Manaragat Festival

Manaragat Festival is a cultural festival and religious fiesta in Catbalogan City, Samar, Philippines every August 24. A month-long event, it is celebrated in honor of St. Bartholomew.

The date may be a special nonworking holiday through executive issuance (such as Proclamation No. 263 in 2023).

The city also celebrates the Catbalogan City Charter Anniversary every June 16.


The word manaragat is a Waray word that means fisher folk.

History of Manaragat Festival

The city government’s culture and arts council had been in existence since 2004, and in that year the cultural festival was launched. It was then called Mangirisda Festival, its name coming from isda that means fish. In 2007, it was renamed to Manaragat Festival whose root word is dagat which means sea.

The city government formulated and pushed local legislation that saw the creation of the tourism council through City Ordinance No. 2011-004 on January 19, 2011 and the reorganization of the Catbalogan City Culture and Arts Council through City Ordinance No. 2015-014 on May 6, 2015.

These institutions advocated jointly for the celebration of the city’s vibrant local culture, cherished customs, and long-held tradition through highlighting Catbalogan City as a coastal city whose ancestors were fisher folks who settled near a river and whose history and development are tied with rich natural resources of the Maqueda Bay.

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 abundant in marine resources and instrumental in the formation of the city’s identity, culture, and progress.

Additionally, 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.

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 Summary

NameManaragat Festival
CelebrationCulture, Religion, Fishery
ChurchSt. Barthomolew Parish Church
Contact0917 700 3696
DateAugust 24
Duration1 month
LocationCatbalogan City
OrganizerCity Government of Catbalogan
PatronSt. Barthomolew
ReligionRoman Catholic
Simultaneous eventFeast Day of St. Bartholomew