Upon our arrival in Masbate, we were immediately flooded with excitement. We only had a couple of days to spend in this particular trip, so every move was a calculated one. Sure, this cradled spot on the Philippine map is famous for their aptly named Rodeo Masbateno annual event, but we didn’t stop searching there.
We knew that it offered way more, especially those underrated locations such as Buntod reef marine sanctuary, Tinigban beach and Gato island in Aroroy, the baby sharks of Halea resort in Monreal, Sombrero island in Claveria, Bituon beach in Mobo, Catandayagan falls in Ticao island to name a few.
Since we didn’t have the luxury of time, we narrowed down our itinerary to only a couple of doable items namely Masbate city proper and Buntod reef marine sanctuary. They’re not far apart from each other. So, we ditched the remaining prospects and settled with our two final choices.
On our first day, we hastily explored Masbate city on foot. Highlights were the man and horse statue in the middle of a road crossing, Masbate Social Center, Masbate Cathedral (Parish of St. Anthony of Padua), Masbate sea port (where we purchased Nomer’s beef tapa in an adjacent department store), ordered abalone from a major exporter, finally we dropped by the public market where we bought a kilo of shrimps.
We returned to Sampaguita Inn and handed our grocery items to the lady cook. Cooking service fee is only P50. While waiting for our dinner to be served, we contacted Mr. Cokie Medina to reserve a pump boat for us the following morning.
The alarm went off at around 8 AM. We left of our room and ordered Tapsilog and coffee for breakfast. It gave us the boost we needed to get our metaphorical engines running. It was easy to hail a tricycle – usually yellow in color – bound for Rendezvous hotel. The fare going there was just P8. Along the way, we spotted a mini fish market. We asked our driver to make a quick stop, so we could buy something. We ended up paying for two kilos worth of fish meat, sea urchin gonads and other stuff.
As soon as we entered the premises of Rendezvous hotel, we were greeted by a tall figure – Mr. Cokie Medina, the owner. He then called up our boatmen to fetch us. The minimum fare of our round trip boat transfers amounted to a total of P500. We paused for a bit and queried them as to how much it would cost us to include Catandayagan falls later on.They said an additional of “P1,500″ would do. We just hinted at them that we’re interested.
Buntod reef marine sanctuary was both fun and educational. As avid snorkelers, we dove straight into the crystal clear waters by the sandbar. There were mangrove trees jutting out of the powdery white sand. With the help of a tour guide, we were able to scope out the key areas of the 350 hectare reef where we encountered a thriving population of giant clams, helmet shells locally known as “Budyong” and other exotic marine species.
Hut on Stilts
Conch or Helmet Shell (Budyong)
Other Forms of Marine Life
How to Go to Masbate
- Trans Asia Shipping bound for Masbate city from Cebu (MWF), fare: P265
- Super Shuttle ferry (daily trips at around midnight, en route to Cawayanle, Masbate) while Montenegro Lines (daily trips at around midnight , en route to Cataingan, Masbate), just in case you missed the Trans Asia Shipping boat. Ride a bus in the North terminal going to Bogo (4 hours). Bus fare is around P200. Alight at the highway junction. Ride on a single motorcycle for P20 per head or a pedicab.
1.If you plan to go by air: Philippine Airlines, AirPhilExpress and Zest Air has daily flights from Manila to Masbate city.
2. If you plan to go by land / sea: From Manila, board a bus going to Pilar, Sorsogon. Pilar is the main port of Southern Luzon island and it is located just outside Sorsogon City. Ride a two-hour fastcraft to Masbate city.