The date may be a special nonworking holiday through executive issuance (such as Proclamation No. 263 in 2023).
The word manaragat is a Waray word that means fisher folk.
History of Manaragat Festival
Manaragat Festival was launched in 2004. It is a fest that is “inspired by the life at sea.”
It is meant to express devotion to St. Bartholomew, the patron saint of fisher folks, to highlight the hard work and life of the city’s fishing community, and to pay tribute to the fishing industry.
Additionally, it is a way for the city to offer thanksgiving for blessings received and puts the spotlight on Maqueda Bay, the body of water that is a rich in aquatic resources and instrumental in the formation of the city’s identity, culture, and progress.
The festival was put on hold in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it was re-staged in 2022.
Devotion to St. Bartholomew
Catholicism was introduced by the Jesuits when they arrived in Tinago, Tarangnan on October 15, 1596.
When Moro raids destroyed their mission in Tinago, they put up a church under the patronage of St. Bartholomew in Catbalogan in 1616, in the process becoming one of the oldest parishes in Western Visayas.
The Jesuit residence in Catbalogan became a center of governance and trade. It was organized by fusing Cotay, Cawayan (of Zumarraga), and Canahawan. Moreover, it had jurisdiction in Calbiga, Paranas, Bangahun (present-day Gandara), Yvatan, and Capul.
In 1768, the Jesuits were expelled by the Spanish crown from the colony. In their place were the Franciscans who took over in October 17 of that same year.
Two years later, the church caught fire. It was rebuilt in 1814 and completed in 1865.
The Franciscans vacated the parish during the Philippine Revolution and it was turned over to the secular clergy. However, the Diocese of Cebu requested the Franciscans to assume administration of the parish in 1903 from the lack of Filipino priests. They did so two years later.
The Franciscans stayed as administrators until 1927, the year the parish was given to the diocesan clergy.
Manaragat Festival Activities
The calendar of Manaragat Festival takes the entire month of August and as such, its schedule coincides with Samar Day.
It includes the beauty pageant called Mister Manaragat, Queen Manaragat and Miss Manaragat, thanksgiving mass, entertainment, cultural presentations, competitions, sports, performing arts, Festival Queen competition, talent contests, festival showdown, and parade.
How to reach Catbalogan City, Samar
Book a flight to Borongan Airport or Tacloban Airport and continue to Catbalogan City via land trip. Alternative trips are through ferries from Cebu and neighboring islands. Bus trips are also available from Metro Manila.
- MANARAGAT FESTIVAL. Legislative Digital Resources. Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved September 19, 2023
- Gerico Sabalza. Catbalogan City drops Manaragat Festival due to Covid-19. July 15, 2020. Retrieved September 19, 2023
- St. Bartholomew, the Apostle Parish. Philippine Faith and Heritage Tour. Retrieved September 19, 2023
- James Malabanan. San Bartolome de Catbalogan – The Patron and Patriarch of Catbalogan, Samar. Pintakasi. August 22, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2023
- Manaragat Festival: Preserving culture, sustaining society. Good Practices. Retrieved March 13, 2023
- Local Heritage. City Government of Catbalogan. Retrieved March 13, 2023