Like an Indian arrowhead, Masbate lies almost at the center of the Philippines archipelago with its tip pointing towards the north of Asid Gulf extending towards the China sea. The island province sprawls with verdant rolling hills and green landscape and rich aquatic reserve.
The wild wild west of comes alive in the island every year. Every May, the country’s local cowboys flock to the capital town of Masbate to display their power over untamed cattles during its festival called Rodeo Filipino. In this international fair, the arena burst with fun excitement and shouting.
Masbate is flourishing island, island-province. Its three islands (Ticao, Burias, and Masbate) is bounded with clean and fine beaches. Its sea waters abound with exotic fishes, corals and many other marine life.
Its mainland takes pride of underground rivers, unexplored caves and green landscape.
Masbate’s seaport can accommodate large vessels plying the islands of Luzon and Mindanao.
It is said that a simple misunderstanding gave the province its name. When the Spanish came to the island in 1569, they found a couple making chocolate from cacao. When the visitors asked them the name of the place, the couple thought the former wanted to know what they were doing and answered "Mas bati" meaning to mix vigorously. The chroniclers in the expedition recorded " Masbate " as the name of the island.
Masbate was orginally a part of Albay. In 1846, it was made into a separate comandancia politico-militar.
When the Philippine Republic was declared in June 1898, General Justo Lucban went to Masbate to take control of the island from the Spaniards. A military government was established with Vicente Triviviño as governor until the American organized Masbate as a province in 1901, but made it a sub-province of Sorsogon in 1905. Finally, on December 15, 1920 was Masbate an independent province.
The province is a melting potr of dialects and cultures. The people of the capital town speak Masbateño with a mixture of Bicolano, in the southeastern towns they speak Waray or Cebuano, in the west, Ilonggo or Capiceno. Bicolano is the dominant dialect in Burias.
Commerce and Industry
Masbate ranks second only to Bukidnon in raising cattle. Abouth 70% of these are sold to Metro Manila and other provinces in Luzon.Farming is the main source of livelihood. Copra is the leading product, followed by corn, rice and rootcrops. Fishing is a major industry along the coast. The province is one of the richest in the country in terms of mineral resources that include copper, silver, iron, manganese and chromite. Manufacturing firms are in the copra indsutry, handicrafts, furnituremaking and fish processing.
The provincial capital, Masbate , is an unprepossessing town situated on a picturesque bay.
About a kilometer away from the Capital is Matangtubig Spring whose cool water comes out of three rocks and is surrounded by giant trees and lush vegetations.
In the next town of Mobo are Dacu and Bituon beaches, the former a favorite site for weekend picinics ant the latter, so-called because of the many stars lightning it on clear nights.
Batongan Cave in the western town of Mandaon has three openings: one at the base leading to two stones naturally shaped like an altar and a pulpit, another at the center, and the last on top. Abouth 120 meter away from the cave is an underground river.
Ticao Island boasts of two sceninc waterfalls in Monreal town: The Tagoron Falls cascade down cliffs from a height of 18 meters into the sea and Catandayagan Falls is considered one of the most beautiful in the province; its high, single tier is surrounded by lush vegtation, wild animals and exotic flowers. Burias Island cliffs and broad promontories on its east coast. San Pascual town has a church built in 1563 while Claveria has fine white beaches and amazig rock formations.
How to get there...
Bicol is served by three airlines: Philippine Airlines(PAL), the nation's flag carrier, Air Philippines and Asian Spirit. PAL flies to Legaspi City only; Air Philippines serves Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Masbate; and Asian Spirit flies to Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Masbate.
By Land Major bus companies offering accomodation ply the Manila to Bicol-Visayas-Mindanao route, passing through picturesque roads via the Pan-Philippine Highway. Terminals are located at Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City, Pedro Gil St., Manila and EDSA, Pasay City. Bicol is also served by the Philippine National Railway, the only railway in the country, plying daily from Manila up to Legaspi City,Albay.
By Sea Shipping lines offer regular trips to the region's major port of entry from Manila to the island-province of Masbate and to the province..