Eastern Visayas is an administrative region in the Philippines, designated as Region VIII. It consists of three main islands, Samar and Biliran; the region has six provinces, one independent city and one urbanized city namely, Leyte, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Southern Leyte and Tacloban. The urbanized city of Tacloban is the sole regional center; these provinces and cities occupy the easternmost islands of the Visayas group of islands. Eastern Visayas faces the Philippine Sea to the east; the region is known for its famous landmark, the San Juanico Bridge, dubbed as the "Most Beautifully Designed and Longest Bridge in the Philippines". As of 2015, the Eastern Visayas region has a population of 4,440,150 inhabitants, making it the third most populous region in the Visayas; the current name of the region was derived from its location in the greater Visayas area. The name was coined by American colonialists after the take-over of the islands when the First Philippine Republic was defeated by the Americans.
There have been proposals to rename the current Eastern Visayas region, dominated by the Waray ethnic group in the east and the Sebwano ethnic group in the west, into Mairete-Iberein region. The term translates to'Land of Ete and Iberein'. According to documents recorded by the Spanish, Ete is the first documented pre-colonial ruler of a kingdom of Leyte, while Iberein is the first documented pre-colonial ruler of a kingdom in Samar. Ete, whose kingdom was centered in present-day Tacloban, most had Waray and Sebwano bloodlines, while Iberein, whose kingdom was centered somewhere in Northern Samar, most had Waray bloodlines. Eastern Visayas lies on the east central section of the Philippine archipelago, it consists of three main islands, Leyte and Samar, which form the easternmost coasts of the archipelago. It is bounded on the east and north by the Philippine Sea with the San Bernardino Strait separating Samar from southeastern Luzon, it has 7.2 % of the country's total land area. 52 % of its total land area are classified as 48 % as alienable and disposable land.
There are two types of climate prevailing in the region under the Corona system of classification: Type II and Type IV. Type II climate is characterized by having no dry season but a pronounced maximum rainfall from November to January. Samar Island and the eastern part of Leyte Island fall under this type of climate. Type IV on the other hand has an distribution of rainfall the year round and a short period of dry season that can be observed starting February up to May; this type of climate is well exhibited at the western half of Leyte island and some portion of Samar which covers the municipality of Motiong up to San Isidro of Northern Samar. In November 2013, the region was struck with the highest death toll in the nation by Super Typhoon Haiyan, the second deadliest typhoon to violently hit the Philippines. Typhoons hit the region along with the Bicol region as the most typhoon prone parts of the Philippines; the region's sea and inland waters are rich sources of salt and fresh water fish and other marine products.
It is one of the fish exporting regions of the country. There are substantial forest reserves in the interiors of the islands, its mineral deposits include chromite, gold, manganese, bronze, clay, limestone and sand and gravel. It has abundant geothermal energy and water resources to support the needs of medium and heavy industries; the native languages of Eastern Visayas are: Abaknon, spoken in Capul Island in Northern Samar. Baybayanon, spoken in Baybay City in Leyte. Boholano, spoken in Southern Leyte. Cebuano, spoken in Biliran, Southern Leyte, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar. Kinabalian, spoken in the municipality of San Juan, Southern Leyte. Waray-Waray, spoken in Biliran, Southern Leyte, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, it is the regional lingua franca. Eastern Visayas consists of 6 provinces, 1 urbanized city, 1 independent component city, 5 component cities, 136 municipalities and 4,390 barangays. Eastern Visayas is an agricultural region with rice, coconut and banana as its major crops. Primary sources of revenue are manufacturing and retail trade and services.
Mining, farming and tourism contribute to the economy. Manufacturing firms include mining companies, fertilizer plants, sugar central and corn mills and other food processing plants. Tacloban is the hub of investment and development in the region. Other industries include coconut oil extraction, alcohol distilling, beverage manufacture and forest products. Home industries include hat and basket weaving, metal craft, pottery, woodcraft, shell craft and bamboo craft. Eastern Visayas is home to several state universities, including the prestigious University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College; the region is home to the University of Eastern Philippines, located in Catarman, Northern Samar, which holds the most number of baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate courses among universities in the region. The Zonal Agricultural University for the Visayas under the National Agriculture Education System concept, Visayas State University is in the region, located in Baybay; the region is home to Palompon Institute of Technology, a maritime school in the Philippines providing deck and engine cadet.
Its main campus is located in the
Southern Leyte is a province in the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is the city of Maasin. Southern Leyte was a sub-province of Leyte until it was made into an independent province in 1959. Southern Leyte includes Limasawa, an island to the south where the first Roman Catholic Mass in Philippine soil is believed to have taken place and thus considered to be the birthplace of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines; the province ranks as the second least populated in the region. According to the 2015 census, the province has a population of 421,750. Southern Leyte's geological features created several issues in the province after the flooding of the Subangdaku River and the 2006 mudslide in Guinsaugon. Organizations warned the province it was susceptible to natural occurrences like landslides and floods. Southern Leyte forms an important part of the inter-island transportation system of the country, with ferries transporting people and goods between Liloan and Surigao del Norte in Mindanao.
The province is well known for its quality abaca products and is the country's major producer of abaca fiber. In September 2017, Representative Roger Mercado authored House Bill 6408, proposing to change the name of the province to Leyte del Sur; the province, being part of Leyte island, is believed to be influenced by Datu Ete, ruler of the historic community of Mairete, meaning Land of Ete, centered in Tacloban. The area, to be Southern Leyte is believed to have been occupied by animist Visayan ethnic groups from Bohol. There is no proof that the indigenous animist Warays of Samar, who at the time occupied northeast Leyte occupied Southern Leyte; as early as 1898 during the Spanish and American periods, there had existed a "sub-province" consisting of the municipalities from Palompon to Hinunangan, with Maasin as the center. Some government offices had been established in Maasin on the southwestern part of Leyte to govern the area; the governing city was the depository of cedula tax collections from Palompon to Hinunangan.
This was administered by the office of the Administrado de Hacienda, equivalent to the Provincial Treasurer, a position under the Secretario de Hacienda. There was established in Maasin a Court of First Instance known as the Promoter Fiscal, where all minor administrative and other cases from Palompon to Hinunangan were heard. During the Spanish colonization, the province was sparsely populated; the continued raiding of Moro slaves discouraged the province from developing. However, in the 19th century immigrants from adjacent provinces like Bohol and Cebu populated the area. In 1942, Ruperto Kangleon held a conference in the town of Sogod, when the first meeting attempt in Malitbog, a town to the east, failed due to many leaders staying away, he was trying to unify all guerrillas helping the Philippine Commonwealth troops during World War II. From 1944 to 1945, the Allied Philippine Commonwealth Army soldiers and Filipino guerrillas attacked the Japanese Imperial forces in an effort to liberate Southern Leyte, American troops landed on Leyte on October 20, 1944.
Due to a change of sovereign powers, all the offices in Maasin except the Fiscal's Office were abolished and reverted to Tacloban, the capital of Leyte. This created a major problem because of the dearth of transportation, the difficulty in managing the affairs of government in Tacloban and the language barrier between the Cebuano-speaking South-westerners and the Waray Easterners; the difficulty of managing the entire island from the main city suggested a need to separate the island into two provinces. At first there was a general movement for a Western Leyte and soon after, many prominent men and leaders rallied behind the movement. Six attempts to pass a law for the division of Leyte were made. On the sixth attempt Congressman Nicanor Yñiguez introduced into the House a division law similar in substance to that of the Kangleon Bill, but recognizing the impossibility of creating an East-West Division, he instead opted to make his own district a province. Abandoning the first bill, Congressman Nicanor Yñiguez presented House Bill No. 1318 proposing a new province of Southern Leyte comprising Third Congressional District of Leyte to include sixteen municipalities, from Maasin to Silago in the mainland, in the Panaon Island.
The bill became Republic Act 2227 otherwise known as an "Act Creating the Province of Southern Leyte" and was signed into Law by President Carlos P. Garcia on May 22, 1959. On July 1, 1960, Southern Leyte was inaugurated as a province with sixteen municipalities and Maasin as the capital town. Thus, the third District of Leyte became the Province of Southern Leyte and the Lone District of Southern Leyte. In December 2003, a landslide in San Francisco, Southern Leyte destroyed most of the town, killing 200 people. On February 17, 2006, several mudslides caused by heavy rains, amounting over 200 cm, a minor earthquake destroyed at least one town and many commercial and residential infrastructures, leaving hundreds dead; the municipality of Saint Bernard was one of the worst hit areas with 23 confirmed deaths, up to 200 estimated deaths and another 1,500 missing. Barangay Guinsaugon, a mountain village on the said municipality with 2,500 people, was completely destroyed, killing 1,800 of its 1,857 residents.
Many rescuers from national and international responded to the incident. However, rescue efforts were hampered by poor road conditions and lack of heavy equipment. Survivors reported lack of coordination of rescue efforts; the Philippine Government again stated their inability to cope with disasters. The few handful of Guinsaugon citizens which escaped the mudslide were put up in emergency shelters without adeq
Butuan the City of Butuan, or known as Butuan City, is a 1st class urbanized city and regional center of the Caraga Region, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 337,063 people, it served as the former capital of the Rajahnate of Butuan before 1001 until 1756. The city used to be known during that time as the best in gold and boat manufacturing in the entire Philippine archipelago, having traded with as far as Champa, Srivijaya and the Bengali coasts, it is located at the northeastern part of the Agusan Valley, sprawling across the Agusan River. It is bounded to the north and south by Agusan del Norte, to the east by Agusan del Sur and to the northwest by Butuan Bay. Butuan City was the capital of the province of Agusan del Norte until 2000, when Republic Act 8811 transferred the capital to Cabadbaran City. For statistical and geographical purposes, Butuan City is grouped with Agusan del Norte but governed administratively independent from the province while legislatively administered by the province's 1st congressional district.
The name "Butuan" is believed to have originated from the sour fruit locally called batuan. Other etymological sources say that it comes from a certain Datu Buntuan, a chieftain who once ruled over areas of the present-day city. According to Datu Makalipay, Butuan was named after the wife of Datu Balansag, the tiniente de barangay of the area before. Butuan, during the pre-colonial times, was known as the Rajahnate of Butuan, an Indianized kingdom known for its metallurgic industry and sophisticated naval technology; the rajahnate flourished at the 10th and 11th centuries CE, had an extensive trade network with the Champa civilisation and the Srivijaya Empire. By 1001, the rajahnate had established contact with the Song dynasty of China; the History of Song recorded the appearance of a Butuan mission at the Chinese imperial court, the rajahnate was described as a small Hindu country with a Buddhist monarchy, which had a regular trade connection with Champa. The mission, under a Rajah named "Kiling", asked for equal status in court protocol with the Champa envoy, but was denied by the imperial court.
However, under the reign of Sri Bata Shaja, the diplomatic equality was granted to the kingdom, as a result the diplomatic relations of the two nations reached its peak in the Yuan dynasty. Evidence of these trading links are in the discovery of 11 balangay boats around Ambangan in Barangay Libertad, described as the only concentration of archaeological, ocean-going boats in Southeast Asia. Other evidences of the post are the discovery of a village in Libertad that specializes in gold, deformed skulls similar to reports in Sulawesi, the discovery of many artifacts by locals and treasure hunters. On March 31, 1521, an Easter Sunday, Ferdinand Magellan ordered a mass to be celebrated; this was officiated by Friar Pedro Valderrama, the Andalusian chaplain of the fleet, the only priest then. Another priest, the French Bernard Calmette had been marooned at Patagonia with Juan de Cartagena for being implicated in the mutiny at Puerto San Julián. Conducted near the shores of the island, the Holy First Mass marked the birth of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines.
Rajah Colambu and Siaiu were said to be among the first natives of the soon-to-be Spanish colony to attend the mass among other Mazaua inhabitants, together with visitors from Butuan who came with the entourage of Colambu, king of Butuan. Controversy has been generated regarding the holding of the first mass—whether it was held in Limasawa, Leyte in Masao, Butuan City, in the hidden isle made up of barangays Pinamanculan and Bancasi inside Butuan, in the latest discovered site in between Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur, the small barangay of Barobo, or elsewhere, it is sure, that Ferdinand Magellan did not drop anchor by the mouth of Agusan River in 1521 and hold mass to commemorate the event, held at Mazaua, an island separate from 1521 Butuan which, in the geographical conception of Europeans who wrote about it, was a larger entity than what it is now. Antonio Pigafetta who wrote an eyewitness account of Magellan's voyage described in text and in map a Butuan that stretched from today's Surigao up to the top edge of Zamboanga del Norte.
The first municipal election in Butuan took place in March 1902 in accordance with Public Law No. 82 which coincided with the American occupation of the place. During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II, more than half of Butuan, if not all of it, was burned when local guerrilla forces attacked the enemy garrison on 12 March 1943 in the Battle of Butuan. On January 17, 1945, guerrillas attacked Japanese troops on the road between Cabadbaran and Butuan to prevent the Japanese garrison at Butuan from being reinforced; when the guerrillas depleted their ammunition supply, they were forced to retreat. In 1945, the Philippine Commonwealth troops in Butuan together with the recognized guerrillas attacked the Japanese forces during the Battle of Agusan. On October 20, 1948, still recovering from the war, the entire municipality was ruined by a fire. By the late 1940s to the 1970s, Butuan's industry specialized in timber, earning it the nickname "Timber City of the South"; the plentiful trees of the area invited many investors to the city, inspired then-Congressman Marcos M. Calo to file a bill elevating Butuan for cityhood.
On August 2, 1950, this was passed. However, by the early 1980s, the logging industry of the city began to decline, although the city was still an economic haven to many investors; the city's main income by that time frame and until this day depended
The Philippines the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon and Mindanao; the capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, Malaysia and Indonesia to the south; the Philippines' location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world's greatest biodiversity. The Philippines has an area of 300,000 km2, according to the Philippines Statistical Authority and the WorldBank and, as of 2015, had a population of at least 100 million.
As of January 2018, it is the eighth-most populated country in Asia and the 12th most populated country in the world. 10 million additional Filipinos lived overseas, comprising one of the world's largest diasporas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, they were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples. Exchanges with Malay, Indian and Chinese nations occurred. Various competing maritime states were established under the rule of datus, rajahs and lakans; the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer leading a fleet for the Spanish, in Homonhon, Eastern Samar in 1521 marked the beginning of Hispanic colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. With the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi from Mexico City, in 1565, the first Hispanic settlement in the archipelago was established.
The Philippines became part of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years. This resulted in Catholicism becoming the dominant religion. During this time, Manila became the western hub of the trans-Pacific trade connecting Asia with Acapulco in the Americas using Manila galleons; as the 19th century gave way to the 20th, the Philippine Revolution followed, which spawned the short-lived First Philippine Republic, followed by the bloody Philippine–American War. The war, as well as the ensuing cholera epidemic, resulted in the deaths of thousands of combatants as well as tens of thousands of civilians. Aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands until after World War II, when the Philippines was recognized as an independent nation. Since the unitary sovereign state has had a tumultuous experience with democracy, which included the overthrow of a dictatorship by a non-violent revolution; the Philippines is a founding member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the East Asia Summit.
It hosts the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank. The Philippines is considered to be an emerging market and a newly industrialized country, which has an economy transitioning from being based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. Along with East Timor, the Philippines is one of Southeast Asia's predominantly Christian nations; the Philippines was named in honor of King Philip II of Spain. Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos, during his expedition in 1542, named the islands of Leyte and Samar Felipinas after the then-Prince of Asturias; the name Las Islas Filipinas would be used to cover all the islands of the archipelago. Before that became commonplace, other names such as Islas del Poniente and Magellan's name for the islands San Lázaro were used by the Spanish to refer to the islands; the official name of the Philippines has changed several times in the course of its history. During the Philippine Revolution, the Malolos Congress proclaimed the establishment of the República Filipina or the Philippine Republic.
From the period of the Spanish–American War and the Philippine–American War until the Commonwealth period, American colonial authorities referred to the country as the Philippine Islands, a translation of the Spanish name. Since the end of World War II, the official name of the country has been the Republic of the Philippines. Philippines has gained currency as the common name since being the name used in Article VI of the 1898 Treaty of Paris, with or without the definite article. Discovery in 2018 of stone tools and fossils of butchered animal remains in Rizal, Kalinga has pushed back evidence of early hominins in the archipelago to as early as 709,000 years. However, the metatarsal of the Callao Man, reliably dated by uranium-series dating to 67,000 years ago remains the oldest human remnant found in the archipelago to date; this distinction belonged to the Tabon Man of Palawan, carbon-dated to around 26,500 years ago. Negritos were among the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, but their first settlement in the Philippines has not been reliably dated.
There are several opposing theories regarding the origins of ancient Filipinos. F. Landa Jocano theorizes. Wilhelm Solheim's Island Origin Theory postulates that the peopling of the archipelago transpired via trade networks originating in the Sundaland area around
The Bohol Sea called the Mindanao Sea, is located between Visayas and Mindanao in the Philippines. It lies north of Mindanao. Siquijor and Camiguin are its two major islands; the major cities along the coastline of the sea are Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Dumaguete and Tagbilaran. The sea connects to the Philippine Sea through the Surigao Strait, to the Camotes Sea both through the Canigao Channel and Cebu Strait, to the Sulu Sea through the strait between Negros Island and Zamboanga Peninsula; the Bohol Sea is home to a large variety of premier scuba diving locations, dive charter boats, hotels that cater to divers. Around the area of Tagbilaran and Balicasag Island there are numerous wall dives that range from 30 to 100 feet. Water temperatures are warm and most divers use a standard 3/2 shorty wetsuit to dive the location. Sea life is abundant and includes such attractions as clownfish, barracuda, huge coral formations, other common tropical sealife. Rorquals have been confirmed to return into Bohol Sea, a rare trend in any Asian waters, most notably Bohol regions host blue whales.
Media related to Bohol Sea at Wikimedia Commons
Bontoc, Southern Leyte
Bontoc the Municipality of Bontoc, is a 4th class municipality in the province of Southern Leyte, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 28,905 people; the town is home to the Bontoc Campus of the Southern Leyte State University, which offers agricultural and industrial courses. The town celebrates their fiesta in honor of the Holy Child Jesus; the Ulang Festival, held annually on January 15, is celebrated by colorful participants dancing in honor of the icon of the Señor Santo Niño. Some devotees to the Señor Santo Niño said that it can performed miracles that can heal sickness of those who touches the said icon; the town is situated on a long stretch of rich alluvial plain, which considered as the greatest farming region in the entire Sogod Bay District, is drained by the Salog and Divisoria Rivers. Because of its rich soil, there is much rice farming; the town is the producer of abaca and tobacco in the Bay District. Bontoc is politically subdivided into 40 barangays.
The name “Bontoc” is derived from an old creek called Bontoc creek near the present Roman Catholic Cemetery where old “pueblo” called Daan Lungsod existed during the early Spanish regime. Before the coming of the Spaniards, Bontoc was a wilderness where few natives lived and wild animals roamed; when the Spaniards came, they found scattered warring tribes of primitive Malays who settled in prosperous villages near the mouth and along the fertile plains of the historic Salog river basin. They successfully subjugated these warring tribes and immigrants and founded a cluster of villages which on formed the nucleus of the Barrio of Bontoc; as far as history could recall the most popular among the ancient warring chiefs, was Mariano Barcelon, nicknamed as “Tahug”. He was acclaimed to be the bravest of the braves, his name was a terror to the Moro pirates. During the Spanish time up to the early part of the American regime, Bontoc was ruled by a succession of native “Cabezas de barangay”, a unit government organization during that time.
Bontoc was at that time a tributary “pueblo” belonging to the old town of Libagon which governed the people for many years both in civil and religious matter by a line of “capitanes or gobernadocillos. The cabezas de barangay who governed this little pueblo earned for themselves the honor of being called “capitan” by their own people; the church wielded tremendous power at that time in the affairs of the government. Any person who offends the clergy or disobeys religious order is punished. Among the well-known capitanes who controlled the reins of the local administration of this barrio were: Hilario Barcelon, Manuel Leyes, Romualdo Tubia, Florentino Flores, Felipe Aguilar and the last well-known cabeza or capitan was Gerardo Faelnar popularly known among the people as Capitan Dadoy whose administration lasted up to the early days of American occupation. Shortly after the coming of the Americans, Bontoc became a unit barrio of Sogod. During the Japanese occupation, the town served as the seat of resistance movement against the Japanese with its general headquarters in sitio Mamingaw, Barangay Banahaw and under the command of Colonel Ruperto K. Kangleon.
In one notable raid, an entire truckload of Japanese soldiers on patrol was annihilated at Sitio Trece, Barangay Santo Niño. A small monument stands in front of Bontoc motor pool at Sitio Trece commemorates this event. On June 15, 1950, it became a regular municipality by the operative provisions of Republic Act No. 522. Official Website of Bontoc, Southern Leyte Philippine Standard Geographic Code Philippine Census Information Local Governance Performance Management System
First Mass in the Philippines
The first Catholic Mass in the Philippines was held on March 31, 1521, Easter Sunday. It was said by Father Pedro de Valderrama along the shores of what was referred to in the journals of Antonio Pigafetta as "Mazaua". Today, this site is believed by many to be Limasawa at the tip of Southern Leyte, though this is contested by some who assert that the first mass was instead held at Masao, Butuan; when Ferdinand Magellan and his European crew sailed from San Lucar de Barrameda for an expedition to search for spices, these explorers landed on the Philippines after their voyage from other proximate areas. On March 28, 1521, while at sea, they saw a bonfire which turned out to be Mazaua where they anchored; the island's sovereign ruler was Rajah Siaiu. When Magellan and comrades set foot on the grounds of Mazaua, he befriended the Rajah together with his brother Rajah Kulambu of Butuan. In those days, it was customary among the indigenous—and in most of southeast Asia—to seal friendship with a blood compact.
On instigation of Magellan who had heard the Malayan term for it, casi casi, the new friends performed the ritual. This was the first recorded blood compact between Spaniards. Gifts were exchanged by the two parties. On March 31, 1521, an Easter Sunday, Magellan ordered a Mass to be celebrated, officiated by Father Pedro Valderrama, the Andalusion chaplain of the fleet, the only priest then. Conducted near the shores of the island, the First Holy Mass marked the birth of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines. Colambu and Siaiu were the first natives of the archipelago, not yet named "Philippines" until the expedition of Ruy Lopez de Villalobos in 1543, to attend the Mass among other native inhabitants. In the afternoon of the same day, Magellan instructed his comrades to plant a large wooden cross on the top of the hill overlooking the sea. Magellan's chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta, who recorded the event said: "After the cross was erected in position, each of us repeated a Pater Noster and an Ave Maria, adored the cross.
Magellan took ownership of the islands where he had landed in the name of King Charles V which he had named earlier on March 16 Archipelago of Saint Lazarus because it was the day of the saint when the Armada reached the archipelago. On June 19, 1960, Republic Act No. 2733, called the Limasawa Law, was enacted without Executive approval on June 19, 1960. The legislative fiat declared The site in Magallanes, Limasawa Island in the Province of Leyte, where the first Mass in the Philippines was held is hereby declared a national shrine to commemorate the birth of Christianity in the Philippines. Magallanes is east of the island of Limasawa. In 1984 Imelda Marcos had a multi-million pesos Shrine of the First Holy Mass built, an edifice made of steel and polished concrete, erected on top of a hill overlooking barangay Magallanes, Limasawa. A super typhoon wiped this out just a few months later. Another shrine was inaugurated in 2005. Limasawa celebrates the historic and religious coming of the Spaniards every March 31 with a cultural presentation and anniversary program dubbed as Sinugdan, meaning "beginning.".
Yet this has no reference at all to a Catholic mass being held on March 31, 1521. Some Filipino historians have long contested the idea that Limasawa was the site of the first Catholic mass in the country. Historian Sonia Zaide identified Masao in Butuan as the location of the first Christian mass; the basis of Zaide's claim is the diary of chronicler of Magellan's voyage. In 1995 Congresswoman Ching Plaza of Agusan del Norte-Butuan City filed a bill in Congress contesting the Limasawa hypothesis and asserting the "site of the first mass" was Butuan; the Philippine Congress referred the matter to the National Historical Institute for it to study the issue and recommend a historical finding. NHI chair Dr. Samuel K. Tan reaffirmed Limasawa as the site of the first mass. Odoric of Pordenone, an Italian and Franciscan friar and missionary explorer, is heartily believed by many Pangasinenses to have celebrated the first mass in Pangasinan in around 1324 that would have predated the mass held in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan.
A marker in front of Bolinao Church states that the first Mass on Philippine soil was celebrated in Bolinao Bay in 1324 by a Franciscan missionary, Blessed Odorico. However, there is scholarly doubt that Odoric was at the Philippines; the National Historical Institute led by its chair Ambeth Ocampo recognized the historical records of Limasawa in Southern Leyte as the venue of the first Mass, held on March 31, 1521