Tuesday, September 11, 2007

History of ORMOC

The City of Ormoc, the center of commerce and industry on the western part of Leyte, is the first non-provincial capital city of the Philippines. It is a showcase of progress and modernity even as its history is a saga of sacrifices, toils and privations of its founders.

Before the Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan, reached Leyte in 1521, a handful of Malayan families lived in a small settlement called “OGMOK” - an old Visayan term for lowland or depressed plain. “OGMOK” was also the name of a spring located between the present barangays of Donghol and Mahayag. The name ORMOC, evidently, is the variation of the original name and came into use with the coming of the Spanish Conquistadores and the migration of people from the neighboring towns and islands to settle in its fertile plains.

The primitive Malayans had some well-developed trade and commerce with the Chinese, Javans and Indonesians who frequented the islands in their junks, vintas and sailboats. Pigafetta, the Spanish historian, mentioned “OGMOK” in his chronicles as one place in Leyte where Magellan touched in search of food and water in March 1521.

On July 16, 1595, Father Chirino and the other Jesuit missionaries arrived in Leyte. In May 1597, Fathers Alonso Rodriguez and Leonardo Scelsi founded the mission of Ormoc. This date marked the conversion of the Ogmokanons to Christianity.

Ormoc, being a seacoast village, was always raided and constantly harassed by Moro pirates every now and then. Piracy and brigandage were fought by the Malayans of Ogmok, Baybay and Palompon (mother town of Ogmok). These towns established a “grapevine” communication system- “runners” from watch towers built to inform and warn the inhabitants of the presence of Moro vintas sighted far out to sea.

Early in 1634, Raja Bungsu, ruler of Sulu, captured 300 natives from Ormoc after a successful attack in Camarines. To protect the people, the Jesuit Juan del Carpio constructed fortifications, which were attacked by the Maguindanaos before its completion. On December 3, 1634, the notorious pirate Katsil Kunalat (Kudarat) invaded Ogmok fresh from its invasion, pillage and plunder of the towns of Sogod, Kabalian, Kanamokan (now Inopacan) and Baybay. Fifty brave Ogmokanons fought the invaders furiously but were annihilated by sheer superiority of arms and number of the enemy. The defenders were massacred up to the last man inside the fort that defended the town and Carpio was killed.

In 1768, the Augustinians took over the missions in Leyte after the Jesuits were expelled. On February 26, 1834, Ormoc was separated from her mother town Palompon and created into a separate and distinct municipality. The following month, March 1834, saw the formal inauguration of the Ormoc Catholic Parish with Rev. Fr. Bibiano Luciano as first curate.

The line of chief executives of the Ormoc civil government is equally impressive. Immediately after the creation of Ormoc as a municipio in 1834, one Sofronio Cabiling was appointed Capitan to head the gobierno municipal. His successor capitanes were Gregorio Sacay, Epifanio Ortiz, Agaton Aparis, Inocentes Eamiguel, Rosendo Daffon, Fernando Bañez, Nicolas Torres, Mateo Solidor and Leon Aviles.

During the Philippine Revolution, Leyte became involved only several months after its outbreak in August 1896. The Revolutionary Government represented by General Vicente Lukban took possession of Leyte.

Shortly after the Americans defeated the Spaniards and later the Filipinos, a civil government was established in Leyte in April 22, 1901. However, an Ormocanon by the name of Faustino Ablen organized the pulahanes movement, a resistance group, which was eventually defeated by the American forces; but the heroism of Faustino Ablen became the symbol of the Ormocanons courage and bravery.

With the establishment of the American controlled civil government following the termination of the Spanish-American War at the turn of the century, Ormoc’s town executives assumed the title of Municipal President with Dr. Fernando Calderon acting as the first and last appointed official to this post. Atty. Victorio Laurente was the last elected Municipal President.

During the first term of Atty. Victorio Laurente, the Commonwealth Government came into existence on November 15, 1935. The town executive sported the title Alcalde Municipal or Municipal Mayor. Under this category the following mayors served the Municipality of Ormoc: Victorio Laurente, second term, 1938-1941; Catalino Hermosilla, 1941-1943 (replaced on the third year of his term by the Japanese Government appointing in his place Jose Codilla, 1943-1944. The Resistance Government appointed Potenciano Larrazabal, 1944-1945 ratified and confirmed later by the American Liberation Army.

When World War II broke out, Japanese Imperial forces occupied the province of Leyte on May 25, 1942. Consequently, resistance units were organized, among them was the Western Leyte Warfare Forces. On November 6, 1944, the decisive and historic battle of Ormoc "Corridor", a three-pronged attack by the combined forces of the Americans and Filipinos encircled and placed the Yamashita Line completely under control. The American 77th Division landed at Deposito, about 3 miles south of Ormoc, on the 7th of December; captured Camp Downer on the 9th; and entered Ormoc the next day despite enemy opposition.

Ormoc became a city through Republic Act No. 179 fathered by Congressman Dominador Tan, which was approved on June 21, 1947. The late first President of the Philippine Republic Manuel A. Roxas proclaimed Ormoc a city on September 4, 1947. By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 42, Ormoc was formally inaugurated as a city on October 20, 1947, exactly three years after the famous Leyte Landing.

From a small town of dirt roads and a few asphalt streets of the 1950s, Ormoc has metamorphosed into an expanding jungle of concrete and infrastructures. Wide concrete roads and bridges, well-equipped government and private hospitals and clinics, airport facilities, banking and financing institutions, commercial and trade establishments, housing projects, factories and industrial plants…all are eloquent evidences of modern development and progress thrusts.

Prominent mayors who are instrumental in directing Ormoc City on the road to progress from the ravages of war during this period were the late Mayor Marcelo Bandalan, the first appointed mayor of the City of Ormoc. Then, Esteban Conejos Sr., the last appointed mayor (1957-1959) and the first elected mayor (1959-1963), followed by Iñaki A. Larrazabal, Sr. who was appointed as mayor on 1948-1949 and 1953-1954; elected as mayor from 1967-1971 and re-elected 1971-1984.

A flashflood on November 5, 1991 brought death, destruction of crops and damage in properties. The severity of the damage was found to be due to massive deforestation/rapid forest denudation. In response, the government and the private sector embarked on a concerted effort directed towards full-scale reforestation of the denuded areas. Mayor Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr. (elected 1992-1995, re-elected 1995-1998 and 1998-2001) leads the drive towards the reconstruction of Ormoc City after this calamity. Under his term, reconstruction of infrastructure support facilities, reforestation projects, construction of resettlement facilities, drainage system, water system, lighting system and provision for social services for Ormoc's constituents were undertaken. In addition he was instrumental in the construction of the Ormoc Superdome and the establishment of shopping malls in the city. Through his effort, Ormoc with the assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) implemented a Flood Mitigation Project that addresses the threat of flooding of the city center during typhoons and heavy downpour.

Ormoc is now fast becoming the hub of development in the region. With its strategic geographical location in which it serves as a gateway to the Eastern Visayas, more economic activities have taken place evident in the rapid growth of business establishments, financial institutions and infrastructures. Although fast development was largely attributed to the activities spawned by the PNOC geothermal power production project in Tongonan, many attest the development as necessary to accommodate the rising number of people and businesses in the area.

Today, Ormoc City is a picture of steady progress and stability. With its continuous modernization program, more investors are coming into the city, which contributed to it being adjudged as the 2005 Most Business-Friendly City in the Visayas by the prestigious Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. And though the city has embarked on modernization, it has also keep attuned to its environmental protection programs as evident in being a consistent Cleanest and Greenest City awardee in Region VIII and one of the Cleanest and Greenest City in the country. This prestigious award is a leading tribute to visualize Ormoc as a "beauty by the bay", a wonderful place to visit whether for business or pleasure.

Tales of the PHILIPPINES

How the Philippines Began

The universe was once made up of the Sky (on top), the Sea (at the bottom), and a large Bird which flew constantly between the first two. The Bird grew tired of flying since he didn't have any place to rest, so he started an argument between those two best of friends, the Sky and the Sea.

The Bird told the Sky that the Sea wanted to drown him with her mighty waves. Then the Bird told the Sea that the Sky wanted to hit her with stones. The Sea reacted by throwing waves of water towards the Sky.

The Sky moved even higher, but when he saw the Sea's waves rising some more, he then threw soil towards the sea. The soil quieted the Sea and also made the Sky lighter. The soil turned into 7,000 islands and that is how the Philippines came to be.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Noong unang panahon ay mababang-mababa ang langit at walang buwan ni bituin. Bakit kaya tumaas ang langit? Narito sa alamat na ito ang mga sagot.

Si Maria at ang kanyang nanay ay nakatira sa isang bahay-kubo. Si Maria ay may suklay na ginto at kuwintas na may butil-butil na ginto. Halos araw-araw ay isinusukat niya ang suklay at kuwintas at tinitingnan niya sa kanyang anino sa tubig kung siya ay maganda.

Isang araw nang isinusukat ni Maria ang suklay at ang kuwintas ay tinawag siya ng kanyang nanay.

"Maria, magbayo ka ng palay," ang wika ng ina.

"Opo," ang sagot ni Maria, nguni't hindi siya kumilos.

"Maria, magmadali ka," ang tawag na muli ng matanda. "Wala tayong bigas na isasaing."

"Opo, sandali po lamang," ang tugon ni Maria, nguni't hindi niya inaalis ang kanyang tingin sa kanyang anino sa tubig.

"Maria, sinasabi ko na sa iyong magbayo ka ng palay. Madali ka," ang galit na galit na utos ng matanda.

Tumindig si Maria at tuloy-tuloy siya sa lusong ng palay. Hindi na niya naalis ang suklay at kuwintas. Nalalaman niyang kapag galit na galit na ang kanyang nanay ay dapat siyang sumunod nang madali. Nagbayo na siya nang nagbayo ng palay. Pagkatapos ng ilang sandali, siya ay pinawisan.

"Napupuno ng pawis ang aking kuwintas," ang wika ni Maria sa kanyang sarili.

"Hinubad niya ang kuwintas. Inalis ang kanyang suklay. Isinabit ang mga ito sa langit na noon ay mababang-mababa at naabot ng kamay. Samantalang siya ay nagbabayo ay tinitingnan ang suklay at kuwintas.

"Kay ganda ng aking suklay at kuwintas," ang wika ni Maria sa kanyang sarili. "Pagkatapos na pagkatapos ko nang pagbabayo ng palay ay isusuot ko uli ang aking suklay at kuwintas."

Sa gayong pagsabi ay dinalas niya ang pagbabayo ng palay upang ito ay matapos at maisuot niya uli ang suklay at kuwintas. Tumaas ng tumaas ang pagbuhat niya ng halo at dumalas nang dumalas ang pagbagsak nito sa lusong. Umaabot na pala ang dulo ng halo sa langit, nguni't hindi niya napapansin. Sa palay na ngayon ang kanyang tingin. Tinitingnan niya kung malapit na siyang makatapos upang maisuot niya ang suklay at kuwintas. Itinaas pa niyang lalo ang pagbuhat ng halo upang lumakas ang pagbagsak nito sa lusong at nang madaling mabayo ang palay.

Sa bawa't pagtaas pala niya ng halo ay bumubunggo ang halo sa langit at sa bawa't pagbunggo naman ay tumataas ang langit. Nang mapuna ni Maria ang nangyayari ay mataas na ang langit. Tangay-tangay ang kanyang gintong suklay at kuwintas. Hindi na niya maabot ang mga ito.

Tumaas nang tumaas ang langit. Tumaas din nang tumaas ang suklay at kuwintas. Noong gabing yaon ay umupo si Maria sa may bintana at tinintingnan niya ang langit na ngayon ay mataas na mataas na. Hinanap niya ang kanyang suklay at kuwintas. Naroroon ang kanyang gintong suklay at siyang naging buwan. Ang mga gintong butil ng kanyang kuwintas at nagkahiwa-hiwalay at siya namang naging mga bituin.

"Lalong maganda ngayon ang aking gintong suklay," ang wika ni Maria sa kanyang sarali, "At anong kinang ng mga butil ng aking kuwintas!"


Ayon sa matatanda, ang Bathalang lumikha ng daigdig ay si Laor. Ayon sa paniwala ng marami ay amtagal siyang namuhay na nag-iisa dito sa daigdig. Hindi malaunan at siya ay nakaramdam ng pagkalungkot sa kanyang pag-iisa. Upang maiwasan ang ganitong pangyayari ay umisip siya ng isang magandang paraan.

Isang araw ay naisipan niyang kumimpal ng lupa upang gawing mga tao, sa gayon ay malulunasan ang kanyang mga kalungkutan. Iniluto niya sa hurno ang lupang kanyang ginawa. Sa hindi malamang sanhi ay nakalingatan niya ito, kaya't nang kanyang buksan ay maitim at sunog. Ang lumabas na sunog ay naging nuno ng mga Negro at Ita. Hindi nasiyahan si Bathala sa una niyang pagsubok. Kumuha uli siya ng lupa at hinubog na anyong tao at isinilid sa hurno. Sa takot niyang ito'y masunog tulad ng una, hinango agad sa kalan. Ang lumabas ngayon ay hilaw at maputi. Muling humubog si Bathala ng lupa at iniluto sa hurno. Palibhasa'y ikatlo na niyang pagsubok ito, hindi napaaga ni napahuli ang pagkakahango niya sa pugon. Hustong-husto ang pagkakaluto ngayon at katamtaman ang kulay. Ito ang pinagmulan ng lahing kayumanggi na kinabibilangan natin.

Ano ang ALAMAT?

Ang alamat ay kuwento na kathang isip lamang na kinasasangkutan ng
kababalaghan o 'di pagkaraniwang pangyayari na naganap nuong unang panahon.

Ang alamat ay karaniwang tumatalakay sa mga katutubong kultura, kaugalian o
kapaligiran. Eto ay tumatalakay din sa mga katangiang maganda, tulad ng
pagiging matapat, matapang, matulungin, at sa mga katangiang hindi maganda
tulad ng pagiging mapaghiganti, masakim, o mapanumpa, Nguni’t sa banding huli
ang kuwento ay kinapupulutan ng aral para sa ikabubuti ng iba.

Sapagkat ang alamat ay karaniwang nagsimula nuong unang panahon at eto ay
nagpasalin- salin na sa maraming henerasyon, ang alamat ay pinaniniwalaan ng
maraming tao na tutoong naganap dahil sa tagal ng pamamayani nito sa ating
panitikan o sa ating kultura.

Ang mga alamat ay nagkakaroon ng iba’t-ibang bersiyon ayon na rin sa hangarin ng
sumulat o nagpalaganap ng ibang bersiyon ng alamat. Eto ay maaaring sa hangarin
na isanobela, isadula o isa-pelikula ang isang alamat.

Halimbawa ang isang bersiyon ng alamat ni Bernardo Carpio ay sinasabing sadyang
pinalaganap ng mga Kastila upang mapigilan ang namumuong himaksikan ng mga
Pilipino laban sa mga mananakop.

Ibang bersiyon naman ang pinalalaganap ng ibang mga magulang sa hangaring ang
kanilang mga anak ay huwag matakot kapag lumilindol sapagkat eto ay likha lamang
ni Bernardo tuwing nagtatangkang kumawala sa nag-uumpugang bato.

Bagama’t maraming bersiyon ang alamat, ang mga eto ay nagkakaisa sa
paglalarawan kay Bernardo na isang matipuno at makisig na lalaki. Ang pagkakaiba
ng iba't-ibang bersiyon ay ang pagtalakay kung bakit, papaano, at sino ang naging
sanhi ng kanyang pagkaipit sa nag-uumpugang mga bato.


A blogger from Ormoc City, Philippines. I made this blog to help students the easiest way to make their search on all legends and folklore of the Philippine Archipelago.