|— Province —|
Map of the Philippines with Samar highlighted
|Region||Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)|
|Founded||1543, separated from Leyte in 1768;
became Western Samar on June 19, 1965;
renamed Samar in 1969
|- Governor||Milagrosa T. Tan (Lakas-Kampi-CMD)|
|- Total||6,048.0 km2 (2,335.1 sq mi)|
|Area rank||12th out of 80|
|- Density||114.9/km2 (297.7/sq mi)|
|Population rank||37th out of 80|
|Population density rank||62nd out of 80|
|- Independent cities||0|
|- Component cities||2|
|- Districts||1st and 2nd districts of Samar|
|Time zone||PHT (UTC+8)|
|Spoken languages||Waray-Waray, Cebuano|
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 Samarnon-Waray-Waray (also known as Waraynon, Samarnon, or Samar-Leyte Visayan). However, in the island municipalities of Almagro and Santo Niño, Cebuano is the native tongue...:-)
The center of kut-kut art. A technique combining ancient Oriental and European art process. Considered lost art and highly collectible art form. Very few known art pieces existed today. The technique was practiced between 1600 and 1800 A.D.
Kut-kut is an exotic Philippine art form based on early century techniques -- sgraffito, encaustic and layering. The merging of these ancient styles produces a unique artwork characterized by delicate swirling interwoven lines, multi-layered texture and an illusion of three-dimensional space.
Primarily, fishing and agriculture are the major economic activities of the province.
The explorer Ruy López de Villalobos, first came to the island in 1543 and named it Las Islas Filipinas.
The brothers Don Leon Arteche and Don Pedro Arteche were members of the town’s principalia in the late 1900s. As members of this select few, they had the privilege to vote and be voted as goberdarcillo or to other positions of the government. Don Pedro Arteche is the great great grandfather of this year’s hermano mayor.
The brothers figured prominently in the fight for freedom in Samar island and its defense against the American invasion in 1900. In 1898, following the discovery of a plot to oust the Spaniards in Catbalogan, several prominent Catbaloganons suspected of having ties with the Katipunan were arrested by the Spanish government. Those arrested included Don Leon Arteche. When the war with the Spaniards finally ended with the proclamation of the Philippine Republic by President Emilio Aguinaldo, Catbaloganons took over the reins of government from the Spaniards. Don Leon’s son, Guillermo was appointed Teniente del Infanterias.
In January 26, 1900, American gunboats were sighted in Calbayog. General Lukban called for a meeting with prominent men of Catbalogan on what to do should the Americans arrive in Catbalogan. They decided to burn the town and to evacuate the people in order not to give quarters to the invaders. They also decided to disperse the Filipino forces to different outposts surrounding Catbalogan. 2nd Lt. Guillermo Arteche, now in command of the Second Artillery, was posted to the mountains in the northeast of the town. His brother, Leopoldo also served with the revolutionary army of Lukban.
When Gen. Lukban refused to surrender to the Americans, the town of Catbalogan was bombarded and the people retreated to the mountains. The more powerful guns of the Americans soon subdued three batteries under the commands of Lt. Guillermo Arteche and Leoncio Quiason; Lt. Eladio Cinco and Hilarion Curiano; and under Lt. Honorio Rosales and Lt. Florentino Peñaranda.
General Kobbe soon landed in Catbalogan and established his headquarters. Catbalogan was garrisoned, parents and relatives of soldiers with the Revolutionary Forces were held hostage; and people suspected of giving aid to insurrectos were arrested, tortured or killed. Catbaloganons were urged to return to the heavily garrisoned town. It did not take long for General Lukban to regroup his dispersed forces. He reorganized his political-military government. He designated Don Leon Arteche as Presidente of Catbalogan. Guillermo and his brother Leopoldo Arteche remained with Lukban’s forces.
The Americans soon got wind of Leon Arteche’s appointment as Presidente by Lukban and Don Leon was captured by the Americans and taken to Manila where he was imprisoned at Fort Santiago. He was later released and allowed to return to Catbalogan only to find his son Guillermo Arteche together with Cayetano Sosing and Francisco Conge taken by the Americans to Tinaogan, a barrio of Zumarraga where they were tortured to get information on Lukban’s forces. Later, the three together with other Catbaloganons who were earlier arrested by the Americans on suspicion of giving aid to the revolutionaries (Antonio Villanueva, Alejo Maga, Catalino Alcantara, Florencio Briz, Geronimo Bello) were taken to Iloilo for imprisonment. Guillermo was lucky enough to be released but Cayetano Sosing and Francisco Conge were executed by the Americans.
Finally, following the capture of Gen. Lukban, the remaining forces of the revolutionary army under General Claro Guevarra surrendered on April 27, 1902. Among the officers who were the last to surrender to the Americans was Capt. Leopoldo Arteche, brother of Guillermo.
During the Second World War, members of the Arteche family bravely defended the province of Samar against Japanese aggression. When the war broke out with the Japanese, Pedro Arteche, the former Provincial Governor of Samar and former Delegate to the Constitutional Assembly and the District Representative to the National Assembly organized the Philippine Guerrilla Forces (PGF). The western and southwestern area of Samar became the base of their operations against the Japanese. The PGF established its headquarters in San Andres in Villareal. Many Catbaloganons secretly supported General Arteche by supplying him with information.
The Japanese Military Chief sent letters to General Arteche for his surrender offering him peace, full amnesty and a high position in the Japanese Imperial Army of the Japanese civilian government. On January 17, 1944, during an extensive mopping up operations of the Japanese, General Arteche and his brother Melecio Arteche were captured and taken to Tacloban and later taken to Catbalogan where the Japanese General Kawasoy organized a meeting of all Catbaloganons at the church. General Arteche was asked to speak before the people to urge them to cooperate with the Japanese. He asked them instead, in an impassioned speech, never to surrender to the Japanese. Maganda. Catbaloganons broke into applause. Shortly after, General Arteche mysteriously disappeared and was believed to have been secretly executed. Catbaloganons generally regard him as a martyred patriot. His body was never found. His cousin Luding was also executed by the Japanese. As a tribute to the courageous sacrifice of Governor Pedro Arteche, a boulevard in Catbalogan is named after him. During his incumbency as Governor of the island province of Samar, Governor Arteche build the Samar Justice Building, the Provincial Hospital and the Provincial Nursery. He also built hundreds of kilometers of roads connecting the poblacion of Catbalogan to other municipalities.
Shortly after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, the 8th Congress was convened and for the first time in our country’s history, sectoral representatives were appointed to Congress. A member of the Arteche clan, Bartolome Arteche, a peasant leader from Samar was appointed by Pres. Cory Aquino in April 1988 to represent the peasant sector. Thus, Bartolome Arteche became a member of the House of Representatives.
Today, the Arteches is a large clan having intermarried with the Cincos, the Tuazons, Gutierrezes, Conges, Motaks, Pacolis, Salazars, Jasminezes, Guillems, Brizs, Mendiolas, Piczons, de los Reyeses, Astillas, Llemoses, Fortiches, Ocampos, Cuevas, Tizons, Almeros, Bughos and Caparrosos (of Northern Samar), only to name a few of the families now related to the Arteches.
In 1957-1972, Congressman Felipe Abrigo had been the primary Philippine Congressional Representative of the Samar District. He was Representative of the 3rd District of Samar, to the 4th Congress (1957-1961), 5th Congress (1961-1965), 6th Congress (1965-1969), and 7th Congress, (1969-1972). With the help of his brother, Quintin Abrigo, the Abrigo clan had solidified political rule within the region for over 20 years. Before partition which divided the region of Samar, the original capital of the island District had been Catabalongan. Prior to his retirement from politics, Congressman Felipe Abrigo divided the region of Samar into 3 parts (North, East, West) in 1965. Felipe Abrigo's achievements and the contributions of his clan can still be found throughout the regional such as the Felipe Abrigo Arts and Trades College (East Samar) and Felipe Abrigo Memorial Hospital in East Samar and Tacloban.