Masbate is an island province in the Philippines blessed with outstanding natural tourist spots and renowned festivals. The province is coined as the “Rodeo Capital of the Philippines” for its yearly Rodeo Festival and “Manta Ray Capital of the County” for its surreal Manta Bowl in Ticao Island which are the major draws in tourism of the province. Moreover, the great views of rolling green hills, unspoiled islands, beautiful sandbars and kilometers long stretch of white sand palm-fringed beaches make visitors book a longer stay.
The province of Masbate belongs to Bicol Region of Luzon and an archipelago of 3 major islands: Masbate, Ticao and Burias Islands. It is surrounded by Burias Pass and Ticao Pass (north), San Bernadino Strait (east), Visayan Sea (south) and Sibuyan Sea (west). Over 890,000 total residents of the province speak in Masbateño, Bicolano, Cebuano, Tagalog and English languages. Masbate City in Masbate Island is its capital city.
If you are interested in traveling to the province known as the land of fascinating natural wonders, below are the best tourist spots in Masbate you should visit.
1. Buntod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary
Butod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary is one of the best tourist spots in Masbate, a 250-hectare reef and marine sanctuary off the coasts of the capital city. The main attractions of the sanctuary is its iconic sandbar and planted mangroves. This site is a famous picnic ground in the province where kiosks can be found for some shades. The thick and long stretch of sandbar is surrounded with clear and calm waters teeming with corals and marine life such as giant clams good for swimming and snorkeling. It can be reached through a 20-minute boat ride from the wharf at the Rendezvous Hotel.
Butod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary is located in Masbate City, Masbate.
2. Palani White Beach
Palani White Beach is considered as the most famous white beach in the province of Masbate. It is a 10-kilometer long stretch of white sand beach dotted with coconut trees and few nipa huts in a secluded cove on the southwestern coasts of the town of Balud. The vast expanse and long stretch of white sand beach is very ideal for beach sports such as beach volleyball and Frisbee. It’s gradually sloping seafront and calm waters where visitors can scale down the comfortable depth is perfect for swimming. There is a resort in the area with nature friendly facility designs where visitors can stay.
Palani White Beach is situated in Balud, Masbate Island, Masbate.
3. Animasola Island
Animasola Island is one of the most popular tourist spots in Masbate, a stunning island of beautiful rock formations. The island is largely composed of fascinating layers of sedimentary rocks forming parallel lines that most visitors described as an old torn book dropped from the sky. As imaginative as visitors can be, there are several notable spots in the island like the small lagoon with a rock at its center, mermaid’s lair and a remarkable naturally sculptured detached rock formation on the eastern side of the island. It is possible to climb atop the rock formation but ask for the guide’s assistance.
Animasola Island is located in San Pascual, Burias Island, Masbate.
4. Tinalisayan Island
Tinalisayan Island is another beautiful natural attraction in Masbate situated off the east coasts of Burias Island. The main attraction of the island is its beautiful long stretch of sandbar and crystal clear turquoise waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Moreover, the island is surrounded with stretches of white sand beach mixed with corals, rock formations, groups of slate rocks for those who are fond of rock balancing art and several trees at its center. For a splendid view, visitors can trek atop the noticeable rocky hill overlooking the sandbar and sea horizon.
Tinalisayan Island is situated in San Pascual, Burias Island, Masbate.
5. Sombrero Island
Sombrero Island is one of the most visited tourist spots in Masbate, a part of island hopping tour in Burias Island along with Animasola Island and Tinalisayan Island. The island is actually composed of two small islands separated with a short stretch of seawater wherein one island has a vast expanse and long stretch of white sand, a sandbar, and a resort with native cottages. Meanwhile, the other one is an iconic island that looks like a hat with small stretches of white beach, several rock formations and waters teeming with marine life. Among the 3 islands, this is the only island visitors can stay.
Sombrero Island is located in San Pascual, Burias Island, Masbate.
6. Porta Vega Beach
Porta Vega Beach is another famous beach in the mainland of Masbate Island. The beach is a favorite weekend getaway destination among the locals and foreign tourists in the province for its vast expanse and very long stretch of white sand beach with crystalline waters. Two of the many reasons why it distinguished itself among others, one is that it has interesting arrays of Dwarf Coconut Trees on the vast expanse sand of the shoreline and the other is the small dome-shaped church on the beach with paintings, images and Latin words around. It can be reached via 30-minute boat ride from the pier.
Porta Vega Beach is situated in Dimasalang, Masbate Island, Masbate.
7. Pawa Mangrove Park
Pawa Mangrove Park is one of the known tourist spots in Masbate featuring a 300-hectare of Mangrove Plantation and a 1.3-kilometer long wooden bridge with sidewalk wooden kiosks spanning a body of seawater. This is an ideal destination for nature lovers as well as birdwatchers especially during low tide when wild birds are feeding on mudflats. Due to the course of time and typhoons, some parts of the boardwalk was already destroyed and in bad shape. Hope the government can bring this place back to its former glory.
Pawa Mangrove Park is located in Masbate City, Masbate.
8. Catandayagan Falls
Catandayagan Falls is a phenomenal waterfalls in Masbate which is one of the island hopping destinations in Ticao Island. The waterfall is perched on the western side of Tical Island which is a very rare sight to behold wherein the water from the top of a steep cliff cascades directly into the sea about 60 feet high. It is possible to go near the falls and swim in its refreshing waters with the local tour guide’s permission. During summer, expect small volume of cascading waters but during rainy seasons, it’s at its full glory. The waterfalls can be reached via 1 hour boat ride from Masbate City.
Catandayagan Falls is situated in Monreal, Ticao Island, Masbate.
9. Manta Bowl
Manta Bowl is one of the very best tourist spots in Masbate, a dive site off the coasts of Ticao Island. There are several recognized dive sites in Ticao Island but the world-renowned one is the Manta Bowl which lies in rich-plankton waters of Ticao Pass, the feeding station of Manta Rays and dubbed as the “Manta Ray Capital of the Philippines“. Moreover, whale sharks occasionally pass though this site due to its proximity to Donson, Sorsogon. If you want to experience scuba diving in Ticao Island, arrange your visit in Ticao Island Resort, the premier and accredited dive center of Masbate.
Manta Bowl is located in Ticao Island, Masbate.
10. Halea Nature Park
Aside from Catandayagan Falls and Manta Bowl, Halea Nature Park is among the best tourist spots in the province of Masbate situated in Ticao Island. It is an astonishing secluded destination featuring a small stretch of white sand beach, crystal clear waters teeming with fishes and corals, rock formations and greenery. Swimming and snorkeling in the beach are ideal things to do but a short trek on the rock formations is an interesting stone cliff where visitors do cliff diving. It has crystal clear and deep waters but safety practices are highly advised since the stone cliffs have some sharp edges.
Halea Nature Park is situated in Monreal, Ticao Island, Masbate.