San Juan (Cabali-an) is a 5th class municipality in the province of Southern Leyte, Philippines. It was formerly known as Cabali-an. According to the 2007 National census, it has a total population of 14,442 and 3,055 households.
On September 15, 2010, San Juan “Cabalian” celebrate its 150th Founding Anniversary.
On June 17, 1961 Republic Act 3088 which changed the name Cabali-an to San Juan was signed into law by the President of the Republic of the Philippines. It is almost fifty years old now yet the name Cabali-an neither died nor faded away. It simply refused to disappear on maps, telecommunication directories and in most people’s minds.
The resistance is understandable. Cabal-an is a name that links the people of this town to a rich cultural past. This romance with the past, a subconscious emotional attachment to a previous experience, has rooted rather deeply and from it the use of Cabali-an as name has been infused into a sociological mainstreams. In another form it is called plain sentimentalism.
Incidentally, there seems to be no consensus on the exact origin of the name Cabali-an. Three versions, have ever stood out as the most popular ones Magellan happened to pass by Cabalian. . . This account tells of Magellan and his crew attempting to land this settlement after being battered by a heavy storm known locally as “subasco”. One of his ships had a broken main mast that required immediate repair. The curious natives led by their chieftain, Datu Malitik, gathered on the shore as they closely watched the approaching ships. The natives who were armed noticed the broken mast and shouted “gikabali-an”. Roughly translated, the word means “to experience a breakage or broken materials”. Magellan and his men interpreted the hostile-surrounding shouts as the name of the place. Not wishing to engage the natives in combat after the battering of the storm, the explorers lifted anchors and sailed away.
San Juan (Cabali-an) is politically subdivided into 18 barangays.