Masbate. So Beautiful. So Underrated.

38 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 !

 

 

38 thoughts on “Masbate. So Beautiful. So Underrated.

    • I love to do this. The people of Masbate have become my friends, and I so thoroughly enjoyed my exploration of the interesting spots within the province. I even went to Ticao. Next year I will go to Burias, and maybe other islands. And some other spots I have read about on the mainland. That will be on top of watching another rodeo.

  1. thank you so much for being an ambassador of goodwill for the Province of Masbate, may your article would lead more tourists to visit our place, savor its beauty and consider this province as one of the tourists’ destination here in the Philippines

    • I am doing this without any financial gain because when I believe in something, I am moved to do my bit. I have come to like the rodeo (and I ahve become an honorary member of VROoM and, I was teasing the rodeo director that next year I should be down there in the arena, maybe as a timer. Not just a spectator nor hobbyist photographer. That is how Masbate and the rodeo has affected me.

  2. As a Masbateño, I would like to thank you for this blog BoyP. It’s very heartwarming that you enjoyed your stay in my hometown and appreciated its beauty. God bless :)

    • I wrote from the heart, and that is why it felt, as you said, heartwarming. Masbate truly deserves its rightful place in the tourism menu of people who love to ravel and explore..

  3. hi BOY,I JUST LOG IN TONIGHT .I WAS SO AMAZED BY THE BEAUTY OF MASBATE,WHICH HAD BEEN A HOME OF MY PARENTS WHEN I WAS STILL 7 YR OLD.I APPRECIATED YOU FOR BEING A FILIPINO CITIZEN WHO REALLY EXPLORE BEAUTIFUL PLACES AND SHARING TO EVERYONE FOR THEM TO SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL REALLY OUR COUNTRY IS…YOU KNOW I HAVE RELATIVES IN THAT PLACE NOEL LOGRONIO AND THE LANUZA CLAN,COZ MY MOM IS A SISTER OF PEDRO LANUZA,A FORMER MILITAY…ONE OF THESE DAYS,I HOPE AND PRAY THAT MY DREAM OF RE-VISITING THAT PLACE WILL SOON COMES TRUE. GOD BLESS.

  4. hmmmm akala ko di pa nasisikatan ng araw ang masbate..ngayon i have a reason to love masbate and its people..they are sweet ,warm and hospitable..i guess..

    • Lalong sisikat ang araw sa masbate pag pinasyalan ang magagandang lugar duon. Instead of going to second-rate destinations, travelers hould go to masbate and see for themselves this paradise long hidden from everyone.

      • I LOVE TO VISIT MONREAL AND BUNTOD .. i hope this vacation in the philippines will be fun and memorable..

  5. Sir Boy, im from Masbate. We used to work before when im in GroupM. Really love to see some of the spots in Masbate that ive never been before. Thanks for the post.

    • Jeric, I am in no way connected to the city or provincial tourism office. I am a blogger – – – a traveler whose passion is writing to promote tourism to the Philippines. That is why I helped organize more than 30 travel photographers to attend Rodeo 2014. To help me promote Masbate to the world.

    • hi, Jeric, the prime movers are the members of the Rodeo Masbateno, Inc, the Provincial Government, headed by Gov. Dayan extended financial support to the group which was utilized for the prizes, rehabilitation of the office building and other necessary expenses incurred during the festival., kaya ito na po yon.

      • Yes, and there are also companies and private individuals supporting the rodeo. This blogger, for one, is an ardent supported. If you were there, you would have seen “boyplakwatsa.com” tarpaulins to acknowledge the cash donation I made fro the prizes, too. I hope there will be more companies and individuals supporting the Rodeo in 2015.

  6. thanks for showing the beauty of this beautiful island the world…i’ve been there and ur description of it being underrated is true…i have noticed the tourism potential of Masbate and the warmth of its people…too bad very limited resources are invested for its development…can only pray that someday soon…local officials will wisely make efforts to develop and promote this unexplored paradise…if not…its gonna be a disparity to see this “jewel” forsaken and its rich resources be wasted….

    • I am happy to note that my blog on Masbate is affecting a lot of people. This is probably my post that will get the most comments, at the rate I get feedback everyday, from the time I wrote this. That means people are noticing. And hopefully, the tourism authorities will pick it up from here.

      • keep up with what ur doing, and hopefully ur battle cry will be heard…many people are deprived the chance to discover what Masbate can offer…i am glad there are people like u who take time from their busy schedules to make things happen…bless u…

      • I will definitely continue promoting Masbate. Because I have traveled all over the Philippines (and in most parts of the world) and I really, honestly think that Masbate, while not the most beautiful place, is beautiful and interesting enough and should not be missed by those who love to travel and see beautiful sights. I am a living proof that Masbate is beautiful and interesting. I went there 2 years in a row, and still think I have not seen enough. I know there is more to see and explore.

  7. I have spent my entire childhood summers in Calumpang Balud Masbate where my grandparents used to reside. Indeed Masbate is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. My love for the beach was nurtured there.

    • Oh, that wonderful jump off point to Jintotolo Island. I liked Calumpang. It looks like a model small barangay, with all the houses neatly arranged, and fenced with bamboo slats. It is picturesque.

  8. This is so great! I know there’s more! Masbate has a lot to offer.. waiting to be discovered.
    Thank you for the effort Sir posting these”some hidden beauty of MASBATE .SO proud to say taga Masbate po ako.

  9. A huge THANK YOU for this write up about Masbate and especially for featuring Palani Beach in the town of Balud. Palani Beach has caught the eye of many people, not only from the province but visitors as well. However, on your next trip to Masbate, may I suggest that you visit TALISAY BEACH & RANCH located in Barangay Talisay (2 barangays away from Palani). Talisay Beach & Ranch has definitely what I would call as the WOW factor – you see the place and you cannot help it but say WOW! I’m sure it would be helpful if you can coordinate your visit with Ms. Aida Berunio, Municipal Tourism Officer-designate of the town of Balud. More power to you.

    • Hi Ross!
      I will definitely visit Talisay on my next trip. After 2 successive visits to attend the rodeo, I am finding that one never has enough time to explore the beauty of Masbate. And so I will cram and visit as many places as I can. Many other masbatenos have corresponded with me, suggesting beautiful destinations. Proof positive that Masbate has a lot more to offer, and that Masbatenos are proud of their province. Thus I will continue evangeliing about Masbate. And hope to catch you on one of my visits.

  10. Wowwwwww. I love this. Very comprehensive. I’m a Masbateno but I have never been to those sites. I also want to see all those places. Parang wala ata ang Coco View Lagoon. There’s also one interesting spot in Umabay Interior in Mobo, It’s where the biggest and oldest tree (allegedly) in Asia is found.

  11. My wife and I are planning a trip to Masbate in March 2015. Your information and details about local hotels is the most detailed I have seen. Excellent job!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s