Allen, Northern Samar
Allen is a port town in the island of Samar, Philippines. It contains the nearest port to Matnog, Sorsogon, in Luzon, and are the two entry and exit ports that cross the San Bernardino Strait. Allen is a 5th class municipality in the province of Northern Samar, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 20,066 people in 4,145 households. The town borders with the municipality of Victoria in the south, Lavezares in the east and the San Bernardino Strait in the northwest.
The original name of the town was Manipa-a. During the Spanish era, the name of the town was changed to La Granja. The name Allen was given by the Americans in honor of General Robert Allen, the military governor of the Visayas after the Spanish-American War.
Allen was originally populated by native islanders of the Malay stock from the central locations of the island of Samar, particularly its western central portion. Later on, native Malays from the Bicolano areas facing it through the San Bernardino Strait began to move into, trade with, and migrate to Allen through small sailing barges. Simultaneously, Malays from the islands of Capul and San Antonio criss crossed the same Strait and settled in Allen.
The first recorded persons to have their names officially entered into a Spanish census were that of Cosmenia Cajandab and Mariano Cabacang, both surnames having its origins in the island of Capul.
The municipality of Allen serves as a transit point for traveling passengers between the island of Samar and Luzon through the San Bernardino Strait. It is opposite to the transit point in the municipality of Matnog, Sorsogon. Its location as a transit point, makes it a future ‘transitropolitan’ area in the country.
Ferries cross the San Bernardino Strait to transport passengers and vehicles coming and going from/to between Matnog and Allen. Travel time ranges between one hour to 2 hours depending on the speed of the ferry boat.
Buses from the various provinces of Visayas and Mindanao transporting passengers to Luzon specially those going to Manila pass through Allen, then ferried by the ferry boats to the other side of the strait which is Matnog, Sorsogon. On the reverse, the buses are ferried from Matnog to Allen to proceed to their respective final destinations.
The bus terminal which is located right at the pier serves the buses and transit passengers. A number of booking offices for the buses that ply the route hold office in the terminal.
A number of relatively low-priced hotels and inns within the town serve most of the transit passengers for overnight stay, specially during bad weather when some stranded passengers take refuge in the small hotels and inns. During bad weather conditions, ferries cannot cross the San Bernardino Strait due to high waves.
Allen is politically subdivided into 20 barangays.