The aim of the present study was to describe the effects of land use on humus composition and the structural properties of humic substances (HS) in degraded soil in Leyte, Philippines. Five adjacent land-use types, primary forest (PF), mahogany plantation (MP), rainforestation farming (RF), coffee plantation (CP) and grassland (GR), with comparable geology, parent material, soil type and climate were sampled and examined. The contents of humic acids (HAs), fulvic acids (FAs), polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)-adsorbed FAs and PVP-non-adsorbed FAs in the soil, and the elementary composition, infrared (IR) spectra and molecular size distribution of HAs and PVP-adsorbed FAs were compared among the different land uses. Results revealed that conversion of PF into other land uses has led to a decrease in FAs, which were higher under intensive cultivation conditions, such as RF, CP and GR. The amounts of HAs were small and also affected by land use. The amount of PVP-non-adsorbed FAs was more affected by land use than the amount of PVP-adsorbed FAs. Variation in the molecular size of HAs and PVP-adsorbed FAs provided evidence of variations in the structural characteristics of HS as a result of land-use change, although there were no appreciable differences in IR spectra and elementary composition. The relationship between land use and the degree of humification of HAs was poor. The HAs were still in the early stage of humification as indicated by the Type Rp in most soils, the higher contents of elemental H and N, and the high H/C and O/C ratios.