About Samar Province

The following general information about Samar Province are taken from the website of the Province of Samar, http://samar.lgu-ph.com/history.htm

Brief History

Prior to the coming of the Spaniards in 1596, Samar Island was called in different names (Samal, Ibabao/Cibabao, Tandaya, etc.). Legend says that when the Spaniards arrived in Homonhon Island, they met a wounded man and asked the name of the place, he replied “samad” which implies of what had happened to him for he didn’t understand Spanish. So, the word “samad” was adopted with an alteration in the last letter (from d to r). 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 or a multitude of rivers dissect the island in various directions like crease-crossing wounds.

In the early days of Spanish occupation, Samar and Leyte islands were under the jurisdiction of Cebu. In 1735, Samar and Leyte were separated from Cebu and declared into one province with Carigara, Leyte as the capital. Consequently, during the Spanish-American colonial period, Samar was separated from Leyte and declared as a province in 1768 with Catbalogan as the provincial capital.

On June 19, 1965, RA 4221 was passed by Congress dividing Samar Island into three (3) provinces: Northern Samar with Catarman as capital, Eastern Samar with Borongan as capital, and Western Samar with Catbalogan as capital. A subsequent legislation passed on June 21, 1969 (RA 5650) changed the title “Western Samar” to simply Samar.

Geography

Samar Island lies southeast of Luzon. It occupies the northernmost section of Eastern Visayas or Region VIII. The province of Samar (western) occupies the southwestern part of Samar Island. It has the largest land area (559,100 has.) among the three provinces which constitute 42% of the island’s total land area and 26% of Region VIII. The San Juanico Bridge connects Samar to the province of Leyte on the southeast across the San Juanico Strait. It is bounded on the north by Northern Samar, on the east by Eastern Samar, on the south by Leyte Gulf and on the west by the Samar Sea. Catbalogan City, the provincial capital is 107 kilometers from Tacloban City, the regional capital of Eastern Visayas.

Political Subdivision

With the approval of RA 4221 on June 19, 1965, Samar Island was divided into three (3) provinces: Northern Samar, Eastern Samar and Western Samar (officially known as Samar by RA 5650 on June 21, 1969). The province of Samar is divided into two (2) congressional districts, with the first district composed of nine (9) municipalities and one city (Calbayog), while the second district is composed of 15 municipalities and one city (Catbalogan), the capital and a newly created city. Majority of the municipalities and the two (2) cities are coastal and only four (4) are in the mainland. The province has a total of 951 barangays, being 409 coastal and 542 inland. 24

First District Second District
  1. Almagro   1. Basey   11. San Jose de Buan
  2. Calbayog City   2. Calbiga   12. San Sebastian
  3. Gandara   3. Catbalogan City   13. Sta. Rita
  4. Matuguinao   4. Daram   14. Talalora
  5. Pagsanghan   5. Hinabangan   15. Villareal
  6. San Jorge   6. Jiabong   16. Zumarraga
  7. Sta. Margarita   7. Marabut
  8. Sto. Niño   8. Motiong
  9. Tagapul-an   9. Paranas
 10. Tarangnan  10. Pinabacdao

Number of Barangays by City/Municipality

City/Municipality No. of Barangays City/Municipality No. of Barangays
  1. Almagro 23   14. Paranas 44
  2. Basey 51   15. Pinabacdao 24
  3. Calbayog City 157   16. San Jorge 41
  4. Calbiga 41   17. San Jose de Buan 14
  5. Catbalogan City 57   18. San Sebastian 14
  6. Daram 58   19. Sta. Margarita 36
  7. Gandara 69   20. Sta. Rita 38
  8. Hinabangan 21   21. Sto. Niño 13
  9. Jiabong 34   22. Tagapul-an 14
 10. Marabut 24   23. Talalora 11
 11. Matuguinao 20   24. Tarangnan 41
 12. Motiong 30   25. Villareal 38
 13. Pagsanghan 13   26. Zumarraga 25
Sub-Total: 598 353
Total: 951

With regards to income class, 10 municipalities are in the fifth class, eight (8) are in the fourth class and only Basey stepped to first class (previously was a third class municipality) in addition to the cities of Calbayog and Catbalogan. Basey is one of the nine municipalities that increased revenue in 2010. Daram is the sole third class municipality and two municipalities each in the second and sixth class respectively.

Income Classification by City/Municipality

Municipality Class Municipality Class
  1. Almagro Fifth   14. Paranas Second
  2. Basey First   15. Pinabacdao Fourth
  3. Calbayog City First   16. San Jorge Fourth
  4. Calbiga Fourth   17. San Jose de Buan Fourth
  5. Catbalogan City First   18. San Sebastian Sixth
  6. Daram Third   19. Sta. Margarita Fourth
  7. Gandara Second   20. Sta. Rita Fifth
  8. Hinabangan Fourth   21. Sto. Niño Fifth
  9. Jiabong Fifth   22. Tagapul-an Fifth
 10. Marabut Fifth   23. Talalora Sixth
 11. Matuguinao Fifth   24. Tarangnan Fourth
 12. Motiong Fourth   25. Villareal Fifth
 13. Pagsanghan Fifth   26. Zumarraga Fifth

Topography

Samar province is hilly and mountainous ranging from 200 to 800 meters high. Slopes are generally steep and bare of trees. Run-off rainwater on these slopes is substantial and can provoke flooding in lowland areas. Topsoil is carried to the sea, creating hydrosols and enlarging mudflats and mangrove areas. The erosion of mountain areas enlarges the coastal plains of Samar. The coastline is approximately 300 kilometers long, which boosts its rich fishing grounds and contribute much to our economy.

Languages/Dialect

The province of Samar is a member of the Samar-Leyte (Waray Group), the sixth largest cultural-linguistic group in the country.  The majority (90.2%) of the total household population speaks the Waray dialect.  The remaining 9.8 percent speaks Cebuano (8.1%), Boholano (0.07%), Tagalog (0.5%) and other dialects.  Other languages used are English and Chinese.

Religious Sects

Majority of the Samareños is devout Roman Catholics, comprising about 95 percent of the total households population.  Other religious sects are United Church of Christ, Aglipay, Iglesia ni Cristo, Mormons, Baptist, Born Again Christians and the 7th Day Adventists.

Citizenship

Almost 95 percent of the total households population of the province of Samar are Filipino citizens.  The rest are Chinese, Americans and other foreign nationals.