Masbate is one of the archipelagic provinces in the Philippines made up of three islands – Masbate, Ticao, and Burias Island – together with smaller islands and islets. Masbate is relatively inaccessible compared to other destinations with direct flights only from Manila. Some tourists have to travel by bus and then by boat to get to Masbate. Still, this doesn’t stop people from discovering this underrated destination and appeals to those who like visiting off-the-beaten-path places. Read on and see the best things to do in Masbate, the Philippines.
Masbate is one of the provinces of the Philippines that are not easily accessible. Tourists have to ride boats to reach any of its islands. However, once you reach this obscure tropical paradise, you’ll surely find out why people come back despite the grueling trip. Fortunately, Masbate is peppered with rentals and accommodations that could give you the comfort, convenience, and safety you deserve as you explore the province. From fully furnished apartments in peaceful neighborhoods to high-end residential buildings and dreamy island resorts where you can wake up to a killer view of the sea, you can choose the one that’s right for your wonderful stay in Masbate.
Here are our top recommendations on where to stay:
1. Enjoy the sandbar of Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary
It’s hard to skip this attraction due to its beauty and accessibility - this sandbar and marine sanctuary is only a short boat ride from the capital city of Masbate. Soft sand, clear waters, and a long sandbar, Buntod has a protected mangrove where fish can safely lay their eggs. Aside from swimming, put on some snorkeling gear and spot various types of fish and colorful corals. You’ll surely spot one or two clownfish.
Website: Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary
2. Discover a hidden paradise at Palani White Beach
Your introduction to Masbate beaches has to be, of course, Palani White Beach. Hailed as the best thing to do in Masbate, it takes an hour and a half from Masbate City to get to the beach proper. This 10-kilometer (6.2 mile) beach is situated in the town of Balud, on the eastern coast of Masbate Island. Slowly, resorts and other tourist infrastructure are being built. Intrepid travelers who have seen numerous beaches in the Philippines claim that Palani White Beach is a secret paradise with crystal clear waters and powdery sands. The best part of this beach is its stunning sunset.
3. Wander around the city
Travelers who are based in the capital city can take some downtime acquainting with the local scene. Masbate remains a developing province in the Philippines and spending time even at its capital provides a glimpse of small-town life. Stroll around the streets, passing by key buildings like the capitol, ancestral buildings, and Masbate Cathedral.
4. Wild wild west with Rodeo Festival
If there is something that draws a large volume of tourists to Masbate, it would be its Rodeo Festival. The charm of Masbate, is although it is gifted with beaches, it also has rolling hills providing great pastures for farm animals like cows. During the Rodeo Festival, you can enjoy the festivities and watch activities like Barn Dance or the heart-pumping Cattle Drive and Bull Riding.
Website: Rodeo Festival
5. Be a cowgirl and cowboy for a day
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Horse riding for about 2 hours just to find the whole herd over the hills.Posted by SESE Brahmans on Saturday, October 29, 2016
Post festival or when visiting Masbate on a different date, visitors can still enjoy the wild wild west thing. Sese Brahman’s Ranch offers tours, where guests get to know the day-to-day operations in a ranch. Real cowgirls and cowboys act as guides, taking guests to the hills and pastures where the Brahman cows graze, and teach about other animals like horses. Part of the tour also lets guests see various activities like branding and trailing. Before leaving, learn the skill of lasso.
Sese Brahman's Ranch
Address: San Juan, Mandaon, Masbate
Price: from 4 USD
Duration: around half-day.
Contact: +63 0565882263
Facebook: Sese Brahman’s Ranch
6. Aroroy Lighthouse
Set on the hill in Bagui Point, an hour and a half from Masbate is Aroroy Lighthouse. Located in the northern part of Masbate Island, this centuries-old lighthouse is one of the many lighthouses built during the Spanish colonial era but this particular lighthouse was constructed in 1896, the year when the Filipinos began their revolution against their Spanish colonizers. Thus it took some years for it to be functional – during the American Occupation in the country. The lighthouse bears similarity to other Spanish-era lighthouses in the Philippines. Rustic, this is one historical structure to visit without the crowd.
7. Feel like a castaway at Burias Island
Another island composing Masbate Province is Burias Island. Though Masbate Island is more developed that Burias, this island excels more when it comes to unspoiled beaches and smaller islands. A must-do while in Burias is to visit its sister islands, like the sandbar of Tinalisayan, the turtle reserve of Sombrero Island and the outstanding rock formations in Animasola Island. In the town of San Pascual is a family where 80,000 swiftlet birds form a colony in their residence. Visitors can enjoy freshly cooked birds nest soup here. With no tourist infrastructures, Burias Island only relies on its natural wonders to lure visitors to its virgin coasts.
8. Relish the solitude at Ticao Island
Completing the province is the island of Ticao. Just like Burias, there are only limited tourist establishments, save for budget accommodations and diners. However, Ticao is home to Manta Bowl, where divers can freely swim with Manta Rays. This is the reason why international divers flock to Ticao, to experience this one-of-a-kind dive. In Ticao, whale sharks as well as sharks can be spotted. This Masbate tourist spot is also home to secluded beaches, Halea National Park, and the famous Catandayagan Falls.
9. Have the best adventure at Halea Nature Park
Masbate’s pride and one of the main attractions in Ticao Island is Halea Nature Park. It is beautiful beyond words. Crystal clear waters with fish of different types and colors, which fill its shores and coves, soft sand and lush vegetation, complete with colorful flowers. The result is a paradise that you are tempted not to tell everyone about and just keep to yourself. Enjoy swimming or various activities from kayaking to snorkeling. With its rich underwater life, never forget to bring an underwater camera.
10. Be amazed by Catandayagan Falls
Falls naturally attract travelers with their cold water, giving the perfect remedy to the humid weather in the Philippines. But Masbate’s Catandayagan Falls in the Philippines is far more unique, as this 60-foot (18 meter) falls pours its water into the sea. The contrasting and unlikely sight make it one of the most dramatic scenes out of all Masbate tourist attractions. Swim around the falls or be brave enough to check out the cave beside it.
11. Taste local cuisine
Get to know Masbate more with its food. Feast on fresh seafood while in Masbate, as well as beef tapa (fried marinated beef strips, akin to beef jerky). Unlike other places in the Philippines, Masbate produces cheese and can be bought during weekend markets. Top delicacies are their version of pastillas (pill-shaped milk candies) using carabao milk, their own version of peanut brittle and molido (milled sweet potato mixed with crushed pili nuts) and coconut bits.
12. Spot the bats inside Bat-ongan Cave
Apart from the secluded beaches, another elusive destination in Masbate is, perhaps, Mandaon town’s Bat-ongan Cave. We wouldn’t really describe it as a popular spot, although that is exactly why Masbate is so appealing in general. Bat-ongan Cave is usually frequented during Holy Week by those who seek solitude, peace, and reflection. If that is what you’re after, you should definitely explore the cave. That’s not to say that Bat-ongan Cave isn’t also ideal for group travelers, because it very much is. Adventures and memories are always better when shared with other people!
Address: Mandaon, Masbate
13. Go hiking at Mayong Payong Mountain Peak Park
Mayong Payong Mountain Peak Park is an ecological park in Masbate’s town of Mobo. It takes a little bit of work to get to the park, but the boundless and almost otherworldly view that awaits will definitely make up for that. You may be going to Masbate for its beaches to cool off, but if you’re also planning to visit this park, it is highly recommended to pack a jacket or bring some sort of blanket as it gets ridiculously chilly at times. Last but not least, don’t forget your camera! You’re not going to want to forget such a view.
Mayong Payong Mountain Peak Park
Address: Mobo, Masbate
Website: Mayong Payong Mountain Peak Park
14. Take a stroll and spot the birds at Pawa Mangrove Nature Park
In case it isn’t already obvious, if Masbate is known for simply one thing, it has got to be its natural beauty. Joining the list of what makes Masbate thrive in that department is Pawa Mangrove Nature Park. Located in Barangay Pawa, the mangrove park is the largest of its kind in Masbate City, spread out at around 300 hectares (741.3 acres). A 1.3-kilometer (0.80-mile) bamboo footbridge was built through parts of the mangrove sanctuary, allowing visitors to truly appreciate the importance of sustaining biodiversity. Touring Pawa Mangrove Nature Park is also a great way to educate yourself on environmental conservation.
Pawa Mangrove Nature Park
Address: Brgy. Pawa, Masbate City
15. Climb the top of Busay de Gracia Waterfalls
Can’t get enough of beautiful Masbate? Check out Busay de Gracia Waterfalls in the municipality of Baleno! The cliff isn’t just one giant rock like some waterfalls are, so the water doesn’t rapidly fall in only one direction. Busay de Gracia’s cliff is angled like terraces, which lets the water cascade gracefully to the bottom. This also makes the cliff easy to climb for some people - now that’s a challenging but welcome adventure. Safety always comes first, so take precautions and let someone know that you plan to take on the challenge!
Busay de Gracia Waterfalls
Address: Baleno, Masbate
16. Eat famous Filipino silog meals at Lawudnon
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Surely, after an entire day of swimming in the beaches or hiking the trails and cliffs of Masbate, you’re going to be famished. Lawudnon is a well-known bar and “tapsilog” place in Masbate. The original word for tapsilog is simply “silog”, which is a portmanteau of sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg). The prefix “tap” stands for tapa (cured beef) and varies from time to time. The best thing about silog is that you can pair it with just about any food, say, longganisa, the Filipino version of sausage. That makes your silog, longsilog! Head on to Lawudnon, eat, and learn about all the silogs in existence!
Lawudnon Bar and Tapsilogan
Address: Jesse Robredo Extension, Brgy. Ibingay, Masbate, Philippines 5400
Website: Lawudnon Bar and Tapsilogan
Those who want to experience authentic travel by detaching from modern conveniences should think about visiting these Masbate tourist destinations. Various vacation spots in the Philippines seem to have lost their paradise appeal with commercialization and for those who want to experience being a castaway and find tourist-free beaches, it is worth the visit. What this province offers is nothing but real natural wonders and beauty of its land, sea, and people.
Frequently asked questions about things to do in Masbate, Philippines
What are the best attractions to visit in Masbate?
Masbate, while not as popular as other tourist destinations in the Philippines, has countless things to offer its visitors. Make sure to spend a day (or days!) of relaxation at the pristine Palani White Beach. The undisturbed Ticao Island is another excellent place to visit in Masbate.
What are the best outdoor activities in Masbate?
In truth, the appeal of Masbate is basically all outdoors! It is a goldmine of natural resources. Go swimming at Catandayagan Falls or snorkeling at the sandbars of Burias Island and Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary. For a more relaxed outdoor activity, walk through the lush mangroves of Pawa Mangrove Nature Park.
What are the most popular things to do in Masbate with kids and family?
Masbate welcomes all kinds of travellers; many of its attractions are family-friendly! Take your loved ones to Aroroy Lighthouse for an educational experience. Kayaking or snorkeling at Halea Nature Park is another great way to keep your family entertained and well-bonded during your stay.
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