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Component City
City of Catbalogan
Skyline of Catbalogan
Official seal of Catbalogan
Map of Samar showing the location of Catbalogan
Map of Samar showing the location of Catbalogan
Catbalogan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 11°47′N 124°53′E / 11.78°N 124.88°E / 11.78; 124.88Coordinates: 11°47′N 124°53′E / 11.78°N 124.88°E / 11.78; 124.88
Country Philippines
Region Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)
Province Samar
District 2nd District of Samar
Cityhood 2007
Barangays 57
 • Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan
 • Vice Mayor Art Gabon
 • Total 274.22 km2 (105.88 sq mi)
Population (2015 census)[3]
 • Total 103,879
 • Density 380/km2 (980/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Catbaloganons
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 6700
IDD:area code +63 (0)55
PSGC 086005000
Electorate 60,033 voters as of 2016

Catbalogan City is the capital of the province of Samar in the Eastern Visayas of the Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 103,879 people.[3]

It is Samar's main commercial, trading, educational, financial and political center. The city is the gateway to the region's three Samar provinces.

Catbalogan's patron saint is St. Bartholomew the Apostle whose feast day is August 24.

The Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division (Stormtroopers) is based at Camp General Vicente Lukban, Barangay Maulong, Catbalogan City. The camp is named in honor of Gen. Vicente Lukbán, a Filipino officer in Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo's staff during the Philippine Revolution and the politico-military chief of Samar and Leyte during the Philippine-American War.


2016 stamp dedicated to the 400th anniversary of Catbalogan City.

Catbalogan City was founded in October 1596 by Jesuit priests and became the capital of the entire island of Samar. Friar Francisco de Otazo, S.J., who arrived in the Philippines in 1596, founded the Catbalogan Mission and was thus the first missionary to bring the Catholic faith to the people of Catbalogan. In 1627, Catbalogan was raised to the status of residencia (residence or central house) and among its dependencies were Paranas where in 1629 Father Pedro Estrada actively evangelized the area and Calbiga where he took whiterocks or grey limestone to use as building blocks for its church. The church has some arc-like stone roof that was pasted together to dry on each block, giving an arching force to the side. On October 17, 1768, Catbalogan was ceded to the Franciscans who took over from the Jesuits. The first Franciscan parish priest was Fray Jose Fayo, OFM.

During the early days of Spanish colonization of the Philippines in the 16th century, Samar was under the jurisdiction of Cebu but later was declared a separate province. In 1735, Samar and Leyte were united into one province with Carigara, in Leyte, as the capital. The union, however, did not prove satisfactory. In 1768, Catbalogan City became the provincial capital when Samar separated from Leyte and became an independent province.

On January 27, 1900, the Americans captured Catbalogan City during the Philippine-American War (1899–1902). On June 17, 1902, a provincial civil government was established on Samar Island by an act of the Philippine Commission with Julio Llorente of Cebu as the first governor of Samar.

On May 24, 1942, during World War II, Japanese forces landed in Barrio Pangdan and occupied the capital. On December 18, 1945, American and Filipino forces liberated Catbalogan City from the Japanese.

In 1948, the barrios of Jiabong, Jiaan, Malino, San Fernando, Casapa, Camoroboan, Lologayan, Magcabitas, Paglayogan, Dogongan, Bayog, and Malobago were separated to form the municipality of Jiabong.[4]

On June 19, 1965, the Philippine Congress, along with the province's three congressmen, Eladio T. Balite (1st District), Fernando R. Veloso (2nd District) and Felipe J. Abrigo (3rd District), approved Republic Act No. 4221 dividing Samar into three provinces, namely Western Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar, respectively. Catbalogan City thus ceased to be the capital of the whole island-province after enjoying the prestige of being the premier town of Samar for 197 years since 1768.

On June 21, 1969, under Republic Act No. 5650, Western Samar was renamed Samar with Catbalogan City remaining as the capital.

The greatest calamities to occur in Catbalogan City were big fires. The April 1, 1957 conflagration, considered as the most destructive one, caused damage to properties in the amount of thirty million pesos. The next was on May 19, 1969, where damage was estimated at twenty million pesos and the more than century-old Saint Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church was razed to the ground. Paradoxically, like the proverbial Phoenix, each time Catbalogan City suffered under the throes of these calamities, better buildings and infrastructures emerged from the ashes.

As early as 1960, Catbalogan already agitated to become a city. In 1969, Rep. Fernando P. Veloso sponsored House Bill No. 1867 creating Catbalogan into a city. The bill was being deliberated in the Philippine Senate, but the blaze of 1969 unfortunately caused it to be shelved. Subsequent efforts were made by Catbalogan's political leaders, such as Mayor Jesus B. Redaja, Vice Mayor Gerardo C. Teves, Councilor Art Sherwin Gabon, Mayor Coefredo "Tekwa" Uy and Vice Mayor Manuel Van A. Torrevillas and Representatives Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura and Catalino V. Figueroa, respectively, to make Catbalogan's cityhood dream a reality despite strong and rabid opposition by the League of Cities of the Philippines, particularly Catbalogan City's neighboring Calbayog under the administration of Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento.

On March 15, 2007, Catbalogan finally attained its cityhood. Under the sponsorship of Senator Alfredo S. Lim and by virtue of Republic Act No. 9391, Catbalogan was converted into a component city known as the CITY of CATBALOGAN following a unanimous vote by the Philippine Senate. Senator Manuel Villar, Jr. (President of the Senate), Congressman Jose De Venecia, Jr. (Speaker of the House of Representatives), Oscar G. Yabes (Secretary of the Senate), Roberto P. Nazareno (Secretary General, House of Representatives) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (President of the Philippines) were among its signatories. The residents of Catbalogan overwhelmingly ratified this change through a Comelec plebiscite on June 16, 2007 with over 92% "Yes" votes for cityhood.

However, Catbalogan temporarily lost its cityhood, along with 15 other cities, after the Supreme Court of the Philippines, in a very close 6–5 vote, granted a petition filed by the League of Cities of the Philippines, and declared the cityhood law (RA 9391) which allowed the town to acquire its city status, unconstitutional.[5]

On December 10, 2008, Catbalogan and the other 15 cities affected filed a motion for reconsideration with the Supreme Court. More than a year later, on December 22, 2009, acting on said appeal, the Court reversed its earlier ruling as it ruled that "at the end of the day, the passage of the amendatory law (regarding the criteria for cityhood as set by Congress) is no different from the enactment of a law, i.e., the cityhood laws specifically exempting a particular political subdivision from the criteria earlier mentioned. Congress, in enacting the exempting law/s, effectively decreased the already codified indicators."[6] As such, the cityhood status of Catbalogan was effectively restored.


Population census of Catbalogan City
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1903 7,758 —    
1918 13,544 +3.78%
1939 26,654 +3.28%
1948 26,839 +0.08%
1960 34,873 +2.21%
1970 49,109 +3.48%
1975 52,384 +1.30%
1980 58,737 +2.31%
1990 70,470 +1.84%
1995 76,324 +1.51%
2000 84,180 +2.12%
2007 92,454 +1.30%
2010 94,317 +0.73%
2015 103,879 +1.86%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority [3][7][8][9]

Notable Catbaloganons[edit]

  • Antonio Eduardo Nachura - retired Philippine Supreme Court Associate Justice; former Representative of the 2nd District of Samar, Solicitor General, Dean of Arellano Law School and Undersecretary of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports.
  • Michael Cinco - Dubai-based fashion designer.
  • Romero Quimbo - Representative, 2nd District of Marikina City and former Pag-IBIG president.
  • Rosalio D. Martires - also known as Yoyong Martirez, former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) player, comedian, and member of the Philippine National Basketball Team.
  • Tom Rodriguez - Actor, model and television personality.


  1. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Province: Samar (Western Samar)". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved May 15, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Census of Population (2015). "Region VIII (Eastern Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016. 
  4. ^ "An act creating the municipality of Jiabong, province of Samar". Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ Rempillo, Jay B. (November 18, 2008) SC Voids 16 Cityhood Laws. Court News Flash November 2008, Supreme Court of the Philippines
  6. ^ Pulta, Benjamin B. (December 23, 2009) SC reverses self, upholds creation of 16 cities.
  7. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region VIII (Eastern Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  8. ^ Census of Population (1995, 2000 and 2007). "Region VIII (Eastern Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City and Municipality. NSO. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "Province of Samar (Western Samar)". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 

External links[edit]