It's more fun in Masbate

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Here are the reasons why it's more fun in Masbate. Come and visit us and discover the hidden beauty of our island province.


REGION V (BICOL REGION) > Masbate

BRIEF DESCRIPTION
The islands of Masbate were formed out of volcanic rocks over one hundred million years before man made his appearance in the tropical regions of the earth. Humans then made tools of stone, bone, and wood. Some of these very early stone stools and bones have been found in Masbate.

Village settling grew from the development of farming, pottery flourished, stone tools were improved, and the early Masbate farmers made axes of polished stones. Many stones axes of this kind have been found in Masbate. They are the remains of the first farmers who used the axes to cut down trees. The early farmers also made beautiful ornaments of shells. They buried their dead in burial caves and jars. Two large caves in Masbate, the Bat-ongan Cave in Mandaon and the Kalanay Cave in Aroroy, are known worldwide as burial caves.

About four hundred years BC, iron and glass as well as woven cloth appeared in Masbate. The stone tools gradually disappeared; agriculture improved. Beautiful decorated potteries were produced. Unearthed fragments of porcelain tell the brisk trade that existed with China.


GEOGRAPHY
The island of Masbate lies exactly at the center of the Philippine archipelago between latitudes 11° 43’ north and 123° 09’ east and 124° 5’ east. It is bounded on the north by Vurias 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.

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.

POLITICAL SUBDIVISION
Masbate is the capital town. The province is composed of 21 municipalities which are politically subdivided into three districts: First District – San Pascual, Claveria, Montreal, San Jacnto, San Fernando, and Batua; Second District – Masbate, Mobo, Milagros, Aroroy, Baleno, Balud, and Mandaon; Third District – Uson, Dimasalang, Palanas, Cataingan, Pio V. Corpuz, Esperanza, Placer, and Cawayan.

CLIMATE
Burias and Ticao Island and the western and central parts of mainland Masbate are covered by a climate characterized by no very pronounced maximum rain period, with a short dry season. The southeastern parts have rainfall more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. Masbate has the lowest average annual rainfall distribution in Bicol.

POPULATION
The May 2000 Census of Population shows that Masbate had reached 707,668 inhabitants.

LANGUAGE/DIALECT
The people speak predominantly Visayan with a unique mixture of Tagalog and some shades of Ilonggo. In Burias island, they speak Bicol similarly as the people of Camarines Sur, due to the island’s close proximity to the Bicol mainland. The people generally speak fluent English and Pilipino.

Source: Department of Tourism Website


HOW TO GET THERE

By Air
Philippine Airlines, AirPhilExpress and Zest Air has flights from Manila to Masbate City daily and on schedule. This is the same and only flight out of Masbate to Manila. At the moment, all trips are in the morning, adjust your itinerary accordingly. Travel time is about an hour.

By Land/Sea
From Manila, take a bus going to Pilar, Sorsogon. Pilar is the main port of Southern Luzon island and it is located just outside Sorsogon City. From there, it is a two hour ride on a FastCraft.

From the airport to the city center
Take a tricycle outside the airport and direct the driver to the city center. Fare is 10 PHP each and travel time is around 5-10 minutes.

From City Center to Bituon Beach
Hire a tricycle from the city center, rental fee is around 150 PHP (2-way). It's the best way to get to the beach as it is not along the national road. It would require approximately 10 minutes of navigating through a dirt road before reaching the resort. In total, it’s about 13 kilometers away form Masbate City and it will take you around 40 minutes to reach the beach.


ACCOMMODATIONS

There are a number of accommodations available in the City, from expensive hotels and resorts to cheap and affordable hostels, inns and lodging houses. If you are on a tight budget (like me), the cheapest that I was able to find was Sampaguita Tourist Inn.

Sampaguita Tourist Inn
Address: Quezon Street, Masbate City, Philippines
Types of rooms:
Airconditioned Rooms - single/double or family occupancy
Non-Airconditioned Rooms - single/double or family occupancy
Room Rates: starts at 225 PHP per night for a non-airconditioned single room with private toilet and bath.
Contact Details: (56)333-4729
Notes: Clean and spacious room. Toilet and bath is a bit small but clean. The staff are courteous and helpful. For security purposes, they are equipped with CCTV cameras. I highly recommend this hostel when you visit Masbate City.

Other Options:
Balay Valencia
Circle E Hotel
GV Hotel
Jade House Hotel
Hotel Sea Blick
MG Hotel
Ranchers' Hotel
Rendezvous Hotel
St. Anthony Hotel and Restaurant
Stairway Inn
Team Centrum
West Wind Waters Beach Resort
Backpack Accommodation


ITINERARY

Here's my suggested itinerary for a quick weekend getaway to Masbate City.

07:00 AM - Breakfast/Check-in
08:00 AM - ETD for Bituon Beach in Mobo
09:00 AM - ETA at the beach / Swim
11:00 AM – Lunch by the beach
12:00 NN – ETD for Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary
12:30 PM - ETA at Buntod Islet / Explore
01:30 PM – ETD for Pawa Mangrove Nature Park
02:30 PM – ETA at Pawa / Explore
03:30 PM – ETD for Masbate City
04:30 PM – ETA City Center / Explore
05:30 PM - Back at the hostel/Freshen up
07:30 PM – Dinner / Gimik

If you have more time, you can visit other tourist spots such as:
Mt. Carmel Grotto
St. Anthony de Padua Seminary View Deck
Bugsayon Marine Sanctuary
Coastal Resource Management Interpretative Center
Tatoo Island
Villa Bayot
Ubo Falls
Lumbang Cave

(Courtesy of Pinoy Adventurista)