|Region||Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)|
|Province||Chartered city in Leyte|
|Total (2000)|| 178,639|
Tacloban City is an urbanized first class city, a port town, and the capital of the Philippine province of Leyte. It is an island province in Eastern Visayas. According to the 2000 National Census, the city has a population of 178,639 people in 34,758 households.
Tacloban is culturally and linguistically diverse as it is the economic, social and tourism center of Eastern Visayas. The main language in and around Tacloban is Waray-Waray, the local dialect. But the languages spoken as a medium of instruction in schools, communications in big business and institutions, and correspondence with government offices are Filipino and English.
Economically, Tacloban is one of the fastest growing cities in the Philippines. It has one of the lowest poverty incidence rates in the country (at roughly 9%, while the national poverty incidence stands at 30%), and is the richest local government unit in Eastern Visayas. The Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport located in the city is the region's largest domestic airport, with plans for expansion into an international standard facility underway.
Copra is Leyte's most important export product. More than 30% of the cultivatable land is planted with coconut palms. Other important agricultural exports are rice, maize, sugar cane and abaca. These are mostly shipped directly from Tacloban, making it unnecessary to send exports via Manila.
A major selling point for investors is that the city draws power primarily from the large Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant, which is relatively unaffected by global oil prices. Tacloban is also the gateway to the Leyte Industrial Development Estate in Isabel, home of the Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Plant, the largest fertilizer factory in Asia, and the Philippine Associated Smelter and Refining Company, the country's biggest copper processing plant.
One of Tacloban's strongest selling points is the fact that the schools located in the city are considered some of the best in the region and the country overall. The student population of the city is approximately 40,000.
The city is the site of large state-run educational institutions like the University of the Philippines Visayas College - Tacloban, the UP School of Health Sciences (actually located in Palo, Leyte), Leyte Normal University (LNU), Eastern Visayas State University (formerly known as the Leyte Institute of Technology), and Leyte National High School (commonly known as Leyte High). Private schools include the Remedios T. Romualdez (RTR) Foundation Medical School (the largest medical school in the region), Asian Development Foundation College, St. Therese Educational Foundation Of Tacloban Inc.(STEFTI), St. Therese Educational Center Of Leyte (STECL), St. Therese Christian Development Center Foundation, Inc., Tacloban Angelicum Learning Center, Holy Infant College, Leyte Colleges, ABE International College of Business & Accounting (the only International College in the city), St. Paul's Business Schools (also in Palo, and one of the biggest in terms of student population), AMA Computer College - Tacloban Campus, STI, Sercon Technical School, St. Scholastica's College, Alpha-Omega Learning Center, and UCFLP Pre-Elementary School. Another government-funded high school located near the Government Center is Philippine Science High School, more known to the locals as PhilSci. The 10 hectare Divine Word University, formerly owned by the Society of the Divine Word, was closed down in 1995 as a result of a labor dispute between management and the faculty union. The University has reopened in 2006 by renewing its name as the Liceo del Verbo Divino.
There are two private Chinese schools in the city - Leyte Progressive High School and the Sacred Heart College (run by a congregation of priests and nuns from Taiwan). Sacred Heart College is the only private Chinese Catholic school in Region VIII.
University of the Philippines Tacloban is one of the top 3 Accountancy schools in the Philippines. A very stringent process of elimination is implemented though pre-qualifying exams aimed at weeding out those who do not have the aptitude for the course (more than a hundred enrollees in the first year, around 25 graduates). CPA's from UP Tacloban either take further studies or pursue their profession in big auditing firms not only in Manila but all over the world.
Its Humanities courses are taught by renowned scholars, poets and literary artists (e.g. Prof. Merlie Alunan, Prof. Dulce Anacion, 'Dr. Victor Sugbo', Dr. David Genotiva, Prof. Stephen Lagarde, Dr. Joyce Dorado-Alegre, etc.); and the alma mater of known Waray writers like Voltaire Oyzon, Darryl Jane Delgado, Jhonil Bajado, Harold Mercurio, Janis Calire Salvacion, among others.
National Maritime Polytechnic is the Philippines' premiere and most modern maritime school. Set in a sprawling campus at the foot of the San Juanico Bridge, it has some of the most modern navigation equipment in Asia.
Eastern Visayas State University, formerly known as the Leyte Institute of Technology, is the biggest and best performing engineering school in Eastern Visayas; it is a center of excellence in Engineering in the region.
Holy Infant College is one of the best Catholic schools in the city or even the region, offering pre-elementary, elementary, basic education, and higher education programs. Its flagship course is Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The school was recognized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for having the best and most fully-equipped skills laboratory in the region.
St. Paul's Business School is the region's biggest business school and its performance in the board exams is above the national average.
Leyte Normal University, formerly known as Leyte State University, is renowned for its education courses and its laboratory high school.
The Remedios T. Romualdez Medical Foundation and St. Scholastica's College are among the best performing medical schools in the country, with a very high passing percentage in the Nursing Board exams.
The Don Vicente Orestes Romualdez Educational Foundation is the most competitive College of Law in the whole of Eastern Visayas.
Philippine Science High School is one of the most competitive secondary schools in the country, while Leyte National High School is the biggest secondary school in the region.
Asian Development Foundation College is Eastern Visayas' center of execellence for information technology as awarded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). The school offers pre-elementary, elementary, basic education, and higher education programs. The institution is now in the process of working towards university status.
Tacloban City is politically subdivided into 138 barangays.
Tacloban has an excellent harbor with facilities for handling large ships and overseas trade. The colorful market at the western end of the wharf is full of life. The San Juanico Bridge, which is 2.16 kms. long and connects the islands of Leyte and Samar across the San Juanico Strait, which is considered the narrowest strait in the Philippines.
Tacloban developed from a small fishing village, a barrio of Basey, Samar. The word "Tacloban" evolved from "taklub" which a basket-like contraption used for catching fish. It became a major trading town in the late 18th century. The city is well-known for its role in World War II, being a major base for the US forces and the first town liberated by American General Douglas MacArthur's forces from the Japanese Imperial Forces. It served as the temporary Capital of the Philippines from October 1944 to February 1945, while Manila was under Japanese control.
The city is also known for being the hometown of the former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos, whose family still commands a large political dynasty in the area. The current city Mayor, Alfredo S. Romualdez, Jr. is the son of former Tacloban Mayor Alfredo T. Romualdez, Sr. whom he succeeded. Tacloban's Airport is named after Daniel Z. Romualdez, uncle of Imelda and the former Speaker of the House shortly before President Ferdinand Marcos rose to national prominence.
Tacloban City was formerly known as Kankabatok, named after the first settler, Kabatok, who occupied the area around the present Sto. Niño Parish Church. Other inhabitants who came later were Gumoda, Haranging and Huraw, who settled in nearby areas. The Kanhuraw Hill where the City Hall is presently situated was formerly Huraw's domain. The whole settlement area was called Kankabatok, meaning Kabatok's property.
Kankabatok was formerly under the political administration of Palo but under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Basey, Samar. The Augustinian Mission discovered Kankabatok in 1770 and the Franciscans came later in 1813. During this period, Kankabatok was changed to `Tarakluban` which means the place where the inhabitants used the `Taklub`, a bamboo contraption for catching crabs, shrimp and fish. Later, the name of the place evolved from `Tarakluban` to its present name, Tacloban.
Although no official records remain, it is commonly believed that Tacloban was officially proclaimed a municipality in 1770, after Leyte and Samar were separated as independent provinces in 1768. Since then, Tacloban became a trading point between the two provinces because of its strategic location. On February 26, 1830, Tacloban became the official Capital of Leyte because of the ideal location of its port which is well sheltered and with adequate facilities.
Colonel Murray arrived in Tacloban in 1901 and became the first Military Governor of Leyte. He opened the Tacloban port to international commerce, especially for copra and abaca, which were exported in large quantities. Before World War II, Tacloban was the center of commerce, education, social and cultural activities in Leyte. The educational institutions were: Leyte Normal School (now Leyte Normal University), Leyte High School (now Leyte National High School), Leyte Trade School( now Eastern Visayas State University), Holy Infant Academy (now Holy Infant College) and the Tacloban Catholic Institute.
On May 25, 1942, Japanese Forces landed in Tacloban and started a three-year Japanese occupation of Leyte. The Japanese forces fortified Tacloban, improved its airfield and established San Pedro Bay as a port of call and entry for the Japanese Imperial Forces. During the Japanese occupation, many guerilla forces were organized and the most famous was the group of Colonel Ruperto Kangleon.
On October 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur and his troops landed on the Tacloban-Palo beaches (White Beach and Red Beach) and in the neighboring town of Dulag (Blue Beach) where they liberated Leyte from the Japanese Forces. On October 23, 1944, General MacArthur, accompanied by President Sergio Osmeña, Sr. made Tacloban the temporary seat of the Commonwealth Government until the final liberation of the whole country. Famous landmarks during the liberation were the Joseph Price Mansion where General MacArthur set up his headquarters and the Redoña Residence. Then the Provincial Government of Leyte and the Municipal Government of Tacloban were re-established. Atty. Paulo Jaro was the Liberation Mayor of Tacloban and Mr. Epifanio Aguirre was the first mayor upon the inauguration of the new and sovereign independent Republic of the Philippines.
On June 20, 1952, Tacloban was proclaimed a chartered city by virtue of Republic Act No. 760 which went into effect on June 12, 1953. The charter was signed by President Elpidio Quirino and witnessed by the incumbent mayor, Ildefonso Cinco, who became the first city mayor.
On June 30, 1954, on the Feast Day of Sr. Sto. Nino, the Patron Saint of Tacloban, Speaker Jose B. Laurel did the honor of laying the cornerstone for the Tacloban City Hall at Kanhuraw Hill. As a new city, Tacloban attracted businessmen looking for sound investment prospects while people from neighboring towns slowly began to look for opportunities and laid roots in the city.
Succeeding Hon. Ildefonso Cinco when he became Governor of Leyte was Engr. Artemio E. Mate' who became the second city Mayor of Tacloban City. The 60's ushered in developments, including a new First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Romualdez Marcos, a Leyteño who loved Tacloban City. During the late 60's and early 70's, Tacloban City gradually changed from a less obvious to a remarkable city. Institutions were established, such as National Maritime Polytechnic, UP Tacloban, Sto. Niño Shrine and the People's Center and Library in Tacloban City, and others which were established in the Province of Leyte. All these were in addition to the construction of the San Juanico Bridge, the Maharlika Highway, the improvement of the DZR Airport and the Tacloban Sea Port, and many other infrastructure projects that promoted Tacloban City to the business sector and to national and foreign investors.
On September 24, 1972, Tacloban became a part of the of the Integrated Reorganization Plan by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1 of the New Society under Proclamation No. 1081 declaring Martial Law in the Philippines. During that time, Mayor Filomeno Arteche was the incumbent mayor.
On May 12, 1976, President Marcos appointed Obdulia R. Cinco as Mayor of Tacloban City and she was returned to the seat when she won in the local elections on January 30, 1980, becoming the first elected female mayor of Tacloban City.
In 1986, after Corazon Aquino was placed into the presidency by the EDSA Revolution, Mayor Cinco was replaced by Emmanuel K. Veloso who stayed until the elections of 1988. This time, another Mate' was elected as Mayor. The younger brother of former Mayor, Congressman and Assemblyman Artemio E. Mate'. Uldarico E. Mate' won in the elections and he became the first elected mayor after the EDSA Revolution. Mayor Mate' was given a mandate of three terms. During his term, Tacloban evolved in terms of economic, social and infrastructure development, leading to it being categorized as a first class city. The business sector's confidence in the economic standing of the city boosted its prospects, and local and international entrepreneurs became interested in putting up business in the city.
In the mid-90's, Tacloban City worked out the acquisition of 237 hectares for its Economic Zone, which was finally realized and approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1210 on April 23, 1998. The Eastern Visayas Agri-Industrial Growth Center (EVRGC) was then officially registered as an Eco-Zone with the City Government of Tacloban as the developer/operator.
On June 12, 2003, Tacloban City celebrated its Golden Anniversary with appropriate rites and activities with Mayor Alfredo T. Romualdez at its helm. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Tacloban's cityhood showed the long trail of significant activities leading to the present status of Tacloban by which economic, infrastructural and social gains were achieved.
Fiesta Calendar of Tacloban
Tacloban City Government Officials (2007-2010)
Mayor: Romualdez. Alfred
Vice-Mayor: ANTONI, Arvin
Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) Members:
- ROMUALDEZ, Cristina "Kring-Kring"
- YAOKASIN, Jerry "Sambo"
- UY, Wilson "Sonuy"
- LAGONOY, Nofredo "Rindo"
- MATE, Bianco "Bianco"
- HERNANDEZ, Robert "Robert"
- PACANAN, Rufino "Pax"
- ANDRADE, Robert "Bobby"
- PEDROSA, Cristeta "Tita"
- ABELLANOSA, Ranulfo "Bob"
- Tacloban City blogsite
- Tacloban Leyte current Photos
- Tacloban City Wikimap
- Official Website of Tacloban
- Official Forum of Tacloban City
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- 2000 Philippine Census Information