Maasin City is the capital of Southern Leyte, Philippines, with a population of 85,560 people. It covers 21,171 hectares of land and is composed of 70 barangays.
The city is a hub for religious pilgrimages and a commercial center for Southern Leyte and southwestern Leyte Island. Most residents are farmers and fishermen who speak Cebuano or Boholano dialects. While 90% of the population is Roman Catholic, traditional folk beliefs and superstitions still influence some residents.
Maasin City has a notable Spanish-era church and many pilgrimage sites. It is accessible by land and sea, with regular boat trips from Manila and fast watercraft services from Cebu.
The island of Limasawa in Southern Leyte played an important role in Philippine history. It was the site of the first Roman Catholic Mass celebrated by Ferdinand Magellan and his crew in 1521.
Magellan also made peace with two Filipino rulers, Rajah Kolambu and Rajah Siani, who were subsequently converted to Christianity. Maasin, now known as Maasin City, is one of the oldest towns in Southern Leyte. Its history dates back to the 1700s, when Jesuit priests built the first church, which still exists in ruins today.
The town grew rapidly in the 1700s, becoming a busy seaport that traded with nearby islands. During the Spanish regime, Maasin evolved and became an organized municipality, with the first chosen local executive changing from Gobernadorcillo to “Capitan Municipal”.
With the change of sovereign power, the positions were abolished, but the Fiscal’s office continued to serve cases from distant towns. Several prominent leaders of the west coast of Leyte proposed bills that entailed the division of the island of Leyte into two distinct provinces due to the problems emanating from transportation availability for the Tacloban-Maasin span and the intricate management of governmental affairs in Tacloban.
In 1919, Representative Ciriaco K. Kangleon presented the first bill but lost in the Senate by one vote. Tomas Oppus renewed the move in 1922 with the presentation of House Bill No. 254, which became Act No. 3117, but it did not take effect because it was not proclaimed by the Governor-General. The arrival of the Americans at the beginning of the 20th century and the suppression of all resistance to American rule ended all dreams of Philippine independence.
However, the epoch-making announcement of President McKinley that the Philippines was not theirs to exploit but to train in the art of self-government and independence brought new hope for the Filipinos.
Maasin was one of the beneficiaries of this enlightened American policy, enjoying the blessings of democracy until the eruption of World War II.
What are the Native Delicacies in Maasin Southern Leyte?
Maasin, Southern Leyte is known for its delicious and unique native delicacies. Some of the popular ones are:
- Binagol – a dessert made of grated taro root mixed with coconut milk, sugar, and peanuts. The mixture is then wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a clay oven.
- Budbud – a sweet sticky rice cake wrapped in banana leaves. It can be plain or flavored with coconut milk, chocolate, or ube (purple yam).
- Moron – a combination of suman (rice cake) and chocolate. It is made by mixing ground sticky rice with chocolate powder and wrapping it in banana leaves.
- Pintos – a type of bibingka (rice cake) made with galapong (rice flour), coconut milk, sugar, and salt. It is usually topped with grated coconut or sliced cheese.
- Suman – a Filipino rice cake made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaves. It can be served plain or with different flavors such as chocolate, mango, or ube.
- Tupig – a sweet sticky rice cake made with glutinous rice, coconut milk, sugar, and grated coconut. It is wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over charcoal.
These delicacies can be found in various markets and food stalls around Maasin, Southern Leyte.
Ways to get there
There are many ways to visit Maasin City:
By air: The nearest airport to Maasin City is the Hilongos Airport, which is about 26 kilometers away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Maasin City.
By land: Maasin City is accessible by land transportation from major cities in the Philippines such as Cebu, Tacloban, and Manila. There are regular bus services from these cities to Maasin City.
By sea: Maasin City has a seaport that serves passenger and cargo ships. You can take a ferry or a RoRo (Roll-on Roll-off) vessel from Cebu or other nearby ports to reach Maasin City.
Once you are in Maasin City, you can explore the city’s beaches, historical sites, and cultural attractions. You can also visit nearby towns and cities such as Sogod and Hinunangan, which are known for their beautiful beaches and scenic spots.