Samar (province)

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Samar Province
Lalawigan han Samar
The caving capital of the Philippines
Province of Samar
Flag of Samar Province
Official seal of Samar Province
Map of the Philippines with Samar highlighted
Map of the Philippines with Samar highlighted
Coordinates: 11°50′N 125°00′E / 11.833°N 125.000°E / 11.833; 125.000Coordinates: 11°50′N 125°00′E / 11.833°N 125.000°E / 11.833; 125.000
Country  Philippines
Region Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)
Founded 1768 (separation from Leyte)
1965 (separation from Eastern Samar and Northern Samar)
Capital Catbalogan City
 • Type Province of the Philippines
 • Governor Sharee Ann T. Tan (NPC)
 • Vice-Governor Stephen James T. Tan (NP)
 • 2nd District Representative Milagrosa T. Tan (NPC)
 • 1st District Representative Mel Senen S. Sarmiento (Liberal)
 • Total 6,048.03 km2 (2,335.16 sq mi)
Area rank 13th out of 80
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 733,777
 • Rank 39th out of 80
 • Density 120/km2 (310/sq mi)
 • Density rank 63rd out of 80
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities 2
 • Municipalities 24
 • Barangays 951
 • Districts 1st and 2nd districts of Samar
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP Code 6700 - 6725
Dialing code 55
Spoken languages Waray-Waray, Cebuano, English

Province of Samar (Tagalog: Lalawigan ng Samar) is a province in the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Catbalogan City and covers the western portion of Samar Island (therefore also known and formerly known as Western Samar) as well as several islands in the Samar Sea located west of the mainland. The province is bordered to the north by Northern Samar and Eastern Samar to the east. Samar is connected to island and province of Leyte via the San Juanico Bridge, which spans the San Juanico Strait, the narrowest strait in the world. To its south is Leyte Gulf. On 8 November 2013, the province was significantly damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), specifically the towns of Basey and Marabut.

Fishing and agriculture are the major economic activities of the province.[3]



Samar island occupies the eastern portion of the Philippines. It lies southeast of Luzon and occupies the northernmost section of Eastern Visayas. It is separated from Luzon on the north by San Bernardino Strait and from Leyte on the southwest by the narrow San Juanico Strait. It is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by Leyte Gulf and on the west by the Samar Sea.


Samar province is hilly, with mountain peaks ranging from 200 to 800 metres (660 to 2,620 ft) high and narrow strips of lowlands, which tend to lie in coastal peripheries or in the alluvial plains and deltas accompanying large rivers. The largest lowlands are located along the northern coast extending up to the valleys of Catubig and Catarman rivers. Smaller lowlands in Samar are to be found in the Calbayog area and on the deltas and small valleys of Gandara and Ulot rivers. Slopes are generally steep and barren of trees due to deforestation. Run-off waters after heavy rains can provoke flooding in low-lying areas and the erosion of the mountains enlarges the coastal plains of the province.

Climate and rainfall[edit]

Areas of the Samar province that are characterized by having no dry season with a pronounced maximum rain period which usually occurs from December to January generally along or very near the eastern coast, and thus are open to the northeast monsoon. Municipalities in the southeastern part of the province experience this type of climate.

Those areas located in the northwestern part of the province have a more or less evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year.


The province of Samar is composed of two congressional districts, 24 municipalities and two cities (Catbalogan and Calbayog). It has a total of 952 barangays.

Political map of Samar




The four significant events of Samar history[edit]

  • Arrival of the First Missionaries Jesuits - On October 15, 1596 the first Jesuit Mission arrived in Tinago (now Dapdap) in Tarangnan. From Tinagon, the missionaries Fr. Francisco De Otazo, Bartolome Martes, and Domingo Alonzo began teaching Catechism healing the sick and spread the Christian faith into the interior settlements. And that faith planted 400 years ago, is very much alive among the People of Samar.
  • Sumuroy Rebellion - On June 1, 1649, the people of Palapag led by Agustin Sumuroy revolted against the decree of Governor General Diego Fajardo requiring able bodied men from the Visayas for service at the Cavite Shipyards. Like fire, the revolt quickly spread the neighboring town in the Northern and Western coast of Samar and to the nearby provinces of Bicol, Surigao, Cebu, Camiguin and as far as Zamboanga. It was suppressed in 1650 by the combined forces of the Spaniards, Lutaos, and Pampangos. There ended the saga of Sumuroy that brought renown to the SAMAREÑOS.
  • How Samar got its name? - It said to be derived from “Samad”, the Visayan word for “wound or cut”, which aptly describes the rough physical features of the land which is rugged and deeply dissected by streams.
  • Royal Decree declares Samar as a Province - On August 11, 1841. Queen Isabella II of Spain signed a Royal Decree declaring Samar as a prvince. Independent of Leyte and Cebu and Administered,
  • The Balangiga Incident - September 28, 1901, the people of Balangiga, Giporlos, Lawaan and Quinapondan in Eastern Samar surprised and attacked the American forces station there, killing 48 American soldiers. This has been the most glorious victory of the Filipinos in the entire Philippine–American War. To avenge their defeat an American general (Gen. Jacob H. Smith) ordered his men to turn Samar into a “howling wilderness”.

  • 1543 The explorer Ruy López de Villalobos, first came to the island and named it Las Islas Filipinas.
  • 1596 Many names (such as Samal, Ibabao, Tandaya) were given to Samar Island prior to the coming of the Spaniards in 1596. The name Samar was derived from the local language samad, meaning "wound" or "cut", aptly describing the rough physical features of the island, rugged and deeply dissected by streams. During the early days of Spanish occupation, Samar was under the jurisdiction of Cebu.
  • 1649 to 1650 Sumuroy Revolt in Palapag (northern part of Samar island). The first organized rebellion of the Filipinos against the Spanish colonizers, led by Agustin Sumuroy.
  • 1735 Samar and Leyte were united into one province with Carigara, in Leyte, as the capital town.
  • 1768 Samar again became a separate province in 1768.
  • 1900 The Battle of Catubig(April 15–18, 1900) occurred during the Philippine–American War. On April 15, 1900, the Filipino guerillas launched a surprise attack on a detachment of US 43rd Infantry Regiment, forcing the Americans to abandon Catubig town after the four-day siege.
  • 1901 The Balangiga massacre occurred during the Philippine–American War.
  • 1941 The invasion by the Japanese via fighter and bomber planes.
  • 1941 to 1942 Filipino troops of the 91st Infantry Division, Philippine Commonwealth Army, and USAFFE (under the Visayan-Mindanao Force) were established, but all fell to the invading Japanese forces. The general headquarters in Samar also fell to the Japanese. This resulted in the defeat of the Filipino troops of the USAFFE 91st Division.
  • 1942 The occupying Imperial Japanese forces arrived in the province of Samar.
  • 1942 to 1944 * During the occupation, thousands of local Samareños - men and women - joined guerrilla groups in the province and helped local Filipino troops of the Philippine Commonwealth Army units fight the Japanese Imperial forces which led to the latter's defeat and started the pre-Allied liberation.
    • The 4th, 9th, 93rd, 95th and 96th Infantry Divisions of the Philippine Commonwealth Army were re-established from 1942 to 1946 at the military general headquarters and military camps. The military unit organizations started the anti-Japanese military operations in the province from 1942 to 1945.
    • The 96th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was founded and established from 1942 to 1946 at the military general headquarters in the province of Samar.
    • The Philippine Guerrilla Forces or PGF were established from 1942 to 1945 as a guerrilla resistance organization with headquarters in San Andres, Villareal, Samar.
  • 1944 The Battle off Samar took place on October 24 as Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's Center Force warships clashed with several allied naval vessels in a collision course. His forces sank escort carrier USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73), destroyers USS Hoel (DD-533) and USS Johnston (DD-557), and escort destroyer USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413), but at a cost of his cruisers Chikuma, Chokai, and Suzuya. Despite being a tactical victory for the Imperial Japanese Navy, it did not alter the course of the Philippines campaign.
  • 1944 to 1945 Combined U.S. and Philippine Commonwealth military forces, including recognized guerrillas, liberated the province of Samar and defeated Imperial Japanese forces. The local Filipino soldiers, under the USAFFE 91st and the 4th, 9th, 93rd, 95th and 96th Infantry Divisions of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and 9th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary, started the battles in Samar and fought against Japanese troops.
  • 1945 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers under the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment of the United States Army began the Battle of Samar and aided the local Filipino soldiers of the Philippine Commonwealth Army 4th, 9th, 91st, 93rd, 95th and 96th Infantry Divisions and the Philippine Constabulary 9th Infantry Regiment, the local Samareño guerrilla resistance and the U.S. liberation forces defeated the Japanese liberating the province of Samar.
  • 1965 On June 19, the Philippine Congress along with the three Samar Representatives, Eladio T. Balite (1st District), Fernando R. Veloso (2nd District) and Felipe J. Abrigo (3rd District), approved Republic Act No. 4221 dividing the region of Samar into three divisions: North Samar, East Samar, West Samar. Each region adopted a new capital: Catbalogan (Western Samar), Borongan (Eastern Samar), and Catarman (Northern Samar).
  • 1969 On June 21, under Republic Act No. 5650, Western Samar was renamed Samar with Catbalogan still as the capital.

Famous Local Heroes and Great Men[edit]

  • Captain Luciano Sinko - Aide de Camp of General Lukban the first Representative of Samar to the First Philippine National Assembly. Who was born on January 7, 1873, son of Mr.and Mrs. Juan Sinko. He had two wives namely, his first wife was Petrona Tanseco and his 2nd wife was Victoria Sabater. Elected Municipal Councilor in 1907. Given posthumous Award for outstanding achievement in the field of government service during the First Samar Day Celebration.
  • Senator Esteban Quimbo Singzon - born in Calbiga, Samar. Son of Doroteo B. Singzon and Mamerta A. Quimbo. First senator of the ten senatorial districts of Samar and Leyte, 1915. One of the first Philippine senators.
  • His Eminence Bishop Pablo Singzon - the first Bishop of Samar and Leyte. He was born on January 25, 1851 in Calbiga, Samar, son of Esteban Singzon and Demetria Baeza. He first studied his primary years in Calbiga, Samar his native town under the direction of the Franciscan Fathers Fr. Antonio Figueroa Fr. Antonio Sanchez and Fr. Andres Congzon, a secular priest. He studied his secondary years in San Carlos Seminary, Cebu and entered in the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas – The Eternal City of Rome for his seminary. He was awarded a Medal from Pope Leo III, Bishop of Rome and become the first bishop of Samar and Leyte in 1910.
  • Pedro Rosell Arteche - the founder and leader of Philippine Guerilla forces of Samar. Born on April 21, 1900 in Barangay Kampondoy, Zumarraga, Samar. He was the son of late Nemesio Arteche and Pia Rosell. He was studied laws. An active student leader and athlete, a man of principle, of firm conviction. and as a lawyer, he volunteered his service in deserving cases … of poor persons oppressed. While serving as Governor, he reminded the National Officials of the appointment of Samareños to top government positions and was successful.
  • Bruna "Bunang" Fabrigar - known as the "Joan of Arc of Samar". One of the historic Pulahan leader in Samar. “Bunang”, as she was popularly called, was described as a kind, religious, a hero, attractive women, a mananambal (faith-healer), and a brave leader. Bruna Fabrigar's red “magic saya” she was used as her shield against bullets. She is from Paranas, Samar and she served as the people’s “mananambal”. She believes that faith in God could conquer the enemies.

Past Governors of Samar[edit]

  • Maximo Cinco 1908-1910
  • Vicente Jasmines 1910-1916
  • Clodualdo Lucero 1916-1922
  • Juan Sulse 1922-1931
  • Felipe Abrigo 1932-1934 – 1937-1940
  • Cayetano Lucero 1940-1944
  • Vicente Dira (Japanese Appointee) 1944-1945
  • Gerardo Morrero 1945-1946
  • Baltazar Avelino 1946-1950
  • Decoroso Rosales 1950-1955
  • Fernando Veloso 1955-1960
  • Vicente Valley 1960-1963
  • Esteban Piczon 1963-1967
  • Jose Roño 1967-1973
  • Pablo Cinco 1973-1976
  • Tomas O. Ricalde 1976-1986
  • Antonio M. Bolastig 1986-1995
  • Jose Roño 1995-2001
  • Milagrosa T. Tan 2001-2010


Population census of Samar
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 533,733 —    
1995 589,373 +1.88%
2000 641,124 +1.82%
2007 695,149 +1.12%
2010 733,377 +1.97%
Source: National Statistics Office[2]


Samar (Western Samar) is predominantly Roman Catholic. The Catholic Hierarchy (2014) states that 95 percent of its population adhere to Roman Catholicism. Some other Christian believers constitute most of the remainder such as Born Again Christians, Iglesia Ni Cristo, Baptists, Methodists, Jehovah's Witnesses and Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints. Muslims are also present

Languages and dialects[edit]

Languages Spoken (2000)[4]
Language Speakers
Not Reported

Residents of Samar are mostly Waray, the sixth largest cultural-linguistic group in the country. 90.2 percent of the household population speaks the Waray-Waray language, while 9.8 percent also speak Cebuano; 8.1 percent Boholano; 0.07 percent Tagalog; and 0.5 percent other languages.

There are two types of Waray spoken in the province, Waray Lineyte-Samarnon which is spoken from the southernmost tip of the province up to the municipality of Gandara and Waray Calbayog, an intermediary between the Waray of Northern Samar and the Waray of Samar, spoken in Calbayog City, Santa Margarita, and in some parts of Tagapul-an, Santo Niño and Almagro.[citation needed]

Cebuano is spoken in some parts of the first district of Samar, mainly in Calbayog City, Almagro, Santo Niño and Tagapul-an. English and Chinese languages are also spoken[where?].


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Economical Data
  4. ^ Table 5. Household Population by Ethnicity and Sex: Samar (Western), 2000

External links[edit]