At one of the ranches in San Pascual
At one of the ranches in San Pascual

I was enjoying lying on the bow of the large outrigger boat coming from Pasacao Port in Camarines Sur to our destination of San Pascual in Burias Island, Masbate. I wanted to enjoy the fresh sea air and not be bounded inside the tarp-covered windows of the shaded boat seats behind me. The splash from the ride didn’t reach the bow that much so I enjoyed the sea view and conversation from the local guide in the area. Suddenly there was a rustle of activity that led me to see what was happening. We were approaching the Burias Island already and just in time when the afternoon light came in, spreading its golden hue over the high cliffs bounding the bay where the municipality of San Pascual is nestled in.

Arriving at the port of San Pascual
Arriving at the port of San Pascual

San Pascual Masbate

I’ve heard and read good things about Masbate but never really found time to explore the place. Cowboys, cowgirls, Marlboro country and manta rays were my idea of Masbate. My trip to San Pascual to cover their Isla Rancho festival (which happens every 2nd week of May) this year gave me opportunity to discover the attractions on this part of the province. San Pascual is at the northern part of Burias Island, one of the three major islands of the province aside from Masbate island proper and Ticao Island.

San Pascual is located 27 nautical miles from Pasacao, Camarines Sur. It’s about 2 hours boat ride, making Burias Island probably the most accessible of the three islands coming from Manila or Naga City. There are 22 barangays scattered along the 24,632 hectares of craggy hills and open plains. The main livelihood of the region are livestocks, fishing, copra and corn production. Tourism is a fairly new endeavour the municipality is getting into. Though the infrastructure is still somewhat limited, the potential of developing the place is no doubt abundant. The beauty of going there now is there’s still little tourist in the area so you could enjoy the following things and discover San Pascual yourself.

Sunset at Busing Island
Sunset at Busing Island

1 Go Island Hopping

With 122.3 km coastline and a fishing ground of 168,000 hectares, San Pascual has exuberant marine life enough for both local livelihood and preservation for tourism appreciation. Five islands all boasting with crystal waters can be explored: Tinalisayan Islet (1.5 nautical miles) has a short but fine white sand beach and a rustic scenic hill in overlooking the 80-meter long sandbar nearby. The large Busing Island (1.7 nautical miles) is a large island protecting the San Pascual Bay has its share of winding white sand beaches. Be mesmerized by Animasola Island (2.1 nautical miles) rock formations weathered by time and the elements. Spend a night or more at the native but comfy accommodations of the twin Sombrero Islands (4.5 nautical miles) and enjoy the natural white crushed coral beach and observe local fishers on their daily chores. The farthest Dapa Island (5.3 nautical miles) is said to have a cave home to a number of sea snakes.

Sunrise on a hill at Tinalisayan Islet overlooking the sandbar
Sunrise on a hill at Tinalisayan Islet overlooking the sandbar
Rock formations at Animasola Island
Rock formations at Animasola Island
A cottage at Sombrero Island
A cottage at Sombrero Island

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