First things first, Masbate is not in Mindanao. It’s part of the Bicol region, at the southern tip of Luzon near the Visayas. They speak a mix of Bisaya, Hiligaynon and Bikol, which they call Bisakol. For comfort and convenience, take a direct flight. PAL now offers flights from Manila to Masbate and vice versa. In the city, it seems as though one can get around via tricycles and jeepneys. But if you plan to venture out of the city—which you’re bound to do once you’re already there—make sure you get a rental van and a map. Mobile service might be spotty.
1. Catch the sunrise
Nothing like a slow town to help you get in tune with nature’s rhythm. Turn in at 10 and rise with the sun. Trust me, you won’t regret the view.
2. Go island hopping
What’s better than hitting the beach? That’s right—hitting 5 beaches, each with its own charm and beauty, all in 1 day! Choose to steer clear of the open sea and your ride will be unbelievably smooth.
SB tip: If the water is as smooth as a sheet of fabric, watch out for ripples as if someone threw a skipping stone. Flying fish = Boomerang action.
3. Visit Catandayagan Falls, San Jacinto
It’s a river that falls directly into the sea, creating a body of brackish water. Remember, safety first. We were advised not to swim here without life vests.
SB tip: Our guide says you can go trekking on the other side of the island where you get to see the river before it drops into the sea.
4. Rock on at Burubancaso, Monreal
This place has amazing rock formations occasionally interrupted by sprawling greenery. Definitely Instagram OOTD gold.
5. Observe daily life
Other islands differ—from having all vegetation and no people to housing a small rural community by the coastline.
You’ll also see fishermen venture in nothing more than bangka.
6. See a cowboy
If you’re looking to channel Isabel Marant, look no further than the city’s annual rodeo festival in April. Preparations go as early as 45 days before the event and locals wear their provincial costume every Friday.
6. Go green
There are three sides to Masbate—the blue, the green, and the sandy hues that were ever so present on Fall 2016 runways.
This view can be seen from the Zigzad Road, Milagros.
SB tip: Be sure to pack Bonamine. Maximum dosage is one 25 mg tablet every 8 hours.
7. Watch the hills come alive at Fazenda de Esperança, Milagros
This place also has an amazing view of a mountain that looks like it could’ve come from a milk commercial shot in pretend New Zealand. Be sure to sample their carabao milk, which the community prepares.
8. Expand your worldview
Constantly daring yourself to step outside of your comfort zone will push you to discover new sides of yourself you didn’t know were there. And isn’t that the whole point of travel?
Our parting tidbit: Book a stay at Altamar. Proper accommodations are a non-negotiable in any Preview girl’s book and Altamar’s villas and guest rooms seem to fit the bill. Feel like a VIP as you dock onto its own port.
After all that’s said and done, don’t forget to check out the clear water before stepping off the boat. TDF!
Photos by Pat Nabong