In a land area of 2,505.65 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the province of Southern Leyte and the six Municipalities of Baybay, Inopacan, Hindang, Hilongos, Bato and Matalom of the Province of Leyte.
Southern Leyte is a province of the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Maasin City is the capital of the province. Southern Leyte was once a sub-province of Leyte before it was divided from the latter.
As of year end 2016 the total population of Catarman diocese is 829,000 of which 89 percent is Catholic.
While ethnicity of the province is widely Bisaya, most people of the province are farmers and fisherfolks.
In Panaon, an island situated in the southernmost part of the province, a certain aboriginal folks are found locally known as Kongking or variously called Mamanwa which means mountain people. They were believed to be migrants from Mindanao, inhabiting the portions of Agusan, after their migration from the island to evade militarization and the logging/mining corporations' intrusion to their ancestral domains in the early 1980s. Literally, their physical attributes are dark complexion, curly-haired and short in height. Hunting and gathering, mat weaving and rattan craft are among the main economic activities of the Mamanwas, so they prefer to inhabit the forested areas in the newfound Southern Leyte mountain. However, they were again displaced by threats of the recent incidents of landslides in the province.
Maasinhons and Southern Leyteños speak either the Cebuano or Boholano dialect. The speech variety however used by natives has also Boholano influences because of its proximity with the province Bohol. Furthermore, Tagalog and Waray-Waray are widely spoken as second languages. Natives also understood foreign language such as English and Spanish.
Comprises the province of Southern Leyte and the six Municipalities of Baybay, Inopacan, Hindang, Hilongos, Bato and Matalom of the Province of Leyte Titular: Our Lady of the Assumption.
On Aug. 14, 1968, the Diocese of Maasin was canonically erected through a papal decree issued March 23, 1968. In June of the same year, the Father Vicente T. Ataviado, D.D. who was up to then a parish priest of Masbate, Masbate, was appointed as its first bishop. He was ordained on Aug. 8, 1968, and installed as the First Bishop of Maasin on Aug. 14 at Our Lady of Assumption Parish Church in Maasin, the capital of Southern Leyte.
From 1595 to 1910, the area which now comprises the Diocese of Maasin belonged to the diocese of Cebu. From 1910 to 1937 it belonged to the Diocese of Calbayog. From 1937 to 1968 it came under the jurisdiction of the Diocesan of Palo in Leyte. Today it is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Cebu.
Thus the vision that was planted and took root when Father Pedro Valderrama celebrated the first mass in the Philippines on March 21, 1521, has borne new fruit, say the locals.
A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. A City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.
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 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.
The annual per capita income (in Philippine Peso) is 21,263 (USD493 as of April 2011).
Copra, abaca fiber, banana, rice, corn, root crops, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables, fish, balut, and meat from hogs and chicken.
Ceramics products and handicraft items made from abaca, coconut and bamboo.
The mineral deposits in the province are: gold, copper, Copper-Lead-Zinc, Manganese, Iron, Magnesite, Red Burning Clay (for pottery and clay), Limestone/Marble, Sandstone/ Marble, Serpentine/Black Marble, Sand & Gravel and Mactan Stone.
Coastal & Marine Resources
Southern Leyte has three bays namely: Sogod Bay, Cabalian Bay and Hinunangan Bay.
The main fishing grounds in the province include Sogod, Bay, Cabalian Channel, Hinunangan Bay, Surigao Strait, Canigao Channel, Camiguin Strait and Bohol Strait.
The fish species caught in these fishing grounds include: tuna, flying fish, skipjack, herrings, anchovies, shell fishes, lobsters, and spanish mackerel.
Fishpond areas in the province total to 139 hectares found in Bontoc, Hinunangan, Liloan, Maasin City, Macrohon and Padre Burgos. Mangroves in the province occupy an area of 334 hectares.
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.
Southern Leyte belongs to Eastern Visayas region (Region VIII). Southern Leyte is subdivided into 18 municipalities and 1 city.
Anahawan, Bontoc, Hinunangan, Hinundayan, Libagon, Liloan, Limasawa, Macrohon, Malitbog, Padre Burgos, Pintuyan, Saint Bernard, San Francisco, San Juan (Cabalian), San Ricardo, Silago, Sogod and Tomas Oppus.
Limasawa Island - It is located at the southern tip of Southern Leyte; can be reached by motorlaunch-ride from Padre Burgos in about 45 minutes. It is the historic site of the celebration of the First Catholic Mass in the Philippines when Ferdinand Magellan came in 1521, and the location of the historic Shrine / Marker where the blood compact was performed between Magellan and two other rulers.
Maasin Cathedral - Located in Maasin City; features olden images of saints which date back to the Spanish era.
Macrohon Reef - Nice site for scuba diving just off the shores of Macrohon town-proper. Nice underwater beauty linking to the fish sanctuary.
Magsuhot Park - Located in Sogod and approximately 3 kilometers from the Phil-Japan Friendship Highway. This national park features a forested area of about 500 hectares. It has 4 waterfalls that converge into one basin.
Panaon Island - Located in Liloan; a part of the Mindanao Deep (second deepest body of water in the world!). An ethnic tribe called "kongkings"(small, curly-haired and dark skinned people) that is believed to be the migrants from Mindanao resides in this island. They normally come down from their mountain hideouts during market days to trade.
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Seria is a small church on the western Belait district of Brunei, but it shot into fame thanks to the nation’s most famous Catholic – late Cardinal Cornelius Sim. It is also the second of three churches in Brunei dedicated to Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary has a prominent place not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, the dominant faith in Brunei. Holy Quran mentions Mary seventy times and reveres her as the greatest woman to have ever lived.