MAASIN CITY PROFILE
Maasin City, is a 4th class city and the capital of the province of Southern Leyte, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 85,560 people. Maasin City is located on the western part of the province with land area of 21,171 hectares (52,310 acres) and is composed of 70 barangays.
Maasin City is the commercial and religious center of Southern Leyte and the south-western part of Leyte Island and is considered to be the Pilgrimage hub of the entire region 8. On August 10, 2000, Maasin was converted into a city. The Diocese of Maasin was founded on August 14, 1968.
Maasinhons and Southern Leyteños speak either the Cebuano or Boholano dialect. Their cultural and linguistic affinities tend to differ them from those who reside in Cebu, Bohol, and the western coast of the province of Leyte. Most of the people are farmers and fishermen who are noted for their hard work and frugality.
Approximately 90% of the people are adherents of the Roman Catholic Church, but traditional folk beliefs and superstition still influence some of them. Some farmers still hold on to pre-Hispanic and conservative beliefs in making offerings and sacrifices before planting season starts. At times, chicken or pigs are ritually sacrificed to ensure that the spirits or the elementals of the land will allow a good harvest.
Maasin City is Southern Leyte's commercial and cultural showcase. An important edifice that brings pride to the Southern Leyteños is the notable Spanish-era church - a relic of time when churches were the only true refuge of the people, both spiritually and physically. The church is adorned or embellished with an ornate altar and beautiful images of saints, and became a testament to the continuing religiosity of the people of Southern Leyte. Aside from the 17th century church, the City also has many pilgrimage attractions/sites to go to; the JALECA Hills Shrine located in Brgy. Abgao which has a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary over-looking the whole City; the Monte Cueva which is a cave located in Brgy. Basak converted into a humble chapel; and the St. Francis Xavier chapel where many pilgrims go to for what locals call “panaad” which roughly translates to promises.
Maasin City is accessible by land and sea. Regular boat trips from Manila take 27 hours while fast watercraft services from Cebu bring travelers to Maasin in just two and a half hours. Buses plying the Maasin City-Tacloban route usually take five hours. Southern Leyte has a total land area of about 173,480 hectares and a growing population of about 321,940.
Southern Leyte is characterized by relatively flat lands along the coastal areas where population centers lay, but rugged and mountainous towards the interior. It has numerous small rivers in addition to, at least, eleven major rivers which include Canturing River in Maasin City, Amparo River in Macrohon, Divisoria River in Bontoc, Subang Daku in Sogod, Lawigan and Hitongao Rivers in St. Bernard, Camugao River in Hinundayan, Magcasa River in San Juan, Das-ay and Pondol Rivers in Hinunangan, and Maag River in Silago.
Even though March-May timeframe is considered hot and dry with temperatures ranging from 22-32 degrees Centigrade, in general terms, the province actually has no dry season. This is due to the fact that rainfall is, more or less, distributed throughout the year. June to October is mostly rainy; whereas, November to February is cool with temperatures ranging from 22-28 degrees Centigrade. Year round, average humidity is about 77%.
The existing road network crisscrossing Southern Leyte consists of major arterial highways that link to the province of Leyte, passing through two major outlets - on the western part, the Maasin-Mahaplag-Baybay route; and, on the central part, the Mahaplag-Sogod route via the Maharlika Highway.
The province has one existing airstrip located in Panan-awan, Maasin City. This airstrip, which has a runway length of 1200 meters and a width of 30 meters, is simply considered a feeder landing pad as it does not currently have a terminal that services commercial flights and general aviation aircraft. The runway is suspected to be incapable of supporting aircraft weighing over 12,000 pounds.
Weesam Express fast ferry from Maasin National Port to Cebu takes three hours, and there are two trips each way daily. Cokaliong Shipping 'Roll-on' ships make four trips weekly each way, with a sailing time between five and seven hours. Cokaliong ships also also carry cargo and vehicles. Cargo ships regularly make use of Maasin National Port mainly bringing in cement and taking out copra.
There are five designated bus terminals in Southern Leyte: Maasin, Liloan, Sogod, Hinunangan, and Silago. These terminals are just open spaces used by buses as parking/passenger waiting areas, and not equipped with buildings and other facilities.
There are at least four bus companies taking the Manila-Maasin route: Philtranco, Cedec, Inland Trailways, and Ciudad. Bachelor takes the Ormoc-Maasin-Davao route.
From the Maasin City, by land, it takes approximately five hours to travel to Tacloban City; twenty three hours to Pasay City or Quezon City; and, nineteen hours to Davao City via Liloan ferry boat.
Power / Energy
The principal source of power / electricity in Southern Leyte is the Tonongan Geothermal Power Plant in Ormoc via National Power Corporation through the Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative (SOLECO). The major power transmission lines in the province emanate from 69 kV Tolosa, Leyte which is connected to 69 kV Bontoc, Southern Leyte then to Maasin City, and 69 kV Baybay, Leyte to Maasin City in case of power failure.
A mini-hydro electric power plant in Hinabian, Catmon, St. Bernard was developed with a capacity of 810 KW to serve the Pacific towns particularly St. Bernard and San Juan.
A major breakthrough in power generation is the Southern Leyte Geothermal Project in San Juan with a capacity of 50-100 megawatts commissioning in year 2003. It is anticipated to sustain an estimated economic life of 25 years. Activities involving Pre-operation Phase was already initiated.
In 1996, the health and medical needs of the province were provided by eight government hospitals, six private hospitals and clinics, twenty rural health units or municipal centers, ninety three health stations, and ten outpatient private clinics. The total bed capacity of government hospitals is 265 while that of the private is 110. A current tally of health facilities in the province is still being determined.