Samal, Davao del Norte

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Component City
Island Garden City of Samal
View from Samal Island, looking towards Talikud Island and mainland Mindanao
View from Samal Island, looking towards Talikud Island and mainland Mindanao
Map of Davao del Norte with Samal highlighted
Map of Davao del Norte with Samal highlighted
Samal is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 07°03′N 125°44′E / 7.050°N 125.733°E / 7.050; 125.733Coordinates: 07°03′N 125°44′E / 7.050°N 125.733°E / 7.050; 125.733
Country Philippines
Region Davao (Region XI)
Province Davao del Norte
District 2nd district of Davao del Norte
Founded July 8, 1948
Cityhood January 30, 1998
Barangays 46
 • Mayor Aniano Antalan (Liberal)
 • Total 301.3 km2 (116.3 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 95,874
 • Density 320/km2 (820/sq mi)
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 8119
Dialing code 84
Income class 4th class

Samal is a fourth class city in the province of Davao del Norte, Philippines. Its official name is Island Garden City of Samal, and it is made up of Samal Island and the smaller Talikud Island in the Davao Gulf. It has a population of 95,874 people according to 2010 census.[3]

Samal is a part of the Metropolitan Davao area and is located two kilometers away from Davao City. To reach the island, transportation is available via a barge/ferry service or passenger boats along the Sasa Wharf. The modes of transportation on the island are tricycles or trikes, bus and private car services offered by resorts.


Early Beginnings[edit]

The name Samal was derived from the word (sama), the tribe of the natives who are the first inhabitants of the Island. People used the word Samal because of the Visayans who miscalled the word Sama. The first datu in the island was Datu Taganiyug, a native of Peñaplata, Samal. In the past, the people of Samal name a place about what was the said place known for. For example, the name Peñaplata was derived from the word "piña" or pineapple because of the abundance of pineapple in the area. This, however, is folk etymology as peñaplata literally means "rock of silver" in Spanish. Tagpopongan is the first barangay in Samal which name was from the word "tagpo" or meet. It was called so because in the past, this place is chosen by the datus as their meeting place. The word Samal was also known before because it was commonly used as surname by datus. Abu is the national costume of Samal long time ago. The first business transaction in the island was during the Chinese era. Spanish influence was also felt in the island.

The City During War[edit]

The Pacific War, which happened during World War II, also struck the island. Japanese fighter planes bombed Samal. Japanese occupied the island and forced the people to work for four years until they were expelled by the Allied forces. After the war, infrastructure was built, like schools, churches and stores in the area.

Official Founding of the Municipality[edit]

The time came in July 8, 1948, when the entire island itself becomes part of the newly created municipality of Samal; it was the official founding of the municipality. Fives years later in 1953, the municipality of Babak was created from Samal, marking the political division of the island between the two municipalities. Now came the political division of the island between the three municipalities, when the municipality of Kaputian was created from the island in 1966. In this period, the living qualities between these three municipalities became low and extremely rural.

Proposed province[edit]

In 1969, a proposal to create the sub-province of Samal was created by Republic Act No. 5999[4] and covered the area of the present-day city. The act was enacted without President Ferdinand Marcos' approval. However, the sub-province was never inaugurated.

Component city[edit]

The city was created through Republic Act No. 8471 in January 30, 1998. This act paved the way for the dissolution and merger of the three former municipalities of Samal, Babak, and Kaputian into one local government unit, now officially named as IGaCoS, the Island Garden City of Samal.


The center of city governance is located at Barangay Peñaplata, situated at the west central coast of the island. The city has three major population and commercial centers or poblaciones, the barangays Babak, Peñaplata and Kaputian, which aside from its island geography makes it unique from other cities in the country which usually and generally has only one poblacion.


Samal is politically subdivided into 46 barangays.[2] In 1955, the sitios of Mambago, San Isidro, Sto. Niño, San Antonio, San Agustin, Dangcaan, Balet, Tambo, Camudmud, and Cogo were converted into barrios of the now-defunct municipality of Babak.[5]

  • Adecor
  • Anonang
  • Aumbay
  • Aundanao
  • Balet
  • Bandera
  • Caliclic (Dangca-an)
  • Camudmud
  • Catagman
  • Cawag
  • Cogon
  • Cogon (Talicod)
  • Dadatan
  • Del Monte
  • Guilon
  • Kanaan
  • Kinawitnon
  • Libertad
  • Libuak
  • Licup
  • Limao
  • Linosutan
  • Mambago-A
  • Mambago-B
  • Miranda (Pob.)
  • Moncado (Pob.)
  • Pangubatan
  • Peñaplata (Pob.)
  • Poblacion (Kaputian)
  • San Agustin
  • San Antonio
  • San Isidro (Babak)
  • San Isidro (Kaputian)
  • San Jose (San Lapuz)
  • San Miguel (Magamono)
  • San Remigio
  • Santa Cruz (Talicod II)
  • Santo Niño
  • Sion (Zion)
  • Tagbaobo
  • Tagbay
  • Tagbitan-ag
  • Tagdaliao
  • Tagpopongan
  • Tambo
  • Toril
  • Villarica


Population census of Samal
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 19,826 —    
1995 21,395 +1.44%
2000 82,609 +33.59%
2007 90,291 +1.23%
2010 95,874 +2.21%
Census numbers before 1998 are for the Municipality
of Samal before merger with Babak and Kaputian.
Source: National Statistics Office[3][6]


Vinta boats in Bigiw, Samal Island


The city is the largest resort city of the Philippines. The city has good beaches and houses many beach resorts. It has also numerous marine reefs and tranquil waters that lure the tourists to visit them. Because of these, the Department of Tourism named it one of the best visiting islands in Mindanao and now the fastest growing tourist destination in the country. Thus, tourism is the main source of income in the city. Biggest taxes are imposed to tourism and resort industry.


Fishing is also a growing business sector in this city, because since the city was situated on the island, it cannot fully complement the demand for meat products imported from other parts of the country, especially in nearby Davao City. The city has no both container port and deep-water transport terminal, except for a barge wharf at Babak district, to deliver market products directly to the city, so the city government advocated building fishery complexes across the city to minimize the demand for market products imported to the city. Fish, pearls, and edible crustaceans such as shrimps, prawns, and crabs are the main aquatic consumable products in the city.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: Davao del Norte". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "An Act Converting Certain Sitios in the Municipality of Babak, Province of Davao, into Barrios". Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  6. ^ "Province of Davao (Del Norte)". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 

External links[edit]