Explore Misamis Occidental

2 Comments

BoyP Lakwatsa:

My good friend Zoom and I were talking about Ozamis and Oroquieta. His blog shows much more of the province – – spots that provide reason to explore these rarely visited destinations. His photos should convince travelers to skip the more popular sites and be rewarded with the experience of discovery. Wonderful !

Originally posted on Zoom Morales:

Sights and spots I found around Misamis Occidental.

View original

Masbate. So Beautiful. So Underrated.

37 Comments

I first went to Masbate in 1978. I remember Masbate to be a very poor province. I always tell my friends that I then checked in at Crown Hotel near the pier and, when it was time for shower, the hotel staff would fetch me a huge pail of water – – brought to my second floor room from a pulley at the end of the hall.

Fast forward to 2013. Friends piqued my interest to watch the Masbate Rodeo and I thought it was an excellent subject for photography.

Image

Bull riding

Image

Barn dance at the Rodeo opening ceremonies

In between the rodeo events, my friends and I would go to “tourist destinations” but I did not have enough material then to write about Masbate. This year, I attended Rodeo 2014 and booked myself a much longer stay. In the process, I was able to explore more of Masbate.

From wikipedia:

“Masbate lies roughly at the center of the Philippine archipelago … bounded on the north by Burias and Ticao Pass, east by San Bernardino Strait, south by the Visayan Sea, and west by the Sibuyan Sea. Relative to mainland Bicol, the province faces the southwestern coasts of Camarines Sur, Albay, and Sorsogon areas.

The general surface configuration of the province ranges from slightly undulating to rolling and from hilly to mountainous. In each island, the rugged topography is concentrated in the northeastern portion and gradually recedes to blunt hills and rolling areas in the south, southeast, and southwest.”

Above description of Masbate’s topography reminds me of it’s similarities to the hills of Batanes. In fact, I tell my friends while we were on the road that, if they haven’t been to Batanes, they could shoot some hills and pass them off as Batanes shots. Of course I could be exaggerating.

 

Image

Yet, Masbate is beautiful in its own right. And depending on how deeply you explore its nooks and crannies and the islands that form part of the province, you might even say it is more beautiful. Minus the stone houses that make Batanes unique.

All promotions of Masbate that I have seen in recent years say Masbate is the Rodeo Capital of the Philippines. I can only agree that the rodeo is the one big draw. Otherwise, I would not have made visits to watch the rodeo for two consecutive years.

Image

Rodeo is big in Masbate, complete with the only proper rodeo arena in the country, and in Asia

But I submit that Masbate is much more than rodeo. It’s natural beauty is more than enough to lure visitors. The centuries-old lighthouses are another major reason and, for some, could be sufficient enough reason to go. And I am not even talking about the wonderful people of this province that made my visits both comfortable and memorable.

I shall show Masbate in photos on this blog. On some, I will share anecdotes. But for most, I the photos should speak for themselves. As it is sad, a picture paints a thousand words.

 

BUNTOD REEF
Buntod is a marine sanctuary that is most likely the most popular destination. It is accessed from right at the city, at the wharf of Rendezvous Hotel. On our frist trip to Buntod, we went to still another destination, a cove about 30 minutes away.

Image

Image

Image

Image

mangroves were planted and maintained/preserved in this marine sanctuary

Image

 

 

CATANDAYAGAN FALLS

The only waterfalls I have seen that empties its waters straight into the sea. Accessible by boat, the falls is actually part of the nearby Ticao Island, in the town of San Jacinto.

Image

Image

 

 

PALANI BEACH

Palani is a rather new development. When I visied in 2013, resorts were just being set up. Excellent swimming on crystal clear waters on powdery sand. In the town of Balud.

Image

Image

 

 

AROROY LIGHTHOUSE

Took a 1 1/2 hour ride on a van from the Masbate Transport Terminal. Van fare was P80. From Aroroy, took a boat to Punta Bugui, at P50 per person. This centuries-old lighthouse is a short walk up the hill.

Image

 

 

BALUD LIGHTHOUSE

P150 fare on a van to Calumpang in the town of Balud. Approximately 2 hours, with the last 45 minutes on bumpy, rather dusty road. Good thing the van is air-conditioned. Transfered to a boat to the island of Jintotolo, landing on the Barabgay Cantil shores. A short hike up, or an easy “habal-habal” (back-ride on a motorbike) to this other centuries-old lighthouse.

Image

 

SUTUKIL RESTAURANT

I rate this restaurant as another tourist destination. Our group of 25 persons ordered food more than enough for us. Malasuge fish cooked three ways – – – – grilled, broth, and sashimi-style. Plus scallops and seafood kare-kare. And generous servings of rice, plus softdrinks. In the end, we split the bill and each one of us had to fork out only P200 each as our share.

Image

Image

Image

Image

 

LASALA BEACH
Lasala Beach was used as “command post” when Secretary Robredo’s plane crashed and President Noy Aquino took cahrge of the failed rescue operations. A small picnic hut has been called “Little Malacanang” by the locals since it is from this small hut where the President met with his cabinet who were with him.

Image

Little Malacanang

Image

Image

view from Little Malacanang – – an ocean going vessel

Image

Image

 

 

RANCH LIFE
I had the privilege of a preview of a tourism package that is to be a major draw of Masbate, RANCH LIFE. We were guests in the ranch of the president od Rodeo Masbateno, Inc, an amiable gentleman everyone calls Judge Sese.

Image

Image

Image

Image

 

 

FAZENDA DE ESPERANCA

Fazenda is a rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol dependents in the town of Milagros, run by the religious.. The community of Fazenda Masbate has established different working sectors: Dairy, Rice, Bakery, Vegetable Garden, T-Shirt Printing etc. Through this, the community is earning the money for the daily operations.

Image

Image

Image

Image

 

 

SIGSAG

Locals call the zigzag road SIGSAG. It is a beautiful winding road with a view of the hills and plains.

Image

 

BAT-ONGAN CAVE

Located 1.5 kilometers inland in the town of Mandaon, near Masbate City. It is said that the caves were used as burial grounds in the old days. Within the area, a hike will lead visitors to an underground waterfalls. We were so tired we skipped the waterfalls and just saw another falls from up the hill. Our knees were trembling after traversing two hills we couldn’t muster the strength to go down the falls.

Image

Bat-ongan Cave from a distance. The cave is what looks like a mound

Image

Image

Image

THE STREETS OF MASBATE

Stroll around and discover some old houses, see the Masbate Church, and soak in the feel of a provincial city unknown to most travelers

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

a view while going around the coastal city of Masbate

 

WHERE TO STAY IN MASBATE CITY

I have stayed at both Greenview Hotel and MG Hotel. Both are comfortable, but nothing de luxe. I have also visited popular hotels Rendezvous, 7 AR, and GV.

Image

my room at MG Hotel, at P2,400 per night

 

Image

a small pool at MG Hotel

Image

the coffee shop at MG Hotel

Image

Greenview Hotel, where I stayed in 2013, at I think P1,500 per room per night

Image

the outdoor section of the coffee shop at Greenview

Image

Rendezvous Hotel, where the wharf to Buntod is

Image

I snapped this photo of the room rates at Rendezvous in April 2013

Image

I almost wanted to stay at 7 AR because it looks most beautiful. But I am told the rooms are rather small

Image

7 AR looks more like a resort

Image

and because I did not stay here, I thought I’d just have lunch. Not bad, but not memorable either. I just liked the ambience

Image

GV is at the heart of downtown Masbate, near the Masbate Cathedral. It is part of a local hotel chain. I understand the rates are very reasonable

Image

the coffee shop at GV Hotel

 

Another accommodations worth mentioning is Balai Valencia, also in downtown Masbate. I don’t have photos but suffice it to say that some of our friends who attended the 2014 Rodeo stayed in this budget hotel, and did not complain. Rates are very inexpensive:

Airconditioned rooms:

Single 650 1room

Double 800 2rooms

Triple 950 2rooms

 

Fan rooms:

Single 450 1room

Double 550 1room

Triple 650 1room

Extra person per rm 150

 

 

HOW TO GO TO MASBATE

1.  By Land:    RORO bus at Araneta Center

The roro bus (roro bus of Montenegro and Isarog bus line) in Araneta terminal (the old Rustan’s) leaves for Masbate between 1 pm to 6 pm. The bus fare is P1,200.00. Travel time is approximately 11 hours.

2.  By Air:  PAL/PAL Express direct flight to Masbate. My return ticket cost me P7,000.00. Fares vary depending on the season, and depending on how early or late you book your flight.

3.  By Air, Land and Ferry:  Any flight to Legazpi.  Land travel to Pilar, Sorsogon.  Ferry at Pilar, Sorsogon.

You can supplement whatever I have shared about Masbate by visiting the Masbate City’s website: http://www.masbatecity.gov.ph/

You may also want to visit the facebook community page I created and called MAS-BEYT, a play on the province’s name:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/masbate.is.fun/

SEE YOU IN MASBATE !

 

 

Manila’s Old Churches

Leave a comment

I have always liked churches as photography subjects. I have shot many centuries old churches in the towns and cities all over the country, and then it occurred to me that Manila itself, being an old city, is home to some of the oldest and historic churches in the Philippines. Thus last Maundy Thursday, I did what others call Visita Iglesia. I did not do the Stations of the Cross as most everyone did. I thought that by presenting these churches to those who haven’t been there, they may want to visit, and say a little prayer.

SAN SEBASTIAN CHURCH

Image

Image

The Basilica Minore de San Sebastian is better known as San Sebastian Church. It is a unique showcase of Gothic architecture, and the only all-steel church in Asia, and is listed as a National Historical Landmark.

Image

On the day of my visit, the faithful were already in droves, some doing the Station of the Cross at the church yard.

Image

 

 

QUIAPO CHURCH

Image

Pobably the most famous church in the Philippines, it is home to the Black Nazarene. Located on perhaps the busiest district, the faithful come to Quiapo Church to seek divine intervention for life’s problems. Some navigating the aisle from the entrance to the altar on bended knees.

Image

Locals also go to Quiapo to buy talisman or herbal medicine ,or to hear about their future from the many fortune tellers outside the church compound.

Image

 

 

 

SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH

Image

Image

Image

San Agustin is most famous for weddings because of its location – – – within the old walled city of Intramuros. Around the church compound are a selection of turn-of-the-century inspired restaurants, accented by the click-clack of horse drawn carriages that roam the cobblestone roads. Those keen on history also make the San Agustin Church museum a must-visit.

Image

 

 

 

 

MANILA CATHEDRAL

Image

Image

The Manila Cathedral is the seat of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. A stone’s throw away from San Agustin Church, visitors marvel not only at the church but also at the “guardia civil” dressed traffic cops that dot the old city, as well as the Palacio del Governador around the corner. And the horse-drawn carriages that can take them around while sight-seeing.Image

Image

Image

 

 

 

STA ANA CHURCH

Sta Ana Church, Our Lady of the Abandoned

Sta Ana Church, Our Lady of the Abandoned

Image

 

The church is officially called Our Lady of the Abandoned of Sta.Ana (Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados de Sta.Ana)

The Church of Santa Ana stands on the site of the first Franciscan mission established outside Manila in 1578. The church was built under the supervision of Fr. Vicente Ingles, OFM. The cornerstone of the present church was laid on September 12, 1720 by Francisco dela Cuesta, then Archbishop of Manila and Acting Governor General of the Philippines.

I quote wikipedia to describe this church: “in the early 1700s, Father Vicente went to Valencia, Spain. The friar had been very enamored of a famous image of Our Lady that had become a big spiritual attraction in Valencia. The image is now known as “Our Lady of the Abandoned” (in Spanish, Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados).While Father Vicente was in Valencia, in the year 1713 he decided to have a copy made of this image—venerated in Valencia with so much devotion—for Santa Ana Parish, which was in the process of being constructed near Manila. After reverently touching the copy to the original image, the friar brought the new replica image with him to the Philippines in 1717. The image has been venerated in Santa Ana for almost 300 years. In time, the parish became known as Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish, as it is today. But St. Ann, the original patron of the parish, has not been forgotten. Today, a statue of St. Ann with the child Mary at her side still stands in a niche directly above the exquisite image of Our Lady of the Abandoned that Father Vicente brought from Valencia.”

Image

 

 

BINONDO CHURCH

Image

I deliberately included the Binondo Church because I figure that a Catholic Church in the heart of Chinatown is worth a story. The Chinese all over the world are predominantly Buddhists and therefore a Catholic Church in its center is testament to the faithful having established this place of worship

Image

The church is on Ongpin Street in Binondo, and on a park outside the church stands a statue in honor of Don Roman Ongpin, a Chinese businessman who led financial support and contributed to the success of the Filipino uprising against Spain in 1896.

Image

 

 

 

MALATE CHURCH

Image

Image

My memories of Malate Church are related to this district. I have always seen this church as my friends and I would go to the bars and restaurants in this bohemian community. I also worked for many years at the Ramon Magsaysay Center close by, and would pass by this place. My friends at Hobbit House, all midgets who work as waiters, also had a mass wedding at Malate.

Image

The park in front is always busy. On the day of my visit, there were food stalls and my wife and I feated on halo-halo and turon. Prominent in the middle of the park is a statue honoring a Filipino hero, Raha Sulayman.

Image

 

 

 

TONDO CHURCH (STO. NINO)
ImageImageImage The church started as The Convent in Tondo, one of the first structures built by the Spaniards in Luzon, was accepted by the Provincial Chapter on May 13, 1572. The church was heavily damaged by an earthquake in 1863 and was rebuilt for the third time by Fr. Manuel Diez Gonzalez. The restoration was completed by Fr. Casimiro Herrero minister of Tondo from 1874 to 1880 (source: Wikipedia)Image

The Sto Nino Church in Tondo is busiest during the feast of the infant Jesus. As I sat inside the church on my visit, I can’t help but notice a little boy looking at me. I figured he looked like the Sto Nino and I thought I should take a photo of that moment.
Image

 

 

 

CHURCH OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL

Image

This church is in San Marcelino St, right beside Adamson University. In the old days this was the Paco Church. I decided to visit this church because this is where I used to go to when I was taking up Mechanical Engineering at Adamson University. It was a homecoming of sorts.ImageImage

Image

Adamson University

 

All these churches are grand. All these churches are old. And all of them are in the City of Manila. I was missing  a lot. The VISITA IGLESIA was a spiritual journey. And it allowed me to finally see these churches, most of which I normally just passed by. Most of all, the journey allowed me to take photographs and invite the faithful to come visit these churches. And offer a little prayer.

 

 

 

 

Masbate Rodeo 2014

4 Comments

I went to Masbate to attend the National Rodeo Finals for the second time, this time making sure I witness the whole thing – – – from the Grand Parade to the Awards Night.

THE GRAND PARADE: April 8
The Grand Parade officially ushers the opening of the competition, starting with the participants from all over the Philippines and the rodeo officials. The parade ended at the Rodeo Arena where the opening ceremonies were held as soon as all the participants, officials, and guests were in the arena.

1491606_10152315566772570_3973568848009751764_n

student and professional teams joined the parade

Father Mark

cowboy priest, Father Mark Sese

Gov Joey on foot

guest of honor, Albay Governor Joey Salceda

Judge Sese

El Presidente, Judge Manuel Sese

Libona

Libuna team, with Rodeo King Kenneth Ramunal

Magayon

Magayon Dancers brought in by Governor Joey Salceda from Albay

Maloli

Rodeo Masbateno official Maloli Espinosa

whipcracking on the road

whip cracking demo on the road while on parade

BSU

my favorite Rodeo 2014 team, Benguet State University

1509998_10152315569427570_850442236025521925_n Brahmanz CDO Horsemen CLSU Edwin Du Flag Bearer Xavier

 

CATTLE DRIVE
Next day, April 9, was the Cattle Drive. Some 140 heads of cattle were released from the city center , tru the streets of Masbate, to the Rodeo Arena. Cowboys on their horses herded the cattle, with some going astray. The events organizers have teams of cowboys assigned to handle cattle that will stray from the herd.

Masbate Rodeo 2014 002

140 heads of cattle at the city center, prior to the cattle drive

Masbate Rodeo 2014 042

real-life cowboys herding the cattle thru the city streets

Masbate Rodeo 2014 058

 

THE EVENTS

The events consisted of Penning (herding assigned cattle to the pen within 5 minutes), carambola (2 person or 4 person carambola) where cowboys put down a cow and tie them up, Rustling from Horseback, rustling on foot, lassoing, and bullriding.

1014054_10152315587632570_5549629242415437860_n

Bull riding is the most exciting. Cowboys need only to ride the bull for 8 seconds to qualify. This one obviously didn’t make it, and was lucky he was not harmed

1507562_10152315579287570_6146523582958081558_n

2-person carambola. Even a rodeo official escapes from a rampaging bull by climbing the fence

1517823_10152315586602570_7607948953600623403_n

this event is called CASTING DOWN. The cattle must be roped in by the head and by the diaphragm, and must be felled and tied down

10177992_10152304061257570_6263558083906660877_n

I liked this event last year and decided to support the rodeo this year

Masbate Rodeo 2014 248

Masbate Rodeo 2014 074

I took this photo on day one, and this guy covering his face would turn out to be the Rodeo King, student division

Masbate Rodeo 2014 106

This event called PENNING was introduced only this year. Cowboys need to pen in 2 cows, selected at random. No other cow has to be in the pen to qualify and, if an unwanted cow joins, it must be extricated or else the team loses

10258986_10152315579882570_3694222716814666580_n

 

THE PARTICIPATING TEAMS

Teams from various schools offering animal husbandry or veterinary medicine from all over the country participated. From as far north as Benguet, to the Visayas and Mindanao. They were joined by professional players, real life cowboys working in ranches.

 

Masbate Rodeo 2014 124

Masbate Rodeo 2014 125

Masbate Rodeo 2014 126

Masbate Rodeo 2014 127

Masbate Rodeo 2014 128

Masbate Rodeo 2014 129

Masbate Rodeo 2014 130

 

 

 

TAKING CARE OF ANIMALS AND MEN

 

Masbate Rodeo 2014 388

the cattle were taken care of and well fed throughout the event

Masbate Rodeo 2014 554

a medical team is always on standy

THE AWARDS NIGHT

Awarding of individual and team prizes happened on a Saturday night, April 12, 2014.

This season roved to be an upset. The perrennial Rodeo King, Kenneth was injured early on, and was prevented by doctors from further competitions. The Rodeo King and Queen, student division, went to Benguet State University and to the Central Mindanao University players, respectively. Perrennial team champion Xavier University from Cagayan de Oro was elevated to the Hall of Fame, and this years champion was my favorite Benguet State University.

The awarding was preceded by a beautiful ceremony with candles held by everyone lit one by one, and the ritual seemed magical. When all the candles were lit, the bonfire was lit ablaze. Everyone feasted on catered dinner and a roast calf at the center of the arena. There were fireworks at the start, and beer and dancing at the end.

Fireworks started the awards ceremonies

Fireworks started the awards ceremonies

???????????????????????????????

the barkers during the events were also the night's emcees

the barkers during the events were also the night’s emcees

The president of Rodeo Masbateno, Inc was there - - Judge Manuel Sese

The president of Rodeo Masbateno, Inc was there – – Judge Manuel Sese

the participants and guests

the participants and guests

photographers and TV networks covered the event from start to finish

photographers and TV networks covered the event from start to finish

live cowboy music

live cowboy music

???????????????????????????????

(Volunteer Rodeo Officials of Masbate) in a celebratory mood

(Volunteer Rodeo Officials of Masbate) in a celebratory mood

the traditional cowboy cigar, lit to mark the rodeo's success

the traditional cowboy cigar, lit to mark the rodeo’s success

The night was capped by merry making - - drinks and line dancing

The night was capped by merry making – – drinks and line dancing

 

Next year’s rodeo is scheduled April 14-18, 2015. I will again be there.

 

 

BUNTOD REEF

Leave a comment

Image

Buntod Reef is easily the top destination in all of Masbate. And why not? It is so beautiful and is so accessible. The reef is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, or to just hear the sound of the waves if one doesn’t want to be under the sun. It is reached via a short boat ride from Rendezvous Hotel right in the city.

Image

Take off point is a wharf from this hotel

Image

the crystal clear waters on white sands will call you to take a dip

 

The Reef is a marine sanctuary, run by volunteers in coordination with the Department of the Environment & Natural Resources. It used to be that local fishermen engage in dynamite fishing and other destructive methods until the DENR deputized some of them to be the protectors of the reef. Thus they had to stop the destructive methods, and also knew who to watch out for – –  their colleagues in the destructive fishing trade.

Image

The strategy proved successful. Local fishermen now have bountiful harvests from the sea. And us visitors get to appreciate a well-preserved marine sanctuary.

Image

SUTUKIL IN MASBATE

5 Comments

Image

 

Bar none, the best restaurant in Masbate. Nothing fanct, but the best food, and best value – – meaning iNEXPENSIVE. I went to this restaurant last year and came back with a group of 30 friends this year.Then it was just called Castle Kaunan, with SUTUKIL taking second billing.

Image

Photo taken in 2013 when I visited this restaurant first. There was still no air-conditioned section.

 

Going ahead of the story, the verdict was that they were all happy I introduced them to this restaurant.And why not?  The place is no-fuzz, nothing fancy. Just good food. The menu was varied.

Image

Image

Image

Our order consisted of the delicious fish called “malasugue” done three ways. Sutukil means SUgba, TUla, and KILaw. Sugba is grilled malasugue, TUla is malasugue in broth, and KIlaw means making a part of the malasugue fish chopped raw and only done in vinegar and some spices. On top of the 3-way malasugue, we also ordered scallops in butter, and seafood kare-kare. We had extra orders of rice, and several 1.5 liters of soda.

There were a lot of food on the table that I finished while there were a lot of food left. I figure we could have had 25% more friends with us and the food would still be sufficient. Thus, with overflowing good food that some of us tried hard to finish (what a waste if some of the food is left unfinished), the share of each one of us was only P200.00. I couldn’t believe it that a feast like that will cost us only P200 each.

I am sure my friends will also recommend this restaurant to friends who might be in this part of the world.

SUTUKIL is in Barangay Kinamaligan. All tricycle drivers know how to get there. Having no transport of our own, we all waited for our turns riding tricycles back to our hotels.

Image

Masbate scallops

Ticao Island

10 Comments

Image

On a recent trip to Masbate I made a side trip to nearby Ticao Island. I have not heard of Ticao from any of my traveler friends and there lies the allure of discovery. Not many people have gone to Masbate, and definitely even less would have even heard of, much less set foot on Ticao. A short one-hour boat ride took me to this island.Fare: P85

Image

The boat from the Masbate Pier

The boat I took sits 80 passengers cramped in a small space. There were enough life vests though, and this made me feel good somehow.

Image

Entry into the seats on the boat is via the bamboo planks on the side, and then you slide into the seats.

 

FOUR TOWNS

 

Ticao Island is home to four towns. The first town a traveler hits from Masbate City is Batuan, arriving at the Lagundi Port in Barangay Burgos.

Image

 

There are piers on all the 4 towns. I went to the Batuan pier at the center of Batuan, near the market, and saw fish being dried. Yes, Ticao Island folks have fishing as the main source of livelihood, aside from farming.

Image

Image

must be a 7-kilo catch

I traveled the island on habal habal (back-ride on a motorbike) as there are no other means of transportation in Ticao. My next stop was the town of San Fernando.
Image

Image

Next to San Fernando is the island’s mother town, the progressive municipality of San Jacinto.

Image

This is where the bishop stays when he is on the island

Image

The oldest church on this island was built in 1852, but the local parish had updated the church’s interiors, and repainted the exteriors as well – – to the great disappointment of this delights in shooting old churches and homes.

Image

This is a very old church, but the exteriors have been repainted and now looks rather new. The old design can be gleaned from this view, though

The last town is Monreal. The church was also renovated and updated, but the old homes got me worked up.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

This century house is open to visitors, but the owner was away when I came to Monreal

Monreal is also where one finds Matang Tubig, a spring resort on Barangay Real.
Image

Image

a never-ending supply of fresh water from the bosom of the earth

Monreal is also the jump off point to island-hopping. The Halea Nature Park is famous and, I am told, a must see. But my limited time in Ticao prevented me from further exploring ( I could not afford to miss the opening of the Rodeo Festival the next day)

Image

Image

CATANDAYAGAN FALLS

This is the only falls I have seen that empties its waters straight into the ocean. A friend jokingly said that he is surprised the sea level does not rise with the continuous flow of the falls into the sea. Catandayagan can also be accessed from Masbate City on a 1 1/2 hour boat ride.

Image

emptying its waters straight to the sea

 

WHERE TO EAT
My friend and I, both back-riding on habal habal, had lunch in a carinderia recommended to us by the people at the town center. When asked for directions, we were told to look for the carinderia in front of the Monreal Town Hall

Image

What we found was the best-value lunch I ever had. All four of us had longaniza (native sausages), half of a fried fish, and adobo. We also had two extra plates of rice and a 1.5 liter bottle of soda. And lots of purified water. Total bill came to only P320.00. I joked about this to my friends at the Rodeo, saying I will give a treat to the first 100 persons who sign up and would want a lunch treat from me in Monreal.

Image

weren’t we really hungry !

Image

WHERE TO STAY

There are inexpensive resorts and even cheaper homestays if you ask around. But having saved so much on food, I decided to stay on the best accommodations on the island. TICAO ISLAND RESORT is in Barangay Tacdugan on our way back from Monreal to San Jacinto. It is reached via a motorbike on a stretch of unpaved road that I reckon is about 4 kilometers long. The “ordeal” from that back-breaking ride is rewarded by this A-1 resort accommodation on cabanas facing the ocean. Image

Image

a waterfront cabana with airconditioning, 2 beds, a clean toilet and shower, and a small veranda

Image

 

Image

the restaurant staff gave good service and wide smiles

Image

buffet dinner catered to international guets

Image

The air-conditioned cabanas rent out at P2,600 per pax, at 2 pax per cabana, inclusive of dinner and breakfast. Budget fan rooms are at P1,500 per pax, also inclusive of meals.

Strangely enough, the resort does not cater to locals, nor to people from Masbate mainland. It is actually fenced off and access is by boat as nearly 100% of its guests, also nearly 100% foreign nationals, arrive via boats from Donsol in Sorsogon, actually another, albeit nearby, province. The resort is packaged as accommodations for divers. Ask them about manta bowl and they will say Ticao Island.

Book Ticao Island Resort thru their website: Ticao Island Resort | Donsol Dive Resort | Ticao Island Dive Resort | Dive Donsol NOW!

Image

Boarded this ferry the next morning to arrive in Masbate City at 7am to catch the Grand Parade to open Rodeo 2014