Samar Day

Samar Day is the festival of festivals and founding anniversary of the province of Samar, Philippines held every August 11. A week-long celebration, it is a gathering of all cultural festivals conducted by the different localities of the province. Activities take place in Catbalogan city, the capital of the province. The event is also called PANURUNDON: Samar Day.

History of Samar Day

In the past, Samar Day was conducted every November 10 to commemorate the installation of the first government officials in 1965. However, its schedule was changed to August 23 within the Martial Law years. This was done so people can join the feast of St. Barthomolew, the patron of Catbalogan, the next day. Finally, it was changed to August 11 in the 1970s.

In 2020, the festival moved online due to Covid-19 and to encourage people to stay at home. Activities were streamed in various social media platforms.

History of Samar

Samar belongs to the Eastern Visayas Region that also includes Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, and Southern Leyte. Considered the fourth largest island in the Philippines, it faces Maqueda Bay and Leyte in the west and in the east side it is bordered by Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.

In the past, it was called by different names such as Zamal and Ibabao and Tandaya. It was the first island in the Philippines discovered by Spanish colonizers on March 16, 1521. During the colonial era, it was part of Cebu until 1735 when it was established as a province together with Leyte. By 1768, the two islands were split.

The island is characterized by a rugged terrain and thus in the olden items, settlements were concentrated in coastal communities. They were however frequently attacked by sea pirates, so the number of people who inhabited the island stayed sparse.

On August 11, 1841, Queen Isabela II of the Spanish monarchy established Samar as an independent province through a royal decree. This is the date that Samar Day commemorates. Reorganization took place on June 19, 1965 when Republic Act No. 4221 took effect splitting the island into Norther Samar (with capital in Catarman), Western Samar, and Eastern Samar (with capital in Borongan). Later, the name of Western Samar was simplified to Samar through Republic Act No. 5650 approved on June 21, 1969.

Samar Day Activities

Samar Day activities may open as early as the last week of July, making the calendar stretch for more than a week. It features art exhibits, food fest, sports such as basketball and volleyball, talent contests, job fair, the fest day activities (thanksgiving mass, commemorative program, parade, and Tandaya Festival of Festivals), parade of floats, agri-trade fair that promotes the local products and encourages trade deals between suppliers and traders, plant exhibits, pet shows, traditional games called Laro ng Lahi, eco-tourism, and more.

Mutya han Samar

Mutya han Samar (Miss Samar) is the prestigious beauty pageant. It is a search where the best candidate is picked who can represent the province as an ambassadress of goodwill. When crowned, she will be given the enviable task of promoting tourism of Samar.

Tandaya Festival of Festivals

Tandaya Festival of Festivals comes from the word Tandaya, the name that the island was called in the olden times. It takes place on August 11, the fest day, and after the grand parade. It is a street-dance competition of the different localities bringing their cultural festivals to the stage. Aside from the cash prizes that are up for grabs, it is also a vehicle that showcases the creativity and talent of the people of Samar.

How to reach Samar

One can a book a flight to Tacloban Airport and take a bus that will take you to Samar. Ferry schedule is also open from Sorsogon to Northern Samar, and from there you can take a bus trip to the province.


Samar Day Summary

NameSamar Day
CelebrationCulture, Founding
Contact0961 680 4412
DateAugust 11
Duration1 week
OrganizerProvincial Government of Samar
Other NamesPANURUNDON: Samar Day