Matalom is politically subdivided into 30 barangays.
HISTORY OF MATALOM
Before Magellan discovered the Philippines, a peaceful sea-loving people lived along the banks of the Matalom River and also on the scenic islet of Canigao (formerly Comigao).
It was said that the Spaniards once saw the flaming red of the fire trees that dotted the shores of Matalom Beach and the scenic Canigao Island and asked the natives the local dialect for “hermosa” or beautiful. The natives answered “Matahum” or “Matalom.” This was the origin of the town’s name.
In the middle of the 18th century, the townspeople of Matalom constructed their own parish church, convent, school, and public buildings through their own efforts. These were all accomplished with the leadership of a kind Spanish Friar, Fr. Leonardo Celedias and Kapitan Calixto Pil believed to be the founder and first president of the town.
The municipal government was first located in Kagna-an (now Cahagna-an” and later transferred to its present site near the Matalom River. The municipality of Bato was formerly a part of the towns of Matalom and Hilongos. The three patron saints of these towns prove that they were indeed related to each other: Hilongos – Immaculate Conception; Bato – Holy Child (Sto. Niño); and Matalom -St. Joseph.
Leadership in the town’s administration may be divided into three regimes: Spanish, American and Postwar (Philippine Independence). The first president of Matalom during the Spanish regime was Kapitan Calixto Pil. Succession to the chair of president was patterned after the original dynasty set up by the natives. Thus, after Kapitan Itong “Calixto Pil) his son followed. Next in line was Kapitan Osting then Kapitan Kolas (Nicolas Pal), then Kapitan Bentoy (Ruberto Pal), the last president before the transition period from Spanish to American regimes. The council members were then called, “Guinhaupan,” acknowledged leader in settlements, Now barrios or sitios. (17th century to the early 1900′s).
The transition from the American regime to the time the Philippines obtained its independence saw Jeremias Pal re-elected alcalde in 1937 until the outbreak of World War II. The dark days of the Japanese occupation had Antonio Olo as the puppet mayor. The restoration of the civil government after the war saw the appointment of Primitivo Gopo as the municipal mayor of Matalom.
This 5th class municipality has uplifted its living conditions by the construction of feeder roads, school buildings and other infrastructure projects, all under the stewardship of its able leaders.