The Early Years of the Island
In the early years, Samal island was settled by indigenous people coming from the northern and eastern coasts of the undivided Davao Province. A large mixed population of Mansakas, Mandayas and Muslims composed the identification of the now so called Sama tribe.
As these primeval settlers were organized into communities they were dynastically ruled by a Datu up the early part of the American regime.
In the early part of the 18th century governance shifted when christianization came in.
As an archipelago, Samal became a District Municipality of Davao Province. Subsequently, in three year time Municipality of Babak and thirteen years after Municipality of Kaputian were created. Each municipal name derived from each different historical tracings and so with the barangays with in their jurisdiction.
The second district which is the government center of the city got its district name Samal from the early indigenous settlers forming into one tribe called “Isama” and its barangay name Peñaplata from the Isama term “Malibasa” which means a place where honorable people living in perfect harmony who loved peace that they knew no war. First district derived its name Babak from an abundant shrubs called “Tagbak” grown in the area which were used as land mark for the people’s trade center. White Sand in local dialect “Putting Balas” is significantly true to the shorelines of the third district from which its name Kaputian derived.
In the early settlement of the island, there were no known surveyed roads except trails and pathways crisscrossing the lowland areas. Thick forest and green land covered the island’s virgin soil.
The Isamas are by occupation farmers and fishermen using old fashioned and crude methods of agricultural farming and fishing. Their products were contained in baskets woven by their own hand arts, raw materials of which are abundantly grown in the island and transported by means of handling and through animal driven carts in the in-land and paddled bancas as the water transport. Barter system was their traditional economic enterprise.
The coming of the Christian from the different Provinces of Luzon and Visayas and from the other parts of Mindanao, introduced improvised methods of farming and fishing . More arable lands were acquired and cultivated.
More developments and settlements happened, population continue to grow as years passed by until the time that Samal Island was tapped as one of the government tourism zones.
Samal Island is one of the seven thousand tropical islands in the Philippines with a larger number of glorious beaches complete with soft white coral sand, rustling coconut palms and gently lapping turquoise water. A number of natural waterways and caves are strategically located within the island.