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May 14, 2019
About the Guidebook
Limasawa, small island of historic importance near the island of Leyte, east-central Philippines. Located about 4 miles (6 km) off the southern tip of the island of Leyte just outside the mouth of Sogod Bay, Limasawa rises to about 700 feet (200 m). On this island, Ferdinand Magellan first made extended contact with Filipino natives on March 28, 1521. There also the first Roman Catholic mass was celebrated (March 31, 1521) in the Philippines. The island is inhabited by Visayan peoples who practice subsistence agriculture and fishing.
The island of Limasawa in Southern Leyte carved a very significant place in Philippine history. In 1521, a Portuguese-born Spanish explorer and navigator, Ferdinand Magellan and his crew came ashore and celebrated the first Roman Catholic Mass on the island. Incidental to the historic event, Magellan made peace with two Filipino rulers, Rajah Kolambu and Rajah Siani who subsequently were converted to Christianity. A marker notes the spot on Limasawa where their blood compact of friendship and alliance was sealed.
Local Knowledge & Cool Perks
History“Mazaua” is the original name of this municipality.
There are two assumptions how the municipality got its name:One assumption is that before the Spanish men arrived to the island, the natives don’t really have a name of their place. Upon the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan and his men, one of the natives was asked for the name of their place. The native, unable to understand what it meant, mistakenly interpreted the question to mean as to “how many wives their Rajah has”. So he answered immediately “Lima’y Asawa”, meaning that their Rajah has five wives. The Spanish too, thinking that was the answer to his question, return to tell his companions that the island is named “Lima’y Asawa ”. And from then on, the place came to be called as “Limasawa”.
Another assumption is that when the Spanish men arrived to the island, they named it “Mazaua” for the beauty of the place. As it is their custom to add the prefix “Le” to mean a particular name, it became the tongue of everyone in the place to call it as “Le Mazaua ”. It was the local people themselves who later changed the spelling and joined the two words into “Limasawa”.
Today the island is popularly known as “Limasawa” although some elderly citizens prefer to call it “Mazaua”.Limasawa was created into an independent municipality on June 11, 1978 by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1549. But this was not implemented due to some problems. Limasawa officially became a municipality on August 27, 1989 after the conduct of a plebiscite among the populace to ratify its independence.
The municipality of Limasawa is one of the areas in the country with high tourism potential being the site of the first Christian mass in the country.
About the Author
We are the students from Southern Leyte State University-Main Campus. Taking up BS-Tourism Management. We always enjoyed traveling, exploring new places, and putting together vacations that are equal parts fun, relaxation, and education.