Suluan is an island barangay in the Philippines, in the municipality of Guiuan, Eastern Samar. It lies east of Leyte Gulf and west of Emden Deep. The island was deemed to be the first site of anchorage for Ferdinand Magellan's Spanish Armada.
|Native name: |
Isla han Sulu-an
|Adjacent bodies of water|
|Region||Eastern Visayas Region VIII|
|Municipality||Guiuan, Eastern Samar|
On March 17, 1521, after 98 days of crossing the Pacific Ocean, Magellan's voyage dropped anchor on the island. Although Samar and Mindanao were their first land sightings from afar, Magellan's choice of anchoring on a much smaller island was meant as a security precaution as few people would have inhabited a small island such as Suluan. Laurence Bergreen's book entitled Over the Edge of the World, details their landing as, "they headed to Sulu-an and dropped their anchor for a few hours of respite." They then next dropped anchor at Homonhon Island, where they spent a week with the natives, and finally proceeded to Limasawa, where the 1st ever Christian mass was held on March 31, 1521.
The name of the island is derived from the word 'sulo', the Waray-waray word for "torch" which the locals would have used during fishing at night. Suluan, therefore, means torch-bearing people in reference to the local fishermen. From afar, prior to landing, the Spanish Armada would have seen the torches the night before.
During World War II, Suluan was among the first Philippine islands liberated from the Japanese. On October 17, 1944, the 6th Ranger Battalion landed on Dinagat, Homonhon and Suluan, securing the entrance to Leyte Gulf for General Douglas MacArthur's forces. The main landings on Leyte followed three days later.
Eastern Samar tends to be battered by tropical storms during Pacific typhoon season. Most times, 90% of a storm landfall is likely to be Suluan Island. On November 8, 2013, Suluan Island was the first victim of the Typhoon Haiyan (Super Typhoon Yolanda) before navigating to Guiuan which had a tremendous impact not only on the island's economy but also to the people's lives. International organizations created an overwhelming drive to help rehabilitate the people and their livelihood.