Traveling to different destinations here in the Philippines has their own distinct ‘character’. Having been to several places there will always be one (or two, maybe more) significant destination that will capture your heart. And for this particular journey it was that kind of trip that captured my heart. Unearthing the beauty of Masbate was one of the best discoveries from my travels in the Philippines so far.
Masbate is surrounded by sea and has 3 main islands, Masbate, Ticao and Burias. See photo below for a short trivia about this place.
Ms. Maloli Espinosa invited me along with other Media group from different publications to visit Masbate. After our breakfast at the Espinosa Residence, we were then toured to the Cagay Falls. The most challenging falls I’ve ever been to. I sweat buckets and my group sure knows that. It may have been difficult but I didn’t complain.We were told that we were the first ones to ever step foot in the falls. I wasn’t able to take photos of how challenging it was because I was afraid for my camera. Better safe than sorry. And as we arrived, it wasn’t something that ‘wowed me’. Sadly.
The easy path going to the falls
After trekking, we went to the Barangay Captain’s home to refresh ourselves with a drink of Buko. They had cute little piglets, chickens and a dog.
Our tour guide told us that we will be having our lunch at Pawa a fish sanctuary where all you can hear are the children playing and the breeze of the wind. It was truly relaxing.
Our next itinerary was the Sandbar Beach (Buntod Reef), surrounded by blue sea and at the far end a mangrove.
The Buntod Reef was a crowd fave because of its simple splendor untouched by ‘technology’. It’s the perfect place to unwind and de stress. You can stay and swim with the family for free and only pay for the rental of boat. If you plan to visit, make sure you bring your own equipment’s.
Our second day, we were then joined by Mr. Cito Beltran. I’m sure most of my group wasn’t ‘excited’ as I was. Well, admittedly I’m a huge fan. Of course, I didn’t want to be the crazy fan asking for an autograph and photo op. I had to act ‘professional’. I used to watch his shows on ANC and also he was one of the Mcee’s on the Go Negosyo seminar way back in my college days. Before leaving I asked for a photo op with my group.
L-R: Wilson Flores (Columnist, Philippine Star), Dennis Ladaw (Section Editor – Home and Garden, Manila Bulletin), Sharolyn (Ms. Maloli’s overall secretary), Oliver Quingco (Photographer, Manila Bulletin and Art Curator – Transwing Art Gallery) and a Cowboy relative of Maloli (will update the name).
Our first Ranch tour was at Judge Manuel Sese’s home. Truly, Marlboro country. A herd of cattles and some horses overlooking the hills where you can see both sunset and sunrise.
Our tour guide for the day, Butch.
Judge Manuel Sese
Photo credit: Oliver Quingco
Our second destination was at Edwin Du’s Ranch. They showed us how to lasso and take down cattles. He shared with us his experiences on taking care of herds and tips on buying cattles too. Before the trip, I already had the notion of handling animals ‘cowboy style’ and so I won’t get into details to what I’ve seen. A cowboy’s life is definitely not for me. I have a soft spot for animals. If anything, it sure wasn’t easy.
We then drove to Fazenda de Esperanza, a Rehab center for addiction in various forms (Drugs, Computer games and Cheese Whiz – haha, just kidding). The Fazenda is not the typical rehab center that you would find here in Manila. Patients are free to wonder and do labor as their ‘therapy’. It is run by Brazilian nuns and supervised by Ronald, a German who speaks fluent Tagalog. Roland said ‘they have a 80% success rate (average) for those under therapy and they live normal lives after’.
The Cattle house is where milk is harvested. We had a lot of fun feeding the cows, seeing how they ‘milk them, to tasting fresh pasteurized milk. The cows are super docile and friendly.
Photo credit: Oliver Quingco
Fresh flavored milk – Chocolate, Melon, Strawberry, Ube and Plain
After visiting different houses, we went back to our hotel to freshen up and get ready for our dinner with the whole group (Masbate Association of Hotels, Resorts, Restaurants and Tour Operators) at the Restaurant / Event Place at Punta Terraza. No photos though as the place was dimly lit. After dinner, we were brought to a relative’s restaurant named ‘Bialetti’. I wanted to order coffee but was curious about their Berry smoothie.
Bialetti is a small place that serves what you would find in typical coffee houses here in Manila.
Nothing special about this drink but at least refreshing on a warm night. It was getting late already and we decided to call it a night. Well, the girls did (Sharon and I) I heard the boys had a few beers before heading home. We woke up early, all geared up for our return to Manila. Only to find out our flight was officially cancelled. Zest Air people sure handled the situation poorly and instead of being apologetic, they were so arrogant.
Cito Beltran was right, tourists will come back and we sure did (literally). Ms. Maloli offered us breakfast first and then joined Cito to the fish farm, snake island and Buntod reef, Sabungan for lunch and Mr. Choy Gozum’s garden.
I didn’t care going in the cave as I’m super DUPER squeamish when it comes to snakes. Photo credit to Oliver Quingco (thank you).
Mr. Choy Gozum’s garden / home was simply beautiful. It wasn’t fully ‘made’ yet but his house and bathrooms were so pretty.
I love his dog named Manolo. It’s the first time for me to see a dog smile every time you call him.
Dennis Ladaw – Section Editor of Home and Garden, Manila Bulletin with Manolo.
Mr. Choy Gozum (lived in the US for 25 years and came back home to his roots to retire)
It won’t be fair for me to summarize my trip to Masbate just yet. However, from what I’ve seen, Masbate is that rare flower waiting to be discovered. Whatever people say or impression people have, I always look at the brighter side and believe that slowly Masbate will be known for, not just their Rodeo festivals, but the beauty they have to offer to us locals and foreign tourists.
Thoughts? Comment away~