ORMOC CITY is a coastal city that is located in the northwestern part of Leyte, Philippines. The name of the city was derived from ogmok, meaning lowland or depressed plain from an old Visayan term. This is the first non-provincial city of the Philippines.
Ormoc Bay is situated in the West side of Ormoc City, bounded by towns of Matag-ob and Merida in the northwest part; Kananga in north, towns of Jaro, Dagami and Pastrana in the northeast and Albuera in the south. The high Mountain Mount Mindiwin separates Ormoc from eastern portion of Leyte.
In this city, Ormoc Valley stretches from north-northeast to south-southeast with numerous rivers and streams traversing these plains which supplies enough water for the townsfolk and its agricultural means.
It is said to believe that Ormoc, is the variation of the original name Ogmok and was used during the Spanish occupation and the migration of neighboring townsfolk and islands to settle in the fertile plains of this city. Ormoc City is an independent city which is not subject to regulation from the Provincial Government of Leyte.
In the city history, Malayan families had already settled in “OGMOK” before the famous navigator; Ferdinand Magellan had reached Leyte in March 1521. The Spanish historian, Pigafetta mentioned in his records that Ormoc is where Magellan touched down in search of food and water. The primitive Malayans developed trade and commerce with Chinese, Javans and Indonesians frequenting the islands in vintas and sailboats. The city being a seacoast village is always raided and constantly harassed by Moro pirates, thus, Malayans fought hard for these pirates. The towns Ogmok, Baybay and Palompon (mother town of Ogmok) established a warning system communication through people manning watch towers to inform and warn the inhabitants of the presence of Moro vintas when sighted from the sea.
On July 16, 1595, Jesuit missionaries arrived in Leyte and in May 1597 these missionaries founded their mission in Ormoc. This year marked the conversion of Ogmokanons to Christianity. In 1634, the ruler of Sulu then, Raja Bungsu, captured 300 natives from Ormoc following the invasion of notorious pirates in the town. The nearby towns of Sogod, Kabalian, Inopacan and Baybay were also invaded and plundered. It was said that 50 brave Ogmokanons fought the enemies, but was outnumbered and later on massacred up to the last man.
The Augustinians took over the Jesuit mission in 1768 on Leyte. Then on February 26, 1834, Ormoc became a distinct municipality separating it from Palompon as its mother town. Chief Executives appointed to govern the municipal civil government are equally impressive. Later on a Catholic Parish Reverend became as the first curate in Ormoc, the inauguration were held on March 1834.
In August 1896, Leyte became involved in the Philippine Revolution for some time and the Revolution Government in Leyte was represented by General Vicente Lukban. Americans defeated the Spaniards and Filipino revolution, thus, a civil government was formed in the year April 22, 1901. The government was controlled by the Americans, ending the Spanish-American war at the turn of the century. Ormoc town executives assumed the title of municipal president later on. Commonwealth government was formed on November 15, 1935. The Municipal President, Atty. Victorio Laurente sported a new title as the Alcalde Municipal or Municipal Mayor. The following years then various mayors were appointed by the Japanese and Resistance Governments.
On May 25, 1942, Japanese Imperial forces occupied Leyte during the World War II. Resistance units were formed such as the Western Leyte Warfare Forces. Then the historic battle of Ormoc together with the forces of Americans and Filipinos defeated the Yamashita forces on November 6, 1944.
Three years after the famous Leyte landing, Ormoc became a city through Republic Act No. 179 that was approved on June 21, 1947. The late first President of the Philippine Republic, Manuel A. Roxas proclaimed Ormoc as a city on September 4, 1947. Ormoc was formally inaugurated as a city on October 20, 1947.
In the year 1950, Ormoc City transformed into modern infrastructures, wide concrete roads and bridges, well-equipped government and hospital facilities, airport facilities, banks, commercial and trade establishments, house projects, factories, industrial plants, thus, the start of progress for this city.
In November 5, 1991, Ormoc City was flooded by Tropical Storm Thelma (local name: Uring) that wrought havoc such as flash floods and landslides, death killing close to 5,000 people in its city. The damage was found to be due to massive deforestation or rapid forest denudation. The event pushed both the government and private sector to embark on a full-gear effort to restore the denuded forest areas. Reconstruction of infrastructure facilities, reforestation projects, resettlement facilities, drainage system, Ormoc Superdome, water system, among others were undertaken through the efforts of the city government which was then led by Mayor Eufrocino M. Codilla Sr. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) also assisted the city government in implementing the Flood Mitigation Project that would protect the city during typhoons and heavy downpour.
Today, Ormoc City is a picture of steady progress and stability after the tragedy that befell the city. It is now becoming a hub of development in the region. More investors are coming into the city, and more businesses are being established. In the year 2005, The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry proclaimed Ormoc City as the Most Business-Friendly City in the Visayas. The city is also attuned to its efforts in protecting the environment, and this was evident when Ormoc was also awarded as a consistent Cleanest and Greenest City in Region VIII and in the country. This award truly magnifies Ormoc City as a wonderful place to visit.
Ormoc City is the largest local government subdivision in the province of Leyte. The total land area is 464.30 square kilometers. Half of the land is mountains and hills. The largest mountain range is east of the city with a peak of 1,000 feet in several places. Agriculture is the main use of the land, which comprises an area of 26,298.29 hectares or 56.64% of the city’s total land area. Forest land area comprised of 15,034.87 hectares or 32.38%. While the city commercial areas totals 2,672.80 hectares or 5.75% of the total land area only. Facilities such as the airport, mangroves/swamps, mineral areas and open grasslands totals to 2,424.08 hectares or 5.22% of the land area.
The people of Ormoc are called Ormocanons and the native language used is Cebuano (or Kana). The townsfolk relate more to neighboring towns and Cebu than to eastern Leyte.
According to the 2005 census, the city has a population of 166,144 with a population growth rate of 1.49%. The age bracket between 1-9 years old comprised of 24.63% population of the city, 22.41% for 10-19 age bracket. A total of 47.04% Ormocanons live in the city.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
This city is the center of commerce and industry. It has its own major industries such as geothermal energy, sugar-based alcohol and industrial gases. Ormoc City’s fertile soil is also used as fishing ground. And most of the residents are into agriculture and fishing.
Other products provided by the city includes cut flowers, dry goods retailing, metal crafts, food processing, crafting garments, novelty items, decors and furniture making.
Rainy period occurs in Ormoc City from June to February. Humid temperature ranges between 21.1 °C to 34 °C in the months of January to May.
ARTS & CULTURE
The province has a rich historical archive dating from the Spanish colonial era (early 1500s to early 19th century). The city is also prominent during World War II after the biggest naval battle in human history. The island became the entry point of allies in taking back the country from the Japanese.
Major produce are sugarcane, rice, pineapple, wood crafts, corn, fish, coconut, abaca and coco handicrafts, vegetables, root crops and livestock.
Cassava Cake, Delicacies and Pastries.
In the early 17th century, pamphlets and paper manuscripts circulated in all parochial schools, religion and music. Filipino dialect with emphasis on primitive alphabet is being taught. Through this way, the religious educators taught the Latin way of writing and thereafter the townsfolk adapted it.
LIST OF “BARANGAYS” (or communities)
Ormoc City is comprised of 110 barangays, 31 urban communities, 16 coastal communities and 63 rural communities:
Barangay 1 (Pob.)
Barangay 2 (Pob.)
Barangay 3 (Pob.)
Barangay 4 (Pob.)
Barangay 5 (Pob.)
Barangay 6 (Pob.)
Barangay 7 (Pob.)
Barangay 8 (Pob.)
Barangay 9 (Pob.)
Barangay 10 (Pob.)
Barangay 11 (Pob.)
Barangay 12 (Pob.)
Barangay 13 (Pob.)
Barangay 14 (Pob.)
Barangay 15 (Pob.)
Barangay 16 (Pob.)
Barangay 17 (Pob.)
Barangay 18 (Pob.)
Barangay 19 (Pob.)
Barangay 20 (Pob.)
Barangay 21 (Pob.)
Barangay 22 (Pob.)
Barangay 23 (Pob.)
Barangay 24 (Pob.)
Barangay 25 (Pob.)
Barangay 26 (Pob.)
Barangay 27 (Pob.)
Barangay 28 (Pob.)
Barangay 29 (Pob.)
Don Felipe Larrazabal
Rufina M. Tan
Don Potenciano Larrazabal
Doña Feliza Z. Mejia
Golf course awaits all visitors in Ormoc City. The Leyte Golf and Country Club is just 7 kilometers away from the city. Water sports adventurers and beach lovers can also enjoy several beach resorts that offer various recreational getaways such as jet-skiing among others.
For late-night fun, several night spots are located in Ormoc City’s hotels and vicinity for a drink of beer, while others drink the famous native wine concoction which is “tuba” that is made from coconut.
The lake is violin shape and it stretches 3 kilometers with an elevation of 2,100 feet (640 meters) above sea level. Townsfolk believe that a giant eel lives in this lake. Tourists can surely enjoy the serenity of this lake with boats available for hire and a floating restaurant is also available.
LEYTE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
This place overlooks Ormoc Bay, surrounding beautiful mountains and rolling hills. It is a premier golfing resort that covers more than 80 hectares of terrain situated on a plateau with palms, coconut, fruit-bearing trees and flowering shrubs. The course is located just 7 kilometers away from Ormoc City.
LEYTE MOUNTAIN TRAIL
Trekkers can surely have fun on this trail which starts at Lake Danao and ends at Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park.
This is the site where the remains of the Flash Flood Tragedy victims in 1991 were buried. It is situated within Ormoc City. Every November 5, a memorial mass and wreath lying of flowers is held on this grave.
Ormoc City has 6 beach resorts and 3 picnic grounds, situated in west Ormoc Bay. Various water sports facilities and adventures are provided in these beaches.
PHIL-JAPAN PEACE MEMORIAL
As a token of friendship between the Japanese and Filipinos in aftermath of World War II, an impressive memorial marker was built by Nagoya and Gifu Prefectures. It is located in one of Ormoc’s hills overlooking Ormoc Bay. Japanese tourist often visits this area to pay homage to their beloved countrymen who fought in World War II.
The city is also famous for its local product which is the Pineapple, for its distinct sweetness. Visitors usually buy bundles of this famous product as ‘pasalubong’ or gifts to their loved ones and friends.
The plantation is 210 hectares located north of Hibunawon and Kananga communities. A daily harvest is estimated at 2,000 pieces which is marketed in the region and other neighboring islands. Tourists can access the place by private vehicles only, just a 30 minute ride away from the city.
Visitors has the option to tour Mahagnao, Malagsum, Casudsu-Ran, and Dabao lakes, as well as the Guinaban falls, plains and views of the Samar Island from the Amandiwing mountain range. One can enjoy nature sightseeing and trip to forest containing varieties of flora and fauna.
TONGONAN HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK
This place is a valley of geothermal power source supplying electricity to the whole region, the very first geothermal plant to operate in the Philippines. The park has a lot of recreational activities such as boating, swimming, camping, trekking, biking, picnic and scientific studies being conducted here.
VETERANS CENTENNIAL PARK
In honor of the soldiers who fought for the liberation of the country, the park was built in early 1990. And to commemorate the 100th year independence of the Philippines, a centennial marker was erected in 1998. Old and young alike enjoys strolling in this park, experiencing the refreshing air and beauty of the sunset.
Currently, there is no direct flight going to Ormoc City since the airport is currently under reconstruction. From Manila, take a flight via Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific Air going to Tacloban City. Ormoc city can be reached approximately 2 hours travel time via V-hire van inside Tacloban airport, and Bus transportation outside the airport
There are several bus companies plying the route from Manila to Ormoc City with a travel time of 29 hours.
Ormoc can be reached 36 hours via boat ride from Manila. Another option is fast crafts from Cebu port, approximately 2 hours ride.