardment Group (November 19, 1944 to February 10, 1945)
- 340th Fighter Squadron (December 15, 1944)
- 341st Fighter Squadron (December 14, 1944)
- 460th Fighter-Interceptor Training Squadron (December 12, 1944)
- 433rd Troop Carrier Group (January 19, 1945 to May 31, 1945)
- 348th FG 460th Fighter Squadron (P-47)
- 348th FG 340th Fighter Squadron (P-47)
- 348th FG 341st Fighter Squadron (P-47)
- 348th FG 342nd Fighter Squadron (P-47)
- 25th Liaison Squadron (UC-78 and L-5).
The airfield was abandoned following the withdrawal of the Allied Forces after the war and was later on referred to as "landing" by the locals. Today, a small remnant of this airfield can still be found in the area called "Pawa" located in Barangay Sto. Niño. Most of the remaining areas are now occupied by large business establishments such as the Pepsi Cola Tanauan Plant and New Leyte Edible Oil Manufacturing Corporation. The Tanauan Public Market, various commercial buildings and residential neighborhoods can also be found in the area. The airfield covers the area of what is now known as Barangay San Roque and Barangay Sto. Niño. Maharlika Highway (formerly known as Highway 1), which connects Eastern Visayas Region with Luzon to the north and Mindanao to the south, traverses through the former airfield site.
Post World War II to the present day
During the Liberation, Benito Saavedra was appointed Mayor by the newly restored Philippine government, then succeeded by the following in the order of incumbencies:
- Rufo Cumpio -1945
- Dioniso Boco - 1946
- Pelagio O. Tecson – 1946-1947
After the Liberation period, Dionisio Boco became the first Mayor, then succeeded again by Pelagio O. Tecson, Sr. In 1950, Barrio Haclagan, the site of the former US Airfield site, was renamed Sto. Niño.
Pelagio Tecson, Sr. was the Mayor during the Martial Law Period (Martial Law in the Philippines and the so called “New Society”) up to February 25, 1986 EDSA Revolution when Felix Cortes was appointed OIC Mayor by the new government. The local elections held on February 1, 1988 resulted in the election of Charles R. Avila. It was during his tenure that he was appointed as Administrator of the Philippine Coconut Authority in January 1991, and Vice-Mayor Rodolfo Cinco succeeded him as Mayor.
In the May 1992 synchronized elections for national and local officials, Atty. Roque Tiu won over five (5) candidates for the mayoralty position. Tiu was the Chief Executive of the town until his second term ended in 1998. Mark Gimenez was elected Mayor from 1998 to 2001. During the 2001 elections, Atty. Roque Tiu ran again and won over Mark Gimenez. Roque Tiu became the mayor for three consecutive terms from 2001 to 2010. After Tiu completed his term, his vice-mayor Agapito Pagayanan Jr. run for the mayoralty position during the 2010 national elections and got elected. He served from 2010 to 2013. During the 2013 mid-term elections, Pelagio Tecson, Jr. won over the incumbent mayor with just a small margin of votes.
|Population census of Tanauan|
|Source: Philippine Statistics Authority |
Waray-Waray is the mother tongue spoken by the people of Tanauan. It is the lingua franca or common language of the Eastern Visayas region. It is used when people from other parts of Leyte who are primarily Cebuano-speaking comes to the town. However, Filipino (Tagalog) is the language that is widely understood and spoken by the locals when talking to other people coming from Manila and other far provinces and non-Waray speaking Filipinos just like in other places across the country as Filipino is the national language of the Philippines. English remains the official language used by the local government and schools in its official correspondence and documents. Waray-Waray is used as a medium of instruction in schools in the municipality from Kinder to Grade 3. Filipino and English languages are officially taught in schools as part of the primary and secondary education curriculum requirement.
Tanauan has a 100% Christian population. Almost 96-97% of the municipality's population are Roman Catholic Christians. Every barangay (village) has its own Roman Catholic chapel aside from the parish church in the town proper (poblaciónor sawang). There are also adherents of other Christian denominations and sects like the Iglesia ni Cristo, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), Adventists (Sabadistas), Evangelicals ("Born-again" Christians), Jehovah's Witnesses (Mga Saksi ni Jehova) and other groups that maintain their houses of worship The municipality's patron saint is the Our Lady of the Assumption (Nuestra Señora de Asuncion). The town celebrates its fiesta annually on August 15.
In 2005, the municipality registered a total income of PhP 47.6 million and went up to PhP 56.4 million in 2007, representing an average annual increase of over 9%, mostly coming from considerable increases in local taxes, permits & licenses and the Internal Revenue Allotment. The outstanding economic performance was attributed largely to the reforms and initiatives that were introduced by Mayor Roque Tiu, which streamlined the processes of getting business and license permits.
As a result of these reforms, the Municipality of Tanauan earned the Award of "2006 Most Business-Friendly Municipality in the Country" during the Closing Rites of the 32nd Philippine Business Conference held at the Manila Hotel on October 20, 2006. Former President Gloria Arroyo handed over the Award to Mayor Roque Tiu and his wife PIA-8 Director Olive Tiu. Prior to winning this Award, the Municipality of Tanauan was adjudged as the Most Business-Friendly Municipality in the Visayas Area.
The businesses and industries that support the local economy are from agriculture, livestock, fishing, forestry & mining, trade and industry, and tourism.
The major investors in the Municipality of Tanauan are the following:
- Pepsi Cola (Tanauan Plant)
- Wella Metal Corporation
- New Leyte Edible Oil Manufacturing Corporation
Local Industries and Crafts
Tanauan is known for various locally made crafts which include bamboo craft, mat-weaving, bolos, brooms, hats, bricks, pottery, nipa shingles, and virgin coconut oil - most of which are made of local and indigenous materials. These trades have been the source of local pride, like the talented bricks and pottery makers of Barangay Canramos. Tanauan is also one of the best source of clays in the Region. These trades are mainly promoted by the Federation of Tanauan Women's Club with the support of the local government of Tanauan.
Storm drainage system
Tanauan still lacks an efficient infrastructure for its storm drainage system. Although storm drainage projects were constructed in the past, it was poorly planned and maintained that resulted in a failure to prevent occasional flooding in various places within the town proper due to sedimentation and clogging of existing drainage canals.
- Tanauan Birthing Facility
The construction of the birthing facility of Tanauan in 2009 was made possible thru the efforts of Mayor Roque Tiu and the assistance of the Japanese Government. The project was funded through the Embassy of Japan's Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) with a grant of US$62,135 (approximately 3 million pesos). The facility was turned over to the local government of Tanauan on April 27, 2010. The Embassy of Japan's Minister for Economic Affairs Tomochika Uyama was present during the ceremony. The facility became operational since May 2010, and provides appropriate and accessible medical services for pregnant women in Tanauan.
Utilities and telecommunications
The following are the telephone, mobile phone, and electric companies serving the area of Tanauan:
- Telephone Companies
- Bayan Telecommunications, Inc.
- Eastern Visayas Telephone Company
- Mobile Phone Service Providers
- Globe Telecom
- Smart Communications
- Electric Companies
- LEYECO I
- Water Supply
- Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD)
Parks and playgrounds
Tanauan currently has one large municipal plaza which is located right at the heart of the town across the back of the old municipal hall. It has a mini-amphitheater and a large outdoor grounds which is often used as a venue for large open air activities such as the annual Pasaka Festival Competition and other various outdoor gatherings of the town, It also has two outdoor basketball court and one outdoor tennis courts. Surrounding the plaza are various centuries-old acacia trees that is one of the well-preserved in the Region.
Tanauan is accessible mainly by land using Public Utility Jeepney as the primary means of public transportation. Taxis are also available from Tacloban City and the Regional Airport but generally costs higher compared to the much cheaper Jeepneys. On the other hand, pedicabs and motor cabs are available when travelling within the local vicinity of Tanauan.
Colleges and universities
- Assumption Academy (Private)
- Kiling National High School, Kiling, Tanauan, Leyte (Public)
- Tanauan School of Craftsmanship and Home Industries (Public)
- Tanauan National High School, Canramos, Tanauan, Leyte (Public)
- Tanauan School of Arts and Trade, Cabuynan, Tanauan, Leyte (Public)
Heritage and culture
Local customs and etiquette
Most locals take off their slippers, shoes, or flip flops before entering a house. During weddings, it is customary for the bride and groom to do the traditional folk dance called Kuracha and members of the families and guests alike are encouraged to pin money on their attire as a symbol of good luck and prosperity for the couple's future. Tanauananons also observe fiesta celebrations annually in different barangays to honor their respective local Catholic Saints. During the fiesta, it is a tradition to prepare food in every house and invite guests and visitors to share their meal as a sign of thanksgiving.
Church of Our Lady of the Assumption
The Church is one of the six Architectural Heritage sites in Leyte. It was originally built by the Jesuit Missionaries in 1704 and was turned over to the Augustinians in the year 1768. Father Francisco de Paula Marquez spearheaded the repair and enlargement of the church from 1850 to 1860. He added a transept and constructed thick rock walls at the perimeter of the Church with towers on each four corners for defense against pirates. The Church survived a hurricane and storm surge of 1897. The Church takes pride of its Stations of the Cross made of Spanish terracotta originally made in Mexico. The rectory and pulpit were restored.
Pasaka Festival started in 1991. The word "pasaka" means "assumption" which refers to the Virgin Mary as she was assumed into heaven. The festival, which runs from August 1 through 15, is seen as an opportunity to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Tanauan. It is a means of paying homage and thanksgiving to the town’s Patroness, Our Lady of the Assumption. It begins with a nightly cultural presentation being held from August 1 through 14 at the Tanauan Public Plaza, which showcases the best talents, culture,and tradition of the municipality participated in by various schools, the local government unit, and the non-government organizations of Tanauan. In the afternoon of August 14, the traditional Pasaka Festival Competition is held which features a colorful presentation of dance drama and street-dancing that depicts a community paying homage to the Blessed Virgin as she is assumed into heaven. The competition is grouped into three categories: the Senior Category participated in by high school students, the Junior Category composed of elementary pupils and the Merry Makers. The festival culminates on August 15, the Feast of the town’s Patroness,Our Lady of the Assumption, and a Holy Mass is celebrated at the Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church. It is also observed as Tanauan Day which is a local holiday.
Tinikling and its possible origins in Tanauan
Tinikling is the most popular and best known of Philippine dances and honored as the Philippine national dance. It is one of the oldest Philippine traditional dances and originated in Leyte Province. The people of Leyte describe the tikling bird as one of the most unique in its movements - walking around and between the tree branches and some grass stems. This bird was named "tikling" from which the Tinikling dance got its name. Because of the creativeness of the Leytenos, they imitate this bird by using bamboo poles.
In 2006, the attention of the then Mayor Roque Tiu was called regarding the 2005 Calendar of the Philippine National Oil Corporation entitled Sulyap (Glimpse) which highlighted the looking back into the home of Filipino culture and taking a glimpse into one’s roots in relation to moving forward in life. In the second page (March–April page), it featured the Tinikling with a brief description in Pilipino dialect …”ang Tinikling ay nagmula sa Tanauan, Leyte. Isa ito sa mga pinaka-kilalang Pilipinong sayaw sa buong mundo. Ang pagkamalikhain ng mga taga Leyte ay nagbigay buhay sa simpleng galaw ng ibong tikling, kung saan nakuhaang pangalan ng sayaw. Sa Tinikling naipamalas ang likas na halina at pagiging masayahin na nabubukod-tangi sa mga Pilipino.” (Tinikling originated in Tanauan, Leyte. It is one of the best known Philippine dance. The creativity of the people of Leyte gave life to the simple movement of tikling birds from which the dance got its name Tinikling. The dance mirrors the innate grace and joy of the Filipinos). Since then, the municipal government of Tanauan requested historians and enthusiasts of culture and the arts to shed light on the issue so that the local government can initiate moves towards preserving the culture of the municipality which has been baptized the title of “Cradle of the Intellectuals” ("Bungto Han Kamag-araman" in Waray-Waray dialect) ever since the Spanish Regime. Another version of the story has it, that the Tinikling really originated in Tanauan, Leyte particularly in Barangay Kiling. The name “Kiling” is derived from the tikling bird. This version of the story have yet to be authenticated. Today, pinpointing the exact origin of this dance still remains a mystery.
Vicente I. De Veyra, a native of Leyte collected folk songs such as Tinikling on his book, "Mga Ambahan".
Tanauan is recognized as the “Skimboarding Capital” of the Philippines. It is told by tradition that Skimboarding was first introduced in Tanauan in 2000, when an American national came to Tanauan to win the heart of a local lass. Since Tanauan is situated along the coast facing San Pedro Bay, the American national started making a skimboard which he eventually finished. However, he was not able to teach the local youths on how to use it since he had to leave back to the States. He left the skimboard and the local youths started to train themselves on how to use it. Young people from Barangay San Roque and Barangay Sto. Nino started making prototypes of the skimboard which were sold to the enthusiasts. Since then, skimboarding started to spread to the nearby towns and later on throughout the country. Currently, National and International Skimboarding Competitions are held annually at the Bantay Dagat Area in Tanauan.
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Tanauan, Leyte.|
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- Philippine Census Information
- Local Governance Performance Management System
- Official Tanauan, Leyte website
|San Pedro Bay|