Samar Travel Information

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Samar, formerly Western 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 as well as several islands in the Samar Sea located to the west of the mainland. Catbalogan City and Calbayog City, two of the three cities of Samar Island, are located in the province of Samar. Bordering the province to the north is Northern Samar and to the east is Eastern Samar. Samar is connected to Leyte via the San Juanico Bridge, which spans the San Juanico Strait, the narrowest strait in the country. To the south of the province is the Leyte Gulf.


The native language of the majority in Samar province is Waray-Waray (also known as Waray, L(in)eyte-Samarnon, or Samar-Leyte Visayan). However, in the island municipalities of Almagro and Santo Niño, Cebuano is the native tongue.

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The explorer Ruy López de Villalobos, first came to the island in 1543 and named it Las Islas Filipinas. HISTORICAL TIMELINE A. Brief History (SAMAR) 1596 Many names (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 dialect “samad,” meaning wound or cut, which aptly describes the rough physical features of the island that is rugged and deeply dissected by streams. During the early days of Spanish occupation, Samar was under the jurisdiction of Cebu. 1735 In 1735, Samar and Leyte were united into one province with Carigara, Leyte as the capital town. 1768 Again Samar became a separate province in 1768. CATBALOGAN CITY, SAMAR 1596 The city of Catbalogan was founded or settled sometime in October 1596, by the Priests of the Jesuit’s Order. 1735 But, in 1735, Samar and Leyte were united into one province with Carigara, in Leyte, as the capital. The union however, did not prove satisfactory.

1768 Friar Francisco de Otazo, who arrived in the Philippines in 1596, was the first missionary to bring the Catholic faith to the people of Catbalogan in 1768, the Spanish Franciscans took over.The original name of the town 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 Visayan dialect. “Katbalaugan or Kabalaugan” means “a place were 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 month of July, August, and September.

During the early days of Spanish occupation of the Philippines, Samar was under the jurisdiction of Cebu. Later, it was declared a separate province. So in 1768, Samar again became a separate province from Leyte. Since then, Samar has emerged as an independent political unit with Catbalogan City as the capital.



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