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The city of Catbalogan was founded or settled sometime in October 1596, by the priests of the Jesuit Order (Society of Jesus.) 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.) 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.
The original name of the city was KATBALAUGAN or KABALAUGAN. The two syllables of the name are compounds of the prefix KAT or KA and the substantive noun BALAUG of the Samar-Leyte Visayan language (Waray). “Katbalaugan or Kabalaugan” means “a place where seafarers, fishermen or sailors take shelter or cover and are detained.” The old fishing village of Katbalaugan or Kabalaugan was the refuge of people riding in small boats and sailboats when the northwest and southwest monsoons blew during the months of July, August, and September.
During the early days of Spanish colonization of the Philippines, Samar was under the jurisdiction of Cebu. Later, it 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, Samar again became a separate province from Leyte. Since then, Samar has emerged as an independent province with Catbalogan City as the capital.
On January 27, 1900, the Americans captured the city of Catbalogan. Civil government was established on June 17, 1902 with Julio Llorente of Cebu as the first governor of Samar.
On May 24, 1942, the Japanese forces landed in Barrio Pangdan and occupied the capital. On December 18, 1945, the American and Filipino liberation forces re-occupied the city.
On June 19, 1965, the Philippine Congress approved Republic Act No. 4221 dividing Samar into Western Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar, respectively. Catbalogan 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 still as the capital city.
The greatest calamities to occur in Catbalogan 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 (P30,000,000.00). The next was on May 19, 1969, where damage was estimated at twenty million pesos (P20,000,000.00) and the more than century-old 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, the bill creating Catbalogan into a city was being deliberated in the Philippine Senate, but the conflagration of 1969 unfortunately caused it to be shelved.
On March 15, 2007, Catbalogan finally attained its cityhood status. 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. Senator Manuel Villar, Jr. (President of the Senate), 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.
The capital city of Catbalogan is strategically located in the western seacoast of the Province of Samar. It is bounded to the north by the municipalities of Tarangnan and San Jorge, to the east by the municipality of Jiabong, and to the west by the Maqueda Bay with its beautiful sunsets. The Pan-Philippine Highway (Maharlika Highway) traverses the city from Barangay San Vicente in the north through the poblacion to Barangay Lagundi in the south. Catbalogan City is about 800 kilometers south of Manila.
The total land area of Catbalogan City is 274.22 km². Its city proper covers an area of 1.30 km².
There are 57 barangays in the entire city, twenty-one of which are situated in the poblacion. Another twenty-one barangays are located in the coastal areas and fifteen are in the interior or upland areas.
The topography of Catbalogan City is rough and its mountains are relatively high. Approximately 2% of the land area are plain and mostly found along the seacoast while 43% are rolling hills and 55% are mountainous.
The coastline of Catbalogan City is irregular with bays bordering the poblacion and other barangays. Its coastline has a total length of about ten miles.
Climate and Rainfall
The climate is classified as 4th type (mild) where rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year.
In Catbalogan City there is hardly a month without rainfall. The driest month is April. Generally, there is no distinct dry season but the months of February, March, April and May comprise the short dry season. Rainfall is uniform throughout the year and heaviest during the months of November and December.
Typhoons occur during the months of August, September, October, November and December. Although Samar has been popularly known as a typhoon-prone area, the truth is, the island of Samar is used only as a reference point by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA.)
The soils of Catbalogan City are of two types, namely, the Catbalogan clay loam and faraon clay. The clay loam, which is the predominant one, is the primary soil developed from shales and sandstones. The faraon clay, on the other hand, is a residual from corraline limestone and is fair with organic matter contents. Limestone rocks are sometimes found on the surface. The clay loam is a type of soil suited for agriculture particularly rootcrops.
CatbaloganCity is politically subdivided into 57 barangays.
* Canhawan Guti
* Canlapwas (Pob.)
* Darahuway Daco
* Darahuway Guti
* New Mahayag
* Old Mahayag
* Poblacion 1 (Barangay 1)
* Poblacion 2 (Barangay 2)
* Poblacion 3 (Barangay 3)
* Poblacion 4 (Barangay 4)
* Poblacion 5 (Barangay 5)
* Poblacion 6 (Barangay 6)
* Poblacion 7 (Barangay 7)
* Poblacion 8 (Barangay 8)
* Poblacion 9 (Barangay 9)
* Poblacion 10 (Barangay 10-Monsanto Street)
* Poblacion 11 (Barangay 11)
* Poblacion 12 (Barangay 12)
* Poblacion 13 (Barangay 13)
* Muñoz (Poblacion 14)
* San Andres
* San Pablo
* San Roque
* San Vicente
How to reach Catbalogan City?
* Catbalogan City can be reached from Manila or Tacloban City by land, air or sea.
* Currently, no commercial flights to Catbalogan City are available. However, the Catbalogan City airport *Catbalogan Airport on Buri Island is accessible to private and charter jets from Manila and elsewhere.
* The Port of Catbalogan (Piers I and II) is classified as a national port that can handle passengers and cargoes to and from Manila, Cebu and other places.
* Bus transit is the dominant public land transport to Catbalogan City from Manila or Tacloban City passing through the Pan-Philippine Highway (Maharlika Highway.) The public mode of transportation within the city is by tricycles or pedicabs.