Calbiga, Samar

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The Majestic Falls of Lulugayan,in Calbiga.
The Majestic Falls of Lulugayan,in Calbiga.
Map of Samar with Calbiga highlighted
Map of Samar with Calbiga highlighted
Calbiga is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 11°38′N 125°01′E / 11.633°N 125.017°E / 11.633; 125.017Coordinates: 11°38′N 125°01′E / 11.633°N 125.017°E / 11.633; 125.017
Country Philippines
Region Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)
Province Samar
Congr. district 2nd district of Samar
Barangays 41
 • Mayor Melchor F. Nacario
 • Total 283.70 km2 (109.54 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 21,434
 • Density 76/km2 (200/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 6715
Dialing code 55

Calbiga is a fourth class municipality in the province of Samar, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 21,434.[3]


Calbiga is politically subdivided into 41 barangays.[2]

  • Antol
  • Bacyaran
  • Beri
  • Barobaybay
  • Binanggaran
  • Borong
  • Bulao
  • Buluan
  • Caamlongan
  • Calayaan
  • Calingonan
  • Canbagtic
  • Canticum
  • Daligan
  • Guimbanga
  • Hindang
  • Hubasan
  • Literon
  • Lubang
  • Mahangcao
  • Macaalan
  • Malabal
  • Minata
  • Otoc
  • Panayuran
  • Pasigay
  • Patong
  • Barangay 1 (Poblacion)
  • Barangay 2 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 3 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 4 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 5 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 6 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 7 (Pob.)
  • Polangi
  • Rawis
  • San Ignacio
  • San Mauricio
  • Sinalangtan
  • Timbangan
  • Tinago


In 1649, Calbiga was an annex or visita of Catbalogan; later in 1768, Calbiga was transferred to the jurisdiction of Umauas. All through Jesuit times, Calbiga remained a visita until 1772, when it had its first residential pastor, the Franciscan Fray Manuel Rico de Jesus. Calbiga was constituted as a separate unit under the advocacy of the Annunciation. In 1803, Fray Juan Caballero de Brozas built a wooden church but in 1808, a typhoon destroyed this church and was rebuilt by the same Fray Brozas. By 1840, Brozas's second church was in bad state.

In 1853, Fray Francisco Moreno de Montalbanejo had gathered enough material for a stone church. However, Redondo (1884, 217) that the church was wood roofed with thatch.

The Jesuits left no permanent architectural imprint in the town.

The present barrio "Binongto-an (meaning, "once a town) was the original Calbiga settlement. Legend - as recorded by Atty. Singzon - has it that the people of Calbiga originated from two brothers, Calpis and Bituan. Bituan established a village near the mouth of the river while Calpis stayed upstream the exact location of the town today. The descendants of Bituan later abandoned the coastal village to join the descendants of Calpis.

The Encomendia, 1571 An early as February 14, 1571, Calbiga was already mentioned as one of the towns constituted into encomiendas. The Calbiga encomienda is reported in historical account as having been assigned to Juan Gutierrez. The date is significant in that it reveals that Calbiga, then spelled “Calviga”, was recognized as a Pueblo barely a month after Cebu and Manila were similarly constituted. It was Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the first Governor General of Las Islas Filipinas who started the granting of states of land deserving Spaniards for services rendered to the Spanish Crown. These land grants were called encomiendas. “The natives who paid taxes were part of the encomienda, which was owned either by the king or by private individuals. Thickly populated districts, such as port and large to towns, were reserved for crown encomiendas. Other towns and provinces were divided among private individuals.” Francisco Colin (1592-1660) in his book “Labor Evangelica” comes with list of encomiendas distributed in 1571-1572 by Legaspi and his interim successor Guidp de Lavezares: “In the testimony given by the Clerk of Court Fernando Riquel in the city of Manila on June 2, 1576, and which he took from the Libros de Governacion of Legaspi and Lavezares, were distributed among the old Spanish colonizers of the Philippines. From this most notable document, in the point of view of history , geography and statistics, it is evident that; from the arrival of sande, the island were distributed as encomiendas in the following manner; of Cebu, Legazpi made a tax roll for his Majesty the port and the town up to Canipata (January 16, 1571)… Of Cibabao and Paita; Legaspi, January 25, 1571 assigned the first 2,000 to natives to Bartolome Cindila; 2,000 to Juan Aguero: 2,000 to Diego de Quintanilla… on February 14 he firmed up the encomiendas of these two islands in order to avoid clashes among the encomiendas, assigning; to Agustin Duetro and Bartolome Andrea, the natives of Limaca, Vayan and Samal; to Juan Griego, those of Paita; to Juan Mendez, those of Caguayan; to Felipe de la Xara, those of Buri; to Juan Perez, those of Tunaoyiran; to Andres de Luca, those of Paranas; to Juan Gutierrez, those of Calviga; and to Miguel Godinez and Antonio Ginoveo, those of Bondo” The encomienderos who headed these land grants were able to collect taxes from the natives were supposed to “build chapels and teach their wards the rudiments of the Christian religion… But the encomienderos apparently had very little time for religious instruction, spending most it pacifying the inhabitant under their care in order that they could collect tribute.

The Jesuits Missionaries, 1595 Religious education of the natives of Leyte and Samar was intensified only in 1595 after the Jesuits, headed by Fr. Pedro Chirino (1557-1630) opened mission stations in Carigara and Dualag, in Leyte. Fr. Chirino later wrote an account of the Jesuit missionary work in the two islands. The evangelization of Samar originally called Cibabao, Ibabaw, started in 1596. From Carigara, the Jesuits sailed to Samar and established a mission station in settlement called Tinagon (or Tinago) which according to Fray Felix de la Huerte, is the original name of Dapdap, is now a barrio of Tarangnan. From Tinagon, as its first residence, the Jesuits mission expanded along the eascost of Samar, where the missionaries devoted themselves to “mission tours”. They moved from one settlement to another evangelizing, converting and organizing the population into Christian Community. Fr. Chirino’s account of the Jesuits’ missionary work tells an incident a place “Junto a Calbiga, Llamado, Libunao, no lexos de Tinago” regarding a brave bisayan chieftain (Principal who heroically saved woman from being devoured by a crocodile). In another place adjoining Calbiga, called Libunao, not far from Tiangon, two women, one Christian and the other a Catechumen, as they were going to fetch water from the river near the town, an alligator caught the Catechumen; and because of the shouts of the Christian, a Bisayan chieftain (principal) responded to the call, of whom she was a pupil, who with a Christian spirit jumped into the water toward the beast, which was about to swallow the prey; and holding it by the breast, he threw it upward and seizing it by the loin, he stood firm at the bottom of the water which was shallow, and carried the alligator in his shoulder; having been caught and already out-sided the water, it spat put its prey; and as it struggled back to the water it inflicted many wounds on the valiant Indio and in the end, it scaped without the prey. Meanwhile, the town people came to help the master and the slave who were badly wounded, and they brought them to their homes, where treated in body and soul. The master confessed and with the medicines they applied, he became well in few days; but the slave remained so worn out that after baptizing her, she died.

The Franciscan Missionaries, 1768 In 1767 Charles III of Spain or ordered the expulsion of the Jesuit from all Spanish Dominion. The decree reached the Philippines in 1769 and immediately all the Jesuit were placed under arrest and their houses sealed. The Jesuit mission in Leyte and Samar were then handed over to the Franciscans. When the Franciscans took over the administration of Samar on October 17, 1768, Calbiga was already served, as a visita by the resident mission of Umauas. Fray Miguel Rico de Jesus was the curate assigned in Calbiga. Because of lack of Missionaries, Umauas was later joined to Calbiga until separated by a decree dated March 12, 1863 giving Umauas its present name, “Villareal”. Fray Felix de la Huerta, a Franciscan historian and statistician, wrote about Calbiga in 1865; “this town was attached to (the mission station of) Umauas when in the year 1768 we took over the administration of the island and in the cathedral chapter’s table of 1772 it was administered by the first curate, Rev. Father Fray Miguel de Jesus.” “it has a latitude of 11 degree 37 minutes in a small flat land along the banks of a river of the same name. it is bounded on the North and East by the central mountains of the island; on the SW by the town of Umauas, about one league; on the west by the sea, about the same distance as the aforementioned town and one the NW by the town of Paranas, about five leagues. It enjoys a fresh, healthful and cool climate. Water is supplied from the same river, which is navigable and the sea tide reaches beyond the town proper. There are many poor pathways in the direction of the neighboring towns, but generally communication is done by water. The small is received from the capital irregularly.” The church, dedicated to our Lady of Annunciation, was constructed the year 1803 in wood by Rev. fray Caballero de Brozas; was later destroyed by typhoon and reconstructed in 1808 by the same priest. The church having so deteriorated, Rev. Fr. Fray Francisco Moreno de Montalbanejo built a new church in 1840. When he left in 1853 he had prepared enough materials for the construction of a stone church. The parish rectory is also made of wood, so are the casa tribunal and a primary school, funded Bancao and Boluan, both founded in the year 1840 with about 50 families of non-believers converted by the fervent zeal of the already mentioned Fray Francisco de Montalbanejo. Said visitas are situated the on the NE of the town, the first, some four leagues, and the second, some eight leagues away. Currently, this town is served by Re. Fr. Manuel Benavente, Preacher, 28 years of age.


Population census of Calbiga
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 17,116 —    
1995 18,070 +1.02%
2000 18,890 +0.96%
2007 20,309 +1.00%
2010 21,434 +1.98%
Source: National Statistics Office[3][4]

The Calbiga Fiesta[edit]

The Evangelization of Calbiga

When the Jesuits established missions in the island of Samar in 1696, Calbiga was served as a visita by the Jesuit resident mission in Umauas. In 1768, the Franciscans took over the administration of Samar and. Soon after, in 1771, Calbiga was established as a parish appointing Rev. Fray Miguel Rico de Jesus as the first curate. For lack of missionaries. Umauas was joined to Calbiga until separated by a decree on March 12, 1863, giving Umauas its present name, Villareal.

The Original Patrona

CALBIGA was then under the patronage of Nuestra Senora de los Angeles (Our Lady of the Angels) and the town’s special feast day was celebrated on August 2 even at the original settlement, Binongtoan, at the mouth of the Calbiga River. The transfer of the seacoast villagers to the upper part of the river, based on legend, was related to the miracles of the Virgin. Here’s a Portion of the report submitted to the Historical Commission by the Alcalde Mayor Perfecto Hacbang in 1938: “We also have a sample of unexplained happenings as follows: at the time when the town was still in the place of Binongto-an, the patron saint, then Ntra. Sra. Del los Angeles, would disappear from its siteand was always found afterwards in the place where the town is located today. It was one of the main reasons why the people moved to this town.” This story was corroborated by historian-writer Atty. Filomeno Singzon in his article La Historia de la virgin de la Anunciacion. The original wooden image of De los Angeles had a special niche beside the altar even after the antique church was demolished and replaced by concrete structure in the mid-Sixties, but during the finishing touches of its interiors, the “miraculous” image, together with some precious relics, the other santos, the silver candelabra, the other intricate wood carvings and the other “antiques” disappeared, never to be seen again.

From De los Angeles to De la Anunciacion

WHEN Rev. Fray Juan Caballero de Brozas built a strong wooden church in 1803, he dedicated it to Nuestra Senora de la Anunciacion (Our Lady of the Annunciation) whose feast day falls on March 25. But the Calbiganons continued to venerate the image of Nuestra Senora de los Angeles until it was replaced by a new image of a kneeling virgin with the Angel Gabriel, during the hermandad of Sra. Mamerta Quimbo Abellar de Singzon sometime after the church was built and dedicated to Nuestra Senora de la Anunciacion in 1803.


  • Calbiga Western Samar College
  • Eastern Visayas Regional Science High School- Annex
  • Calbiga National High School
  • Calbiga Central Elementary School
  • there are also other complete elementary and primary schools in some barangays.

Natural attractions[edit]

Langun-Gobingob Caves (Barangay Panayuran): The largest cave system in the Philippines, reputed to be the second largest in Asia and the world's third largest karst formation, is 7 km. long with an area of 900 square km.

Lulugayan Falls and Rapids (Barangay Literon): Hundreds of waterfalls cascade down the 14-kilometer rapids from the source at Lake Kalidongan to the Calbiga River. The most majestic and panoramic is the Lulugayan Falls at Barangay Literon Correche. Approximately fifty meters wide, Lulugayan Falls has been dubbed by tourists as a Mini Niagara.

Kalidongan Lake (Barangay Literon): The eternal spring—the mythical crater-like lake, 90–100 meters in diameter, lined with clean white limestone. Its clear, fresh water endlessly flows down the rapids, onto the Calbiga River and Maqueda Bay.

Maqueda Bay and Mangrove Forests: The richest spawning grounds in Eastern Visayas for Fish and crustaceans and one of the pillars of the island's economy.

Calbiga River: The river is the town's thriving lifeline. Small bancas daily go upstream and loaded with native merchandise. It serves 17 barangays as transport byway and water source.

Kanyawa Caves (Barangay Caamlongan): A little farther to the east is another huge caves system recently explored by French and Italian spelunkers. The caves system consists of fifteen galleries of distinctive features and underground rivers, and numerous stalactites and stalagmites.

Children's Play Area and Nature Park (Barangay Bacyaran): The first phase of the Calbiga Nature Park will also include a Visitor's Center, Multi-purpose Pavilion, Amphitheater, Boardwalk and many more.


  1. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: Samar (Western Samar)". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Province of Western Samar". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 

External links[edit]