The original name of the Catbalogan was Katbalaugan or Kabalaugan. It was first organized by the priests of the Jesuits Order or the Society of Jesus sometime in October 1596. On the first decades of the Spanish colonization of the country, Samar was under the jurisdiction of Cebu. Later, it was declared as a separate province. In 1735, Samar and Leyte were united into one province with Cariaga, in Leyte, as the capital. But the union did not prove satisfactory. In 1768, Catbalogan City became the provincial capital when Samar separated from Leyte and became an independent province.
From the colonization of Spaniards to the governance of Americans and to the oppressions of the Japanese troops, Catbalogan suffered much. Even though there were little developments when it comes to economy and infrastructures, the natives still hoped for the freedom they have been longing for. As early as 1960, Catbalogan already agitated to become a city. On March 15, 2007, Catbalogan finally attained its cityhood.
Population/ Language/ Area
Catbalogan City has a total population of 274.22 km2 (105.88 sq mi). The city is bounded on the north by the towns of Tarangan and San Jorge, on the east by Jiabong, on the south by Maqueda Bay, and on the west by Samar Sea. Most of land areas are rural. Topography is characterized by hills and mountains except for some narrow coastal plains.
Products and Services
Catbalogan’s economy is agricultural although wholesale and retail trading dominate the economic activities in the poblacion. Rice, coconut, abaca, rootcrops and vegetables are the main farm outputs. Fishing is an important industry in the coastal barangays. Aside from fish, other marine products include seaweed, mollusk, oyster, crabs and shells. Fishing areas are mostly concentrated within Maqueda bay and Samar Sea.
The city offers opportunities in food processing especially meat and fish processing. The manufacture of furniture, clothing and fashion accessories, jewelry, personal care and other consumer goods are encouraged. The establishment of commercial complexes and tourist facilities are welcomed in this city.
- Pieta Park – is located to St. Bartholomew Church and St. Mary’s College of Catbalogan. It has a memorial honoring Catbaloganons and more than four thousand others who perished in the December 1987 tragic collision of the passenger ship MV Doña Paz and the oil tanker MT Vector. Historians describe the Doña Paz tragedy not only as the world’s worst ferry disaster but also the worst peace-time maritime disaster in history.
- The Obelisk – is located at the heart of Catbalogan City’s Samar Provincial Capitol Park. It depicts four major events in the history of Samar: the 1901 Balangiga Encounter that saw local revolutionaries inflicting the “worst single defeat” of the Americans during the Philippine-American War (1899-1902), the 1649 Agustin Sumoroy Rebellion in Palapag against the Spaniards, the October 15, 1596 arrival of the first Jesuit missionaries to Samar, and Queen Isabella II of Spain carrying a Royal Decree of August 11, 1841 declaring Samar as an independent province.
- Burii Baras Cove Beach resort – located on Buri Island, it is 12 km from the city proper. The beach has a long stretch and is ideal for swimming and diving.
Festivals and Celebrations
The Manaragat Festival – held during the annual August month-long Fiesta celebration (August 1–31), the Manaragat Festival is a tribute to the fishermen of Catbalogan City. Local fishermen share their catch of fish and other marine products which they trade in the market. The Manaragat is a festive dance characterized by varied movements and intricate steps of the different species of fish and sea shells inhabiting Maqueda Bay and beautifully presented by dancers in exotic and colorful costumes. The Manaragat Festival of Catbalogan City honors its Patron Saint, St. Bartholomew, every 24 August. St. Bartholomew, the miraculous Saint, is believed by the local folks to have maintained the richness of Maqueda Bay as the major fishing ground of the province of Samar.
Kaadlawan Han Samar (Samar Day) – is celebrated every August 11. It marks the celebration of Samar’s Foundation Day. The festival is participated by the province’s two cities and twenty-five municipalities and includes cultural dance competitions, Mutya Han Samar Pilipinas (Miss Samar Philippines) beauty pageant, agro-fisheries trade fair and civic-military parade.