Biliran Province

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Biliran, Eastern Visayas

Biliran is an island province located in the Eastern Visayas, Philippines. (Region VIII)

Biliran is an island province located between Leyte and Samar in Eastern Visayas. It is 1,115 kilometers south of Manila with the coordinates 11°34’48″N and 124°29’13″E. It is 123 kilometers from Tacloban City, the regional capital of Eastern Visayas.

Biliran became an independent province on May 11, 1992 through Republic Act No. 7160. This removed it from its previous status as a Sub-province of Leyte.

Cities of Biliran Province.

None. Naval is the capital of the province.

Municipalities of Biliran Province.

Naval – capital of the province

Airports in Biliran Province.

Nearest main airport is in Leyte.

Hotels in Biliran Province.

Check HotelsCombined for Hotels in Biliran, Visayas

Special Events in Biliran Province.

  • May: Hudyaka: One of the highlights of Biliran Provincehood Anniversary on every 11th of May, the festival is a celebration of the Biliranons’ endeavors as one people with “hudyaka” or merriment.
  • July: Ibid – Celebrated in Caibiran during its town fiesta every 25th of July, the festival illustrates the playful stance of lizards locally known as “Ibid” which abounds by the river near its earliest settlement, from which the town gets its name. Caibiran means a place where
    there are many “Ibid”.
  • September: Ginalutan – Celebrated in Maripipi in time with its annual fiesta on every 29th of September honoring St. Michael, the festival portrays the hard but rewarding “galut” activity, or making pots out of clay, from which the town is famous for.
  • September: Gapnod – Celebrated in Almeria during its character anniversary on every 1st September, the festival is a tribute to the town’s humble beginnings, just like the lowly “gapnod” and its present accomplishments.
  • October: Bagasumbol – Celebrated in Naval during its town fiesta on every 1st Saturday of October, the festival depicts the birth of Christianity in the town during the Spanish time, “Bagasumbol” means somewhat pointed, as what passers by describe the settlement in the old days.
  • October: Bucgay – Celebrated in Cabucgayan during its town fiesta on the 2nd week of October, the festival honors the simple but meaningful existence of the “bucgay” shells, a local source of food and livelihood in the olden days, from where the town derived its name.
  • October: Subingsubing – The Subingsubing Festival is celebrated every 24th of October honoring St. Raphael the Archangel.

Government Website for Biliran Province.

Recent Biliran Posts:


History of Biliran (from

During the early Spanish era, what is now called Biliran was known as Isla de Panamao. The present name, believed to be adopted sometime between the late 17th century and the early 18th century, was, according to many publications, derived from a native grass called borobiliran which once grew abundantly on the island’s plains. A contending theory states that the name came from the word bilir, which was defined in an old Visayan dictionary to be the “corner or edge of a boat, vase or anything protruding, like veins, or the furrow made by the plow.” The dictionary also gives biliran as an alternate spelling for bilir. This theory is supported by the fact that Biliran was site of the first large-scale shipyard, built in the 17th century. Galleons were built to support the Galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco in Mexico.

The first town, named Biliran, was founded in 1712 after petitioning for a municipality and parish status. During this time, the island was a part of Cebu Province. Biliran, together with the islands of Samar and Leyte, were constituted into a separate province in 1735. Later when Samar and Leyte were split into two provinces in 1768, Biliran became part of Leyte Province as its sub-province. The first parish priest was assigned in 1765, but its parish status was apparently withdrawn because of Padre Gaspar’s apostasy. The parish was re-established on February 22, 1782.

Sultan Kudarat raid
In May 1735, representative inhabitants of Leyte petitioned Governor General Fernando Valdes y Tamon to allow them to resettle Biliran Island. They claimed it had been abandoned for the past 50 years and was presently inhabited by bagamundos (vagabonds) due to the frequent Moro raids.

On May 26, 1754, the Moros destroyed Biliran and the town of Catbalogan in Samar. Panamao was reportedly razed to the ground and only the gobernadorcillo (mayor) of Biliran town escaped capture by the raiders. The settlements of Biliran, Caybiran, Mapuyo and Maripipi were also destroyed by the Moros.

The Moros staged their attack by marching inland along a river named Anas for a distance of 1.5-2 leguas (leagues). Having covered part of the interior around a mountain, they managed to capture the inhabitants, with the exception of the gobernadorcillo who escaped. The houses and property of the natives were burned or destroyed. The church building suffered the same fate and its valuables were taken away by the raiders.

Post-Moro invasion
When the Moro raiders were neutralized in the early 19th century, the local inhabitants went into the business of organizing new towns (then called “pueblos”) in the present geography of Biliran Province.

In 1828, Caibiran on the east became an independent municipality and parish, the second to be created in Biliran Island.

Naval became the third town, carved out of the territory of Biliran town. It first became a separate parish in 1860. The Spanish colonial government officially recognized its municipality status on September 23, 1869, following the petition submitted around 1861.

Almeria became a separate town in 1886 and was named after the City of Almería in Spain.

Maripipi used to be a barrio of Naval. It was officially inaugurated as a town in 1867, two years ahead of its mother town, then folded up and was reduced into a barrio of Almeria, and then became a town again in 1899. Maripipi and the new towns of San Clemente (later Kawayan), Culaba and Esperanza (later Cabucgayan) were created around 1899 by the revolutionary government under Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo.[5]

World War II
During the World War II, Biliran had its own guerrilla forces under the Leyte command of Colonel Ruperto Kangleon. The guerrilla operation was of invaluable assistance to the successful landing of the American liberation forces at Palo, Leyte, on October 20, 1944 just before the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

In 1945, Biliran was liberated by the Philippine Commonwealth forces of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army who landed in Biliran. Aided by the local guerrilla forces, they attacked the Japanese troops on the island during the Battle of Biliran during World War II.

On April 8, 1959, Republic Act No. 2141 was signed into law effectively making Biliran a sub-province of Leyte. The island became an independent province on May 11, 1992 through Republic Act No. 7160, making it one of the newest provinces in the country.

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