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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next to San Fernando is the island’s mother town, the progressive municipality of San Jacinto.
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.
The last town is Monreal. The church was also renovated and updated, but the old homes got me worked up.
Monreal is also where one finds Matang Tubig, a spring resort on Barangay Real.
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
How lucky can you get? You went to Ticao without even knowing it existed. I have been planning, for two years now, to pass by Ticao from Bicol and work my way through to Masbate, Romblon. and eventually ending up in Boracay. I’ll take you up on your invite for Tet and myself to join you in next year’s Rodeo. I’m green all over!!!
Next year let us explore Burias. And yes, I will see you in Masbate for the Rodeo. The 2015 event is on April 14-18. If I push my luck, I will actually be in the arena not as honorary VROoM (Volunteer Rodeo Officials of Masbate) but as a working VROoM as a timer. Hopefully I don’t get run over by a raging bull.
This is something worth looking forward to 🙂
Wow! I was about to visit Masbate during the holy week as well but the weather did not permit me. Hehe I was able to visit Monreal 3 years ago and i love the hospitality apart from the natural resources they have, truly, this place seems a hidden paradise. Hoping to be back soon…thanks for sharing info sir. 🙂
Well then make sure you push thru with a visit, and schedule it soon. Before the whole world gets there, hehehehe
I like the place. Very nice and accommodating.
I should have stayed longer. I wanted to see the cave that is like a doughnut. And the neighboring islands.
What particular interests do travelers like U may suggest to visit/ come back/ stay longer in such remote but hidden piece of Eden? From Ur experience, what do U think is reasonable budget for transport fares, meal and room accommodation in such place as Ticao? Any wish-list of expected facilities in the said island? Ur input may help local residents to engage/ invest in tourism-oriented projects.
Hello Rudy, I will be delighted to help with insights and information. Best to do this via email. Will email you my contact details.
It was in 1978, when I re-visited Ticao Island, after working at the Masbate Provincial Capitol in 1976. I only dropped by to see my late mother who was then teaching at a high school in Monreal. At that time, some mini-buses were still plying the stretch between the towns of Batuan and San Jacinto. Not sure if it is true these days? All I could say was that my one week stay in Monreal, a laidback but bucolic and pristine part of the world, gave me a chance to dip in the cool, freshwater of Matang Tubig in Bgy. Real. It was here where I mustered enough courage to squeeze in myself through the small opening of the subterranean cave. From fresh seafood, any visitor will be smitten by the hospitality of the local folks. And transportation is always available either from San Jacinto or Monreal to Pilar, Sorsogon. In short, Rudy’s sojourn in Masbate had re-ignited my interest to go back.
It might be that my stay in Ticao was too short and did not notice the public transportation. My friend/guide instinctively got 2 habal-habals, one for each of us. The best way I think for us to see more places in Ticao without bothering to wait for scheduled trips. Maybe on a more leisurely schedule, I will explore Ticao using mini-buses when I find them.
Hello, can you share how much was the boat transfer from Ticao Island Resort to Masbate City? Or did you rent habal habal back to Batuan pier? Thanks!
I took the boat from Masbate to Batuan, and rode a habal habal around Ticao, including to Ticao Island Resort where I stayed for the night.
Hello! I’m very much interested to this place dito ako pinanganak pero Hindi ako lumaki sa place na Yan no more relatives na din Medyo malayo na sa ticao possible ba na u can help me with the I.t and how yung cost or Kung may contact person sana sa ticao para ma your Nya Kami…. Thank you in advance….😊
The person who toured me around Ticao is Virgilio Natural. You can send me a pm on my facebook page and I can give you his contact details.
Was there last week, and your blog was a big help. I didn’t even know about Ticao until work ordered me to go there. Good thing, you wrote about this very beautiful island. Thank you.
Hi! would it be possible for me to tour the sea area in San Jacinto (Ticao Island) during the day and return to Masbate City before the evening?
Technically possible but that would mean you will have to hire a boat, which can be expensive (I am not sure how much). I did not do that as I stayed overnight.
Well, my advice for you is just to stay overnight in one of the pension houses at the town proper. Or perhaps, seek the help of the town mayor’s office where you can stay overnight. Early in the morning, public transports from San Jacinto to Batuan are already available. Then, take a “kumpit” to Masbate City, which takes more than an hour.
a must journey for one seeking solitude
just came back from a trip to PI and really encouraged your sharing this. I was planning to visit my hometown but unable due to my hectic schedule. I’m planning to go back soon and I’ll definitely hop into the Roro with my sister and enjoy my beautiful birthplace. Haven’t visited San Fernando for 35 years and I heard so much about it that it is must to visit the next time I’m in the PI.
You really should! Have a wonderful day!
Hello Guys! I’m from Ticao Island Masbate. Sa mga gusto pong makapag island hopping this May 2019 ako po ay nag oorganize. Meron din po akong mga contacts sa murang Hotel and Boat. Please email me : email@example.com / Contact Number: 09778071312.