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Ticao Island: The Untouched Beauty of Masbate

ticao island

When I asked people about Masbate, I got asked in return, “Where is it located?” What are the things to see and to do? Is it part of the Visayas region? I realized that Masbate is one of the least popular and most underrated provinces in the Philippines. Good thing, I had a chance to discover this beautiful province for myself when I was invited by the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines (TPB) in their recent FAM tour in the Bicol Region.

 

Masbate was part of our Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon tour or ALMASOR. On the second edition of ALMASOR’s “Soul of the South” coffee table book, former Gov. Joey Salceda said, “The tourism alliance of ALMASOR provides an opportunity for the three provinces to look into their shared history and culture.” One day, the province of Masbate with its untouched beauty, beaches, and marine sanctuary can match and keep up with its neighboring province.

 

masbate

 

Masbate is composed of three Major Islands namely, Masbate, Burias, and Ticao. Located at the crossroads of two island groups; Luzon and Visayas, it is the only island where three major Bisayan dialects are spoken as the first language. The people also speak Masbateño or Minasbate a unique language that is partly Visayan and partly Bicolano hence the term, Bisa-Kol.

 

ticao pass

 

We had a tight schedule on our 5-day ALMASOR trip allowing us just 1 day to explore the island of Ticao. “Due to the big waves and bad weather, our approximate travel time to Ticao Island is one and half hour,” said man before we departed the port of Balan in Sorsogon. On our way to Ticao, the waves grew so large that almost everyone in our boat got wet. It was fun and exciting boat ride going to Ticao.

 

Ticao Island Resort

 

The moment we entered the cove where the nine beachfront villas of Ticao Island Resort are perfectly built in the center, shaded under hundreds of tall coconut trees. The sea became calm and peaceful. The staff from the resort warmly welcomed us with fresh coconut juice.

 

The feeling was unbelievable; a few hours ago we were facing the strong waves then now it’s totally the opposite. I was amazed to see horses walking around freely, I love their nipa-hut inspired villa. It gave the provincial ambiance and comfort that I’m looking for.

 

Coconut Juice

 

Our beach front cabana is simple and basic. It’s an air-conditioned room with 2 beds, hot and cold shower, and free toiletries. The walls are built of Banig; a traditional woven mat made in the Philippine. I also love our small veranda where you can just sit, relax, and observe how exceptional and serene Ticao Island is.

 

nipa hut

 

Ticao Island Resort

 

Ticao Island

 

Looking for Hotel in Masbate? Save extra money by clicking the Agoda link below!

 

agoda banner

 

The resort is also a dive center where you can arrange a dive tour and visit the Manta bowl, located at Ticao pass few kilometers away from the shore. It is the only place in the Philippines included among the Manta Trust’s global tourism or “Hotspot” for manta ray sightings that’s why it is dubbed as the Manta Ray Capital of the Philippines. The best time to visit is from December to May.

 

manta bowl

Photo credit to Donsol EcoTour

 

The only island where we stopped due to big waves was Halea (San Miguel) Island. It’s a white beach nature park located at the far end of Ticao Island under the municipality of Monreal. The view was refreshing, I like how undisturbed the atmosphere was.

 

Halea Island

 

As I walked around the beach I found an elevated spot where I saw how beautiful Halea island is. The color of the sea was a dazzling blue; the sand is immaculately white, and the rich green trees covering the island. All of these can be found in Masbate.

I never missed the opportunity to swim around and spot baby sharks. It sounds scary at first when our guide said that this area is home to some baby sharks but he explained that they are small and won’t attack us. They moved away too fast once they felt that we were too close.

Though there are fewer fishes within the area, iIt was my first time to be surrounded by tens if not hundreds of jellyfish. Having a bad impression on  jellyfish I almost panicked. You can’t blame me, a sea full of jellyfish is bound to strike fear since I don’t know how to identify the stingless ones.  I just swam and remained calm. This is a surreal experience. I can’t believe this close encounters with too many jellyfish.

 

 

Masbate

 

As we travel to visit some other islands our guide pointed a small community called Sitio Mababoy. When he started to share the story of the people I can’t help but be amazed. He said back then when their community doesn’t have a school and enough boats. Children need to swim to another island to go to school. They put their things inside a plastic bag so it won’t get wet and change their school uniform once they reached the other side.

 

Sitio Mababoy

 

I can’t help but compare our sacrifices and rant going to school or in the office here in Manila. We always complain about traffic or poor train system, but on this side of our country, people are facing difficulty, swimming island to island every day to study.

 

But today, there are generous and kind-hearted people who helped improve the lives of the people in Sitio Mababoy. They now have classrooms that teach students in grade school. They now have more boat that they can use to move to the nearby island. We even saw some students who are traveling back home. I can see hope from them as they waved their hands to us.

 

Sitio Mababoy

 

How can you lose your hope with our country when you can see our new generation doing their best to learn and to achieve their goal? How can you not believe the power of humanity when you know that there are people out there ready to help others? They are one of the reasons, on how the life of people of Mababoy was changed. They are one of the reasons why someday I wouldn’t be surprised if our next teachers, doctors, and lawyers were kids from this island who never got tired of swimming to study.

 

I hope their story will bring more hope to our country. I promise to revisit here someday, bring whatever help that I could bring. I’m so excited to hear and share their inspiring life stories.

 

As we travel back to our resort, I saw kids playing their handmade boats. I walked over and asked their condition. It was a joy to my ears to know that they have a small elementary school in their village. They invited me to walk around and do kayak to see mangroves but it’s too late and the sun is about to set. Nonetheless, I’m glad to play with the local kids and listen to short stories of their parents.

 

masbateno

 

We ended the day watching dances prepared by the locals living near the resort. Life here is so simple and people are happy. Regardless of having basic or less necessity in life. They are blessed living in the stress-free island of Ticao. If you want to help the community you can coordinate with Ticao island resort and inquire about their community support program. Our donation can help build tables and chairs. Our small donations can make a better change in their lives.

 

Get a discounted hotel accommodation by booking with my Agoda link below.


Note: This is a sponsored FAM Tour by Tourism Promotions Board to promote the province of Masbate. All views, posts, and opinions shared here are my own.

24 comments

  • […] Related Article [Ticao Island: The Untouched beauty of Masbate] […]

  • wow! this place is amazing. Will surely go there someday! 😀

  • Ang ganda no? Did you pass by the small city of Masbate? I used to go there. Sana maging mas maayos pa ang peace and order. Noon kasi grabe diyan. Pag maayos pa nila and assure na safe ang tourists from the ***, makakatulong ang tourism diyan, medyo mahirap lang puntahan.

  • Can’t believe I’ve lived in the Philippines for almost 7 years and still have not been to Masbate 🙁 I’ll definitely have to make a trip for 2017! Loving your photos! Can’t wait to visit this place 😀

  • Wow! beautiful landscapes , this place looks amazing I hope to visit some day.

  • It’s such a shame that I have never visited Masbate even though I grew up here in the Philippines. Soon, I’ll travel to Masbate and all over the beautiful islands and beaches of our country with my soon to be husband. 🙂 I’m also intrigued about the Agoda bookings and reservation since I haven’t tried them out yet. Is it hassle free and convenient?

    http://www.jennifersmeraki.com | jennifersmeraki@gmail.com

  • wow, I never thought Masbate is this great.. those islands somehow reminds me of those stunnin views of Coron and El Nido…but it’s the Sitio Mababoy that intrigues me the most….It just made me wonder what kind of lifestyle they have since the place they live in is quite small and surrounded by water…that reminds me of the documentary of IWitness where kids had to travel all the way to another island just to attend their schools.. it’s nice to know that there is an elementary school in their village.. thanks for sharing us your amazing journey here

  • Wow, as in wow! I didn’t know Masbate has so much to offer. I only knew Masbate as a quite scary place since they said there are rebels living there. but lo, I must be sticking to negative feedback.

  • I haven’t visited Masbate, yet. The farthest I’ve gone to is Albay. We’ve been planning for the longest time to go to Sorsogon because my mom’s from there. I’d love to go on a Almasor trip soon.

  • I’ve been to Masbate once before. We went to Burias Island. It was a beautiful, small island where people are friendly. I did have a hard time understanding what they said because they were using their dialect. And that time, we were there to evangelize by conducting Youth Camps for the teenagers in that area.

    I also remember we went on an island hopping. Enjoyed swimming in their beautiful beaches.

  • The photos are really beautiful. And I would love to see the mantas. We have a couple in the Georgia Aquarium in the States, but it’s just not the same. I would also be scared of the jellyfish though! I don’t want to get stung.

  • This looks amazing!! I really love the pictures. Great that you swam around to spot baby sharks. How weird is it to swim to another island to go to school. I can’t even imagine. Love it to have learned more about this place.

  • All I can say is WOW! This is such a lovely place. From the looks of it, it is so relaxing. I love going to places like that and mingle with locals as well

  • My mom is from Masbate so I’ve grown up hearing her speak their dialect too. She has always been boasting about their beautiful beaches, telling me about their rodeos and telling me I’ve been there when I was a child. Here I am, all grown up and was able to read about Ticao island thanks to you. It’s beautiful but the jellyfishes are scary. It’s great to know that they now have an elementary school in Sitio Mababoy.

  • Nice one Cai. Back some two decades ago, I avoided going to Masbate because of the crime. It was also the time when NPA were doing a lot of ambushes on the road from Albay to Sorsogon. Nowadays, it is much safer, but still, one has to be careful. That photo of the manta ray is breathtaking, isn’t it? In a thousand logged dives, I have seen manta ray close enough twice.

  • This is not a popular destination? It’s so hard to believe seeing those stunning beaches and golden sand. Those little houses aligned with the palm trees. I love it! I would happily choose Ticao Island as a beach vacation.

  • This looks incredible! I’ve never heard of Ticao Island, but now I must go there!

  • Goodness this place is gorgeous! I love learning about new places – than you for sharing!

  • The island looks incredible! I hadn’t heard of it before but now it’s definitely on my radar. I especially love the beach front cabana you stayed in. And the tremendous views – WOW! Great recap.

  • This was a great read! I wish I had come across your post a few months ago before my trip to the Philippines! I was really surprised when I began reading your article because I would’ve never guessed that Masbate was in the Philippines. Next time around, I’d love to explore islands that are lesser known. During my trip, I visited Cebu, El Nido, and Camiguin, but I felt like I was missing out on truly experiencing the Philippines. I’ll keep this area in mind for the next time around! Thank for the info!

  • Wow this place looks so beautiful. I love traveling to places untouched like this. When you are somewhere that isn’t crowded with tourists, you feel like you get to see and experience things that are special and unique.

  • I’ve never heard of this island but am definitely adding it to my travel list after these amazing photos!

    Jenna from http://www.visionsofvogue.com

  • Oh my! The photos are amazing! I definitely would love to visit… and see that amazing water. I love that you captured the locals also! 🙂

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