Hinunangan history has been a part of Philippines history from the very beginning. Ferdinand Magellan set sail on Aug 10, 1519 from Seville, Spain with a crew of 234 on five ships under his command – Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepcion, Victoria and Santiago. His mission was to find the Spice Islands for the King of Spain. On March 17, 1521, Magellan and the remaining 150 of his men reached the island of Homonhon in the Philippines. This marked the first visit of Spainards to the Philippine Islands.1 It’s an island at the mouth of Leyte Gulf, and just east of Hinunangan. Of course, Magellan never made it to the Spice Islands as he met an unfortunate end in Cebu on April 27, 1521 in the battle with Lapu-Lapu.Early Years
According to a blog about Hinunangan, “In 1570, Boholano peddlers often dropped anchor at Das-ay River and stayed overnight. They gathered rattan, caught fish, and collected tar (balao). The place was named “Hononganan” meaning “stopping place.” Finding the area to be rich and fertile, a Bohol farmer by the name of Palonoy brought his family and starteded his “kainging”. Several others folllowed suite and a settlement was formed. In 1825, Palonoy donated a portion of his land for a church site and to Fray Pedro who lived wit the settlers. Being a Spainard, he misprounced “Honongangan” to “Hinunangan” and even wrote so in his communications to this Spanish superiors.
Hinunangan was created as a town on March 26, 1851. It has a population of 5,140. Two months later, it was created as a parish. The first parish priest, Fr. Pedro Monasterio constructed a five-altar church, which still stands today.”2
Of course, the Spanish missionaries were not the only ones who attempted to bring religion to the island. Documents from the Presbyterian church list a chapel in Tacloban that was erected in November 18, 1905. Due to lack of success in the area, they extended their reach to the provinces, including Hinunangan and its Barangays. Francisco Ivalerosa was stationed in Hinunangan and reported that “The street meetings held here are always well attended and a good deal of interest is manifested, but the people are so addicted to the opium habit that it is difficult to get converts.”3
World at War
Although not as well-known as Palo and Bataan during World War II, Hinunangan was not immune to the fighting that occured during that time. The return of General Douglas MacArthur on Oct. 20, 1944 in Leyte began the famous Battle of Leyte Gulf, waged in the waters directly in front of Hinunangan.4
The island of Cabugan Chico (now called San Pablo Island) was used a mooring area for the support ships San Carlosand Half Moon along with their contingent of 10 PBYs (American flying boats). On Oct 24, a battle ensued as two Japanese Type 99 Aichi dive bombers engaged the American forces. One of the Japanese planes was shot down and the other escaped.5
The Battle of Leyte Gulf raged from October 23 to 26 1944 between the naval forces of the United States and Japan. This battled was notable for the sound defeat and heavy losses of the Japanese Imperial Navy and for the first battle in which Japanese aircraft carried out organized kamikaze attacks.6
In more recent history, Hinunangan has suffered along with the Philippines due to a lack of infrastructure and a loss of its natural resources due to deforestation and aggressive use of fertilizers and pesticides.7 However, progress still occurs. The Abuyog – Silago Road was completed on January 29, 2007.8 This was a key development as it cut the travel time from Tacloban to Hinunangan in half (from 6 hours to 3 hours). Cellular 3G communication is also recently available via the Smart Communications wireless network.