Catbalogan, officially the City of Catbalogan or Catbalogan City, is the capital of Samar province, Philippines, with a population of 94,317 (2010 Census). It is Samar's main commercial, trading, educational, political and financial center. It is also an important and major seaport serving inter-island vessels. Catbalogan City's central geographical location in Eastern Visayas makes it ideal as the gateway to the region's three Samar provinces. The city is often referred to as "The Gateway to Samar Region."
Each region of the country has its own patron saint, and their feast days are celebrated with gusto. Catbalogan City's Patron Saint is St. Bartholomew, the Apostle, and celebrates its city fiesta on August 24. Known in the Scriptures as Nathaniel, St. Bartholomew was one of the twelve apostles of Christ and a martyr of the Christian faith. He also witnessed the Ascension of Jesus. Together with St. Jude, he introduced Christianity to Armenia during the first century. He preached in India, Mesopotamia, Iran and Egypt and was able to convert thousands to Christianity.
The Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division (Stormtroopers) is based at Camp General Vicente Lukban, Barangay Maulong, Catbalogan City. The camp is named in honor of Gen. Vicente Lukbán, a Filipino officer in Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo's staff during the Philippine Revolution and the politico-military chief of Samar and Leyte during the Philippine-American War. Eastern Visayas' (Region VIII) Philippine National Police (PNP) Headquarters is also based inside the camp.
Catbalogan City was founded or settled sometime in October 1596, by the priests of the Jesuit Order (Society of Jesus). Friar Francisco de Otazo, S.J., who arrived in the Philippines in 1596, founded the Catbalogan Mission and was thus the first missionary to bring the Catholic faith to the people of Catbalogan. In 1627, Catbalogan was raised to the status of residencia (residence or central house) and among its dependencies was Paranas where in 1629 Father Pedro Estrada actively evangelized the area. On October 17, 1768, Catbalogan was ceded to the Franciscans who took over from the Jesuits. The first Franciscan parish priest was Fray Jose Fayo, OFM.