History of Maripipi

Maripipi is located in the northernmost part of the sub-province of Biliran. It is an island-municipality with a coastal circumference of twenty-four kilometers. The town is separated by a narrow channel from the island of Biliran. Southwest of the island is the Visayan Sea and Northern lies the Samar Sea. It is also equidistant to Leyte, Samar and Masbate, so that during the Spanish time, Maripipi was a vital link in the chain of islands used as stepping stones for the Luzon-Visayas commerce. Maripipi was often a calling place for the Spanish galleons.

The island was at first named Isla Rosa (Rosette Island) befort it was named Maripipi. Legend has it that the island is a tomb of Maria and Pepe, two lovers. The parents of Maria were against Pepe. Having eloped against the parents’ wishes, the irate father of Maria scoured the four corners of Leyte with a flotilla of bancas in search of the lovers. After a long and arduous search, the flotilla found the lovers in this unchartered island dead by their own hands.

The whole island is believed to be an extinct volcano, once active during our ancient past. As such its soils is rich but rocky. Coconuts are planted around the island, while the lowlands are planted with rice. Traders from Cebu, Bicol, Masbate and Samar come to the island for trade.

As early as 1595, Maripipi, which was inhabited by a pagan tribe, was visited by Fr. Diego Sanchez, the Jesuit missionary of Carigara. The Jesuit missionaries of Samar also visited the island but they never stayed long. The local chieftain became impatient with the priest’s inattention for he was anxious to convert his whole island-clan to Christianity. So the whole village boarded a flotilla of bancas and crossed to Tinago, Samar, to be greeted by a surprised missionary. They passed their catechism easily for the native chief had previously taught his clan. They were baptized en masse and soon returned to their island-kingdom.

The town also suffered from the Moro attacks. The pirates had their hide-out in Guiyum, Masbate, and periodically the town was ravaged. The inhabitants had to make traps in their clay soil with sharp bamboos underneath. These camouflaged traps checked the marauders.

Almost the whole island of Maripipi is an inexhaustible supply of kaolin, ideal for ceramics. Almost every home is a factory for clay pots, flowerpots, jars and other ceramic products. The municipality monopolizes the pot-making industry in the whole province.

Before it became a municipality, Maripipi was a barrio of Naval. It was in 1867 when Maripipi was inaugurated as a town. Its ceramics industry has received recognition and ist market has reached as far as the Mindanao province.