The town of Malitbog (Southern Leyte) came into existence in the early part of the eighteenth century as proven from the scripts that are still readable inscribed in the stone walls of the ruins of the two watchtowers "baluarte" located equidistant of the Roman Catholic Church. One is found south of the poblacion in barangay Caaga, and the other in barangay Abgao, north of the poblacion. Said watchtowers were constructed in the year 1820.
The two barangays were ruled by their chieftains called Capitanes. No traces could be found as to the names of the two Capitanes. As absolute rulers of their respective barangays, they tried to establish their own kingdoms. Both of the chieftains wanted to overrule the other, hence, there was a keen and strong rivalry between the two. As the pueblo was later on organized by the Spaniards sometime in the middle part of the 18th century, the inhabitants were very much confused as to where the pueblo be located. The confusion dragged for some time. "Confusion" in the local dialect means "Makalibog". Since that as "Malitbog", a derivative or a distorted word from the local dialect of Makalibog.
Through the intercession of the Roman Catholic priest who often visited the two warring barangays, a proposal was suggested to the rival barangays to fuse the two communities and establish a bigger church. Trouble arose as to where the said church be constructed. A settlement was later on made thru the insinuation of the priest that the church be built not in any of the two barangays, but to be constructed at the middle of the two barangays.
In the year 1857, the Roman Catholic church was built in baroque architecture by forced labor. In addition to the construction of the church, a street was constructed straight from the very portal of the church leading to the shoreline, going east to serve as a demarcation line between the two rival barangays. At the end of the dividing line, a watchtower was constructed. This was in the year 1862, as scripted on the walls of the said tower.
The town of Malitbog was reorganized under the provisions of the Maura Law of 1893. The territorial limits covered 19 kilometers extending to the north and 17 kilometers to the south of the poblacion including the island of Limasawa.
In 1897, a one story building in baroque style was constructed at the left side of the demarcation line also equidistant from the Catholic Church and the watchtower. The said building was believed to be the seat of the Civil Government during the Spanish regime. No traces could be found as to the name of the first gobernadorcillo, though at later time prior to the Spanish-American war, two Capitanes were known in the locality by the name of Capitan Tenio Base and Capitan Esteban Piramide.
During the American Regime, the town was reorganized under the provisions of Act. No. 82 passed by the Philippine Commission in 1900. This act was known as the Municipal Code and the first Municipal President of Malitbog was Don Francisco Escaņo (1900-1909) scion of the shipping magnate Don Fernando Escaņo of the Escaņo Shipping Lines.
The Municipal Hall was formerly located at the corner of Calle Real and Ramon Vaņo streets. After several years, it was transferred for the fourth time to the public school building which at present remains to be the seat of Local Government. Up to this date, the municipality has 37 barangays.
(The history of Malitbog was prepared by Mr. Manuel (Manoling) V. Arevalo.)