Liloan (Alternate spelling: Lilo-an) is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Cebu, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 64,970 people in 13,381 households.
Liloan is part of a metropolitan area informally called Metro Cebu.
The Bagacay Point Lighthouse
One of the best known landmarks in Lilo-an is its historic lighthouse at Bagacay Point. The original lighthouse was built
in 1857 by the Spanish. However, the current tower was constructed in 1904 by order of William Howard Taft , the first Governor-General of the Philippines and later the President of the United States. The tower is 72 feet tall and remains in active use today .
In Silot Bay is where one finds quite a number of tiny whirling waters known as “lilo”. Docked by the bridge
are several old ships.
Along its beaches in barrio Bagacay, landed some of the liberation forces of American troops who were dispersed to fight
Japanese in the northern towns.
Long before other towns were “discovered” as tourist spots, Liloan was already known for its scenic pristine
beaches and as a resort town, favorite place for sea bathing. Along its coastline, there is spot called Silot. Here, bathers
are cautioned not to swim to a certain point because of a whirlpool caused by the ebb and tide of the waters which flow from
an inland lake. This phenomenon is called lilo in Cebuano. Because of this, the town was known as Liloan, a place where there
The word Liloan, as the legend is told, comes from the word “lilo” - whirling waters (not unlike Edgar Allan
Poe’s maelstrom) that form when the sea approaches an abrupt depth at a point just after a bridge.
Long ago, as the legend goes, when Lilo-an was still a wilderness, a marriage of a couple was objected to by the parents.
As such, they boarded a boat and fled to a far away place. Somewhere at sea, a storm overtook them. For safety, they entered
a channel, now called “Suba,” (a name of a place in Liloan) and proceeded into the interior. They took shelter
at its bank and noticed the abundance of the fish in the vicinity. They decided to stay, and with the extra fish they caught,
they sold or bartered the catch in the nearby villages. When asked where the fishes were caught, the answered, “Sa may
liloan” (by the lilo). Asked where they live, they gave the same answer, :Sa may liloan.” In time, the place
was called, as we know the town now, “Liloan”.
Sometime in the 1970’s, a newspaper article stated that the “Pueblo de Lilo-an” was separated from the
Municipality of Mandaue (now Mandaue City), and was created a new municipality in 1840. However, in the “BRAVE ENSENA
de lo que fue y de lo que es la DIOCESIS DE CEBU En Las Islas Filipinas,” published in 1866, it was mentioned that Lilo-an
was created a parish in 1845 (in 1995, Lilo-an celebrated its sesquicentenial - 150th anniversary.)
The creation of the municipality of Lilo-an could have been at the same time the parish was established, but not earlier
than its being a parish. As recorded, the first priest of Lilo-an, Fr. Vicente Dolorech, served in 1845. The first mayor,
then called “Kapitan” was Basilio Bantilan. His term was from 1845 - 1846.
During the war years (World War II), Lilo-an had three mayors at one time. The elected mayor was Catalino Noval. The Japanese
Occupation Forces appointed another - Pascual Delgado. Not to be outdone, the Guerilla Forces also designated another - Jose
Records show that the mayors with the longest length of service were Lazaro Ramas and Cesar Bugtai, each having served
Liloan for 21 years. For priests, the longest was done by Fr. Vicente Rallos - 19 years (1931 - 1950).