Wednesday, May 21, 2014

10 favorite memories in Masbate




A college friend introduced me to the sweet carmelado from Masbate, a local version of pastillas de leche which is made from carabao milk and sugar. This delicacy, wrapped in a thin white paper, got me at first bite, and I promised myself to horde as much carmelados I could afford if given the chance to visit Masbate someday.

Fast forward to a few years after, I visited Masbate’s capital, Masbate City, as I was completing my 80 before 30 challenge. Of course, carmelado was included in the order of business.

Masbate is a first-class province located in Bicol Region. It is composed of three major islands– Masbate, Ticao, Burias—and the capital is the City of Masbate. As an island province, it’s endowed with rich marine life in which many people in the coastal areas engage in fishing as their main source of income. Agriculture, such as livestock, raising cattle, and farming also contribute to the local coffer.

Although known as the Rodeo Capital of the Philippines with the Rodeo Masbateno Festival, held annually in April, this province’s laid-back and natural allure remains overlooked by many tourists. Besides the caucasian guy, it seemed like my friends (Kidd and Janet) and I were the only tourists who boarded the boat bound for Masbate City.

I've visited Masbate twice already. Albeit unplanned and fast-paced on both occasions—only seeing a few tourist spots in the city, I felt this province deserves another visit with a much longer stay. The other two islands—Burais and Ticao—need to be explored. I've heard so much about the awesome manta ray dive encounters in Ticao, and I still hope to experience it someday. Also, I missed the boat going to Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary so this popular tourist spot had to be parked, at least, for now.

For the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of the wonderful memories I've collected during my quick stay in Masbate:

Children at the Park. There’s a park across the Provincial Capitol Building where we stayed a bit. I remember there were school kids who gamely posed in front my camera. The all looked so happy; I consider it one of my favorite photos while on the road.


My friends’ wedding. Jerome and Lynnete's wedding at GoldBeach Resort was lovely! Making lifetime vows while the sun settles into the calm afternoon sea could possibly be one of the most romantic ways to start a married life.


Morning Mangrove Walk.  Not so many tourists go to Pawa Mangrove Park maybe because there’s really nothing much to see there but a wide expanse of mangrove forest. Interestingly, besides the benefits it serve to the local marine life, for me, it’s a great place to enjoy a thrilling 1.3 km walk on a foot bridge made of bamboo. Although we didn't get to finish the entire stretch since the board walk looked like it was ready collapse at any time, the view of the green forest was good enough for me. We hiked back to the main road on muddy feet.




Sunset. A serene sunset followed as the fastcraft waded through the seas going to Masbate City. Then, the beautiful burst of colors welcomed us the moment we stepped in the port of Masbate.




Sunrise. About 45 minutes from the city proper, we hailed a trike to take us to Bituon Beach Resort at the town of Mobo. We got in at the resort just in time for a nice sunrise and a warm morning walk along the beach.




Visiting Masbate Cathedral (Parish of St. Anthony de Padua). Majority of Masbatenos are Catholics so I wasn't surprised to see a huge cathedral standing tall in the middle of the city.  This church is the center of the Diocese of Masbate where devotional practices are held.





Late night coffee. I’ve observed that there’s not much night life in the city while we were there. But luckily we chanced up a small cafĂ© serving a good cup of latte and conducive to late night talks with friends.



A quick stop at the Coastal Resource Management Interpretative Center. Although this hub looked like a place rarely visited by tourists and even by locals, I got in there a tiny bit of Masbate’s history and learned the CRM programs of the local government. If you get to Masbate, you may drop by and  see the items and collections displayed there.



Stop at Rodeo Arena. We got there ahead of the Rodeo festival so we saw a muted arena. I could only imagine how rowdy and crowded the place must be when it’s rodeo season. 




Of course, the carmelado. A trip in Masbate is not complete without trying  or taking home this sweet local treat. :)


The Provincial Capitol Building

How to get to Masbate:
  
By Air:
The fastest and more convenient way to reach Masbate is by taking flights from some of the country's major airlines like PAL Express and Cebu Pacific.


By Land

From Manila, take a bus going to Pilar, Sorsogon. From there, RORO ship and fastcraft can take you for two hours and fifteen minutes or motorized boat for a three-hour ride to Masbate City.

Montenegro Schedule:

Pilar to Masbate
1st trip - 8 am
2nd trip- 12 nn
last trip- 4pm

Masbate to Pilar
1st trip - 5:30am
2nd trip- 8am
last trip - 12nn

Fare rates

Regular - P396
Student- P357
Senior citizen - P317
Half fare (4-7y/o)- P198

*Thanks to Je and Nette for the wedding pics. :)

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This post is my entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for May 2014 titled “Luzon Lavapalooza”, hosted by Mervin of Pinoy Adventurista.

Visit Estan Cabigas' Langyaw.com to see the archive of Pinoy Travel Bloggers' Blog Carnival.

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