Located 72 nautical miles from Cebu, Palompon is blessed with a storied history, natural beauty and wonderful people. While not as flashy as other places around the Philippines, Palompon does offer its own charms.
In 1620, way before the colonization of the Philippines, those living in Palompon already had their own dialect. The inhabitants called the place Hinablayan, which is derived from the word sablay which means hang. The name is also not with history as locals used to hang their enemies on branches of trees.
Palompon was basically a jungle; it was a highly forested area with big, tall trees where people lived in makeshift huts on branches of trees. It was also a time where fighting and hunting were pastimes.
A partial clearing of the settlement occurred when Jesuit missionaries arrived in 1737 and built a church.
On November 9, 1784, twenty-five vintas full of Moro pirates attacked Palompon. Natives fought and battled the invaders while taking refuge in the church. They emerged victorious and attributed the win to San Francisco Javier who then became the patron saint.
In later Moro assaults, the church was indeed burned but it still remains as a reminder of the brutal past experienced by Palompon.
- The Roman Catholic Church of Palompon. Formally founded on November 12, 1784, this church was built for 44 years and is considered the oldest church in Leyte. The church adopted Saint Francis Xavier as their patron saint and set December 3 as their fiesta date.
- Kalanggaman Island. While lacking in basic amenities, the island has become one of the most popular destinations for those seeking a break from the stress of the city. Kalanggaman Island is just a beauty to behold with its long stretch of white sand at both ends. Coupled with clear, blue waters, it’s no wonder why a lot of visitors find this island so inviting. While swimming is a fun activity to do on the island, the diverse marine life make it a wonderful destination for divers.
From Ormoc City, it takes three hours to reach Palompon and another one hour from Palompon by boat to get to Kalanggaman Island. Keep in mind that there is no electricity on the island. So you’ll need to bring your own food and water if you want to stay overnight. There are cottages and bathrooms though.
- Tabuk Marine Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. This is located adjacent to Palompon which means that you will need to board a motorized boat in order to get here. It was declared a marine park and bird sanctuary in 1995 to protect it from abuse. Here, you can explore the Bat Kingdom, go snorkeling, watch some birds and check out the marine life.
There’s also a three-story watch tower that can be visited and is a perfect spot for sunset photo. While at the tower, keep your eye out on large fish around the mangroves. The tower also makes a wonderful place for birdwatching.
- Palompon Town Fiesta. Celebrated every December 3rd in honor of patron saint, St Francis Xavier who is considered the Great Apostle of the Orient and the First Apostle of the Philippines. It’s a merry occasion with religious activities and cultural presentations.