Catarman, Philippines

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Catarman, Philippines

Region: Catarman, Philippines

Geographic Coordinates: 12.499400, 124.633000
Climate: Catarman, Philippines experiences a tropical climate with warm temperatures and high humidity throughout the year.
Population: 97879
Language: Filipino

Catarman is a captivating coastal town located in the province of Northern Samar, Philippines. Nestled along the eastern coast of Samar Island, This charming municipality offers a perfect blend of natural wonders and cultural heritage that will surely captivate any visitor. One of Catarman’s most prominent attractions is its stunning beaches. The pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters make it an ideal destination for beach lovers. Sabang Beach, With its long stretch of powdery sand and calm waves, Is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.

Additionally, Biri Island, Which can be reached by boat from Catarman, Boasts unique rock formations that have been sculpted by nature over centuries. For history enthusiasts, Catarman offers several historical landmarks worth exploring. One such site is the ruins of the Old Church of San Juanico in Barangay San Julian. This Spanish-era church was partially destroyed during World War II but still stands as a testament to the town’s rich history. Another notable attraction is the Northern Samar Provincial Capitol Building, An architectural gem built during the American colonial period. Nature lovers will find solace in Catarman’s lush landscapes.

The Kasangitan National Park showcases verdant forests teeming with diverse flora and fauna species endemic to the region. Trekking through its trails allows visitors to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying breathtaking views along the way. To delve deeper into local culture and traditions, Tourists can visit some notable festivals held annually in Catarman. The Buling-Buling Festival celebrates unity among different ethnic groups through vibrant street dances adorned with colorful costumes and traditional music performances. Meanwhile, Pasko han Kabataan showcases various Christmas-themed activities highlighting Filipino customs during this festive season.

Cuisine enthusiasts will not be disappointed either as Catarman offers delectable dishes that are unique to this region of Samar Island. Seafood lovers can indulge in fresh catches from nearby fishing villages, Such as grilled squid, Shrimp sinigang (sour soup), And kinilaw (ceviche). Visitors can also savor local delicacies like binagol, A sweet treat made from taro root mixed with coconut milk. Overall, Catarman is a hidden gem that offers an array of experiences for travelers seeking natural beauty, Historical sites, Cultural immersion, And mouthwatering cuisine.

With its idyllic beaches, Rich history and culture, And warm hospitality of the locals – Catarman is an enchanting destination waiting to be explored.

Important Landmarks

  1. Biri Island Rock Formations: These unique rock formations are a popular attraction for tourists. The most famous ones are Magasang, Bel-at, Macadlaw, Puhunan, and Caranas.
  2. St. Michael the Archangel Church: This historic church is one of the oldest churches in Northern Samar and is known for its beautiful architecture.
  3. Laoang Church Ruins: Located in the nearby town of Laoang, these church ruins date back to the Spanish colonial period and are a popular spot for history enthusiasts.
  4. Catarman National Airport: While not technically a tourist attraction itself, this airport serves as a gateway to other attractions in Northern Samar province such as Biri Island and Capul Island.
  5. Manguino-o Spring: This natural spring is located about 15 kilometers from Catarman town proper and offers crystal-clear waters that visitors can swim in or simply enjoy its serene surroundings.
  6. Paranas Eco Park (Sohoton Cave): Situated in Paranas municipality near Catarman, this eco-park features stunning limestone caves with underground rivers where visitors can go spelunking or take boat tours to explore its natural wonders.
  7. Capul Island Lighthouse: Although it’s not directly located in Catarman but nearby Capul Island, this historic lighthouse built during the Spanish era offers panoramic views of San Bernardino Strait and is worth visiting if you’re staying in Catarman.

These are just some of the notable landmarks and attractions that draw tourists to Catarman and its surrounding areas.

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture: Rice farming is the dominant agricultural activity in Catarman, with many farmers cultivating rice paddies for both local consumption and commercial purposes.
  2. Fishing: Given its coastal location, fishing is also a significant industry in Catarman. Fishermen engage in various fishing methods such as netting, hooking, and trapping to catch fish and other marine products.
  3. Retail and Trade: As the capital town of Northern Samar province, Catarman serves as a commercial hub for surrounding municipalities. It has numerous retail stores, supermarkets, wholesale markets (talipapa), and small businesses that cater to the local population’s needs.
  4. Education: Catarman is home to several educational institutions ranging from elementary schools to universities. These schools provide employment opportunities for teachers and staff members.
  5. Government Services: As the seat of government for Northern Samar province, Catarman houses various government offices such as provincial offices (governor’s office), municipal hall (local government unit), police stations, hospitals/health centers etc., which provide public services and employment opportunities.
  6. Transportation Services: Being a central location within Northern Samar province, Catarman serves as a transportation hub connecting different towns within the region through jeepneys (public utility vehicles) or tricycles (motorcycles with sidecars). This sector provides livelihoods for drivers/operators.
  7. Construction Industry: With ongoing infrastructure projects like road construction or building construction taking place in the area periodically or seasonally funded by local/national governments or private investors; this sector provides employment opportunities for skilled/unskilled workers involved in construction activities.
  8. Tourism Industry: Although not yet highly developed compared to other tourist destinations in the country; some natural attractions like hot springs (Mapaso Hot Spring), waterfalls (Malajog Beach and Falls), and beaches (Biri Island) present opportunities for tourism-related businesses such as resorts, accommodations, restaurants, and tour operators.
  9. Cottage Industries: Catarman also has some cottage industries specializing in handicrafts such as mat weaving, basket making, and pottery. These products are often sold locally or exported to other regions/countries.

It’s important to note that the list above is not exhaustive; there may be other smaller-scale industries or businesses operating in Catarman that contribute to the local economy.

Noteable History

  1. Battle of Catarman (1900): During the Philippine-American War, Catarman was one of the areas where Filipino revolutionaries fought against American forces. The battle resulted in heavy casualties on both sides.
  2. Birthplace of Vicente Lukban: Vicente Lukban was a prominent Filipino general during the Philippine Revolution and later became Governor of Samar province. He played a crucial role in resisting American colonization in Samar.
  3. Liberation from Japanese Occupation (1944): During World War II, Catarman was occupied by Japanese forces from 1942 to 1944. It was eventually liberated by American and Filipino guerrilla fighters, marking an important milestone in the war.
  4. Birthplace of Rosario Murillo: Rosario Murillo is a renowned poet and politician who served as the First Lady of Nicaragua since 2007. She was born in Catarman to a Filipino mother and Nicaraguan father before moving to Nicaragua at an early age.
  5. Feast Day Celebration: Every year on August 30th, Catarman celebrates its feast day dedicated to Sts Peter and Paul, its patron saints. The celebration includes various cultural activities such as street dancing, parades, beauty pageants, and religious processions.
  6. University Town: Catarman is home to several higher education institutions such as Northwest Samar State University (NwSSU) and Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU). These universities have contributed significantly to education in the region.

These notable events and individuals have shaped the history and culture of Catarman over time.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Catarman Church – Also known as the San Jose Parish Church, it is a historic church built in 1783 and is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.
  2. Biringan City – A local folklore claims that this mystical city exists only to those with pure hearts and can be visited by those who believe in its existence.
  3. Calbayog Bridge – Located nearby Catarman, this bridge offers stunning views of the river and surrounding landscapes.
  4. MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park – This park commemorates General Douglas MacArthur’s return to the Philippines during World War II and features a monument depicting his landing.
  5. Northern Samar Provincial Capitol Complex – A modern complex that houses various government offices, it also offers beautiful gardens and a view deck overlooking Catarman Bay.
  6. St. Michael Archangel Statue – Located at Barangay Dancalan, this statue stands atop a hill offering panoramic views of Catarman town and its surroundings.
  7. Laoang Church Ruins – Situated in Laoang town near Catarman, these ruins are remnants of an old Spanish-era church destroyed during World War II but still retain their historical charm.
  8. Biri Rock Formations – Though not directly located in Catarman but accessible through a boat ride from Lavezares Port, these unique rock formations on Biri Island are worth visiting for their natural beauty.
  9. Imelda Park & Mini Zoo – A recreational park featuring various animals such as monkeys, birds, reptiles, as well as amenities like picnic huts and playgrounds for families to enjoy.
  10. Bagasbas Beach – While technically not within Catarman but located about an hour away by car or van (in Daet), Bagasbas Beach is renowned for its long stretch of white sand beach ideal for swimming or surfing activities.

Sports Teams

  1. Catarman United FC: Catarman United Football Club is a local football team that competes in various regional tournaments.
  2. Catarman Volleyball Team: The volleyball team from Catarman participates in local leagues and competitions.
  3. Catarman Basketball Club: The basketball club from Catarman represents the town in basketball tournaments and leagues within the province.
  4. Northern Samar Athletics Association (NSAA): NSAA is an organization that promotes athletics and organizes sports events within the province, including Catarman.

It’s important to note that these teams may not have extensive histories or notable achievements at a national level due to the limited professional sports infrastructure in the area.

Cultural Events

  1. Paskuhan sa Catarman – This is a Christmas festival celebrated every December. It includes various activities such as parades, concerts, street dancing, and the display of Christmas lights and decorations.
  2. Kinaiyahan Festival – Held every February, this festival showcases the rich natural resources and biodiversity of Catarman. It features exhibits, trade fairs, cultural shows, sports competitions, and street dancing.
  3. Araw ng Catarman – Celebrated on June 19th each year to commemorate the founding anniversary of the municipality. Activities include a grand parade showcasing different barangays (villages), beauty pageants, sports events, cultural presentations, and fireworks displays.
  4. Bugwas Festival – This festival highlights the resilience of the people of Catarman in facing challenges and adversities. It is held annually on October 23rd to coincide with the town’s fiesta celebration.
  5. Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul – Celebrated on June 29th each year in honor of Sts. Peter and Paul who are considered as patron saints of fishermen in Catarman due to its coastal location.
  6. Lenten Processions – During Holy Week (usually March or April), solemn processions are held where religious images are carried through the streets accompanied by prayers and hymns.
  7. Tinabangay Festival – This festival is celebrated during Easter Sunday wherein locals participate in a friendly competition by creating colorful floats made from fresh flowers that depict various themes related to Easter.

Please note that some festivals may have varying dates or may be subject to changes depending on local circumstances or announcements made by local authorities.


  1. Kinamatisang Bulalo – A local dish made of beef shanks and bone marrow cooked in a tomato-based broth. You can try this dish at various carinderias (local eateries) or small restaurants around Catarman.
  2. Seafood – Since Catarman is located near the coast, fresh seafood is abundant. Some popular seafood dishes to try include grilled squid, sinigang na hipon (shrimp sour soup), and kinilaw na isda (raw fish marinated in vinegar).
  3. Kakanin – Traditional Filipino rice cakes are also popular in Catarman. Some favorites include bibingka (rice cake topped with salted egg and cheese), puto bumbong (purple rice cake steamed in bamboo tubes), and kutsinta (sticky rice cake).
  4. Balintawak Grill & Restaurant – This restaurant offers a variety of Filipino dishes including grilled seafood, barbecues, and traditional Filipino fare like adobo and sinigang.
  5. Neri’s Ville Grill & Restaurant – Known for its affordable yet delicious meals, Neri’s Ville serves Filipino comfort food such as crispy pata (deep-fried pork leg), lechon kawali (crispy pork belly), and various grilled dishes.
  6. JM Sizzlers & Pizza House – If you’re craving pizza or sizzling plates of meat, JM Sizzlers & Pizza House is a popular choice among locals.
  7. Mang Inasal – This fast-food chain specializes in grilled chicken served with unlimited rice along with other Filipino favorites like halo-halo dessert.

These are just a few examples of the local cuisine and restaurants you can find in Catarman, Philippines.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Catarman Plaza – A public park located in the heart of Catarman town, where locals and visitors can relax, stroll, and enjoy the surroundings.
  2. Biri Larosa Beach Resort – This beach resort offers various water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and boating.
  3. Capul Island – Located off the coast of Catarman, Capul Island is known for its beautiful beaches and historical landmarks. Visitors can explore the island’s lighthouse, Spanish-era fort ruins, and enjoy beach activities.
  4. Northern Samar Provincial Capitol Park – A well-maintained park with lush greenery where people can have picnics or simply relax.
  5. Hot Springs in San Antonio – Located nearby in San Antonio municipality are natural hot springs that provide a relaxing experience for visitors.
  6. Lao-ang River Eco-Park – This eco-park offers river trekking adventures where visitors can hike along the riverbanks while enjoying nature’s beauty.
  7. Mount Pangasugan Ecological Park – Ideal for hiking enthusiasts looking to explore nature trails while taking in scenic views of Catarman town from atop Mount Pangasugan.
  8. Bagacay Point Lighthouse Park – Situated near Pambujan municipality is this historical lighthouse park offering panoramic views of Samar Sea and neighboring islands.


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