|City of Catbalogan
Syudad han Catbalogan
Lungsod ng Catbalogan
Map of Samar showing the location of Catbalogan
|Region||Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)|
|Congr. district||2nd District of Samar|
|• Mayor||Stephany Uy-Tan|
|• Vice-Mayor||Art Gabon|
|• Total||274.22 km2 (105.88 sq mi)|
|• Density||380/km2 (980/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
Catbalogan, officially the City of Catbalogan or Catbalogan City, is the capital of Samar province, Philippines, with a population of 103,879 (2015 Census). It is Samar's main commercial, trading, educational, political and financial center. It is also an important and major seaport serving inter-island vessels. Catbalogan City's central geographical location in Eastern Visayas makes it ideal as the gateway to the region's three Samar provinces. The city is often referred to as "The Gateway to Samar Region."
Each region of the country has its own patron saint, and their feast days are celebrated with gusto. Catbalogan City's Patron Saint is St. Bartholomew, the Apostle, and celebrates its city fiesta on August 24. Known in the Scriptures as Nathaniel, St. Bartholomew was one of the twelve apostles of Christ and a martyr of the Christian faith. He also witnessed the Ascension of Jesus. Together with St. Jude, he introduced Christianity to Armenia during the first century. He preached in India, Mesopotamia, Iran and Egypt and was able to convert thousands to Christianity.
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.
Catbalogan City was founded or settled sometime in October 1596 by the priests of the Jesuit Order (Society of Jesus) and became the cabecera (capital) of the whole 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.
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.
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." As such, the cityhood status of Catbalogan was effectively restored.
|Population census of Catbalogan City|
|Source: National Statistics Office|
- Antonio Eduardo Nachura, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
- 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
- Tom Rodriguez, television personality
- "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Province: Samar (Western Samar)". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Highlights of the Philippine Population 2015 Census of Population: as of May 19, 2016". 2016 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "An act creating the municipality of Jiabong, province of Samar". LawPH.com. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
- SC reverses self, upholds creation of 16 cities
- "Province of Western Samar". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Catbalogan, Samar.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Catbalogan.|
- Official Website of the City of Catbalogan
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- Philippine Census Information
- Local Governance Performance Management System
- The Supreme Court declares 16 cityhood laws unconstitutional
- Press Statement of the City Government of Catbalogan on Cityhood Issue
- SC: Cityhood Laws Constitutional - Supreme Court of the Philippines Court News Flash December 21, 2009
- Catbalogan City Water District