“I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” – Newton

Life is a journey around circles. I have arrived where I started.

I was once a little girl playing on the sea-shores of my hometown, unaware yet of the great ocean that was waiting for me to discover. I grew up, left my hometown and I have returned. I came back many times before this but now I am older and aware  that I went home with a set of different eyes which made me see my hometown in a different light. I came back to my little and simple hometown to celebrate my birthday with family members. It was a lot more special to celebrate it together with my older brother who has the same birthday as I do.

I can still remember the exact feeling when I had to leave town to study and pursue my bachelor’s degree. I looked back with sorrow and longing at my old room knowing that things will drastically change. Life was never the same after that. There was no going back to the way things were. I had to let go of the little world I knew and held so dear in my heart to give space to new worlds and sets of faces and experiences. Time flew fast and I knew I was never the same person I was when I came back. Exploration definitely made way to self discovery and a discovery of the world.

So at last I managed to do a little exploring of my own hometown. I was born and raised in an island province called Masbate. This province is composed of three main islands: Masbate main island, Ticao and Burias. Technically, this island province is part of the Bicol region in Luzon but our dialect leans more towards the Visayas region. This is why I identify myself more as “bisaya”.

I have been to most countries in SouthEast Asia, some countries in Europe and Americas but I have never been to Burias nor Ticao. I had to find a way to see at least one of these two. I chose Burias because I had an aunt who relocated there when she married. It was great to finally see her life there and enjoy the sights at the same time.

Masbate is still underrated when it comes to tourism because travel time from Manila by land/sea can take up to more than 16 hours and travel by air is costly. The fact that there are so many attractive and famous tourist spots around the place adds all the more to the “undesirability” of Masbate to a lot of possible visitors. I can recommend BITUON BEACH and Palani beach in the main island. The annual Rodeo Masbateño celebrated during the month of April is one of a few festivals that attract people from different parts of the Philippines.

Back to my short tour of the province, I got to cross islands from mainland to nearby Burias island.  I did not regret it. I was welcomed by a quaint little place which I have always been curious about. Life in this place is pretty simple. There are no fancy restaurants found in the city. This place is perfect for people who love to backpack or do camping.

Here are ways to go to Burias island.

From Mainland Masbate:

Take the boat that sails every Thursday and Saturday and leaves at around 4 or 5 in the morning. Travel time may take 7-8 hours and costs around 550 pesos.

From Manila:

Take a bus ride to Naga. Travel time takes around 10 hours and costs 500 – 700 pesos. Fly to Naga through different airline companies. Travel time only takes an hour and regular costs vary from as low as 3,000 Pesos to as high as 8,000 Pesos. Take advantage of the promos!

While in Naga I suggest you take a look at these sites before or after enjoying some sunny days in Burias island.

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The outside of the Cathedral. Thank to my cousin and his wife for taking me around in their motorbike =)

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How I loved the interior design of this basilica. Its outside is not as flattering but the interior is definitely glorious 

 

Once ready and excited to experience Burias islands, you can take a tricycle going to the terminal near LCC where vans take you to Pasacao port. Travel time takes roughly an hour and costs 50 pesos. In Pasacao port, take a 3-hour boat ride to Burias island. There are trips as early as 6 AM. Here is the detailed list of trip to and fro Pasacao and Burias island.

Pasacao to Burias: First trip: 6:30 AM Second trip: 7:00 AM Third trip: 10:00 AM Fourth trip: 2:00 PM

Burias to Pasacao: First trip: 5:30 AM Second trip: 8:30 AM Third trip: 9:30 AM Fourth trip: 12:30 Noon

I hope these details will help you plan your trip accordingly.

While in Burias, here are the available accommodations which you can also find at the  Tourism office right at the main port.

SUNSET VIEW TOURIST INN  (latest update was in March 1, 2017)

Sunrise : Single fan room – 500 Pesos /  Double Deluxe Room -1300 Pesos / Family Room – 2500 Pesos

Sunset : Single fan room – 600 Pesos / Single Aircon room- 850 Pesos / Double Deluxe room – 1500 Pesos / Family room – 3000 Pesos  *400 Pesos for every extra bed *Children 7 years old and below are free of charge

VIRGEN ISLAND  (you will need to ride a small boat to get to this island which is near the main island and yes they spell it as virgen (definitely a proof of Spanish influence)

Aircon room (1 double bed)  – 1,500 Pesos / Native hut (kubo) – 1,000 Pesos / Extra bed  – 100 Pesos

ATLAZA RESORT  (latest price update was in February 2017) If you are staying near the port, a one-way tricycle ride to this place costs 100 Pesos.

Here are the detailed prices

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Boat prices found in the Tourism office are the following. However, the office allows you to contact other local private boat operators for a much cheaper price.

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Here are the local contacts I can recommend. You can get a deal with them for as low as 1,500 Pesos but depending on how many people are riding.

Diame 09484162656

Bing 09095665707

Jerome 09120179813

There are three small islands in Burias that is worthy of a visit. Each of them has its own uniqueness and charm. Many locals say that Tinalisayan beach is the most beautiful of all. It is a small piece of white beach island paradise with sandbars that appear during low tide. Up to this day, the small and big islands of Tinalisayan is uninhabited. It is however permitted to camp here and I would highly recommend it. So if you feel like it, bring all the necessary camping equipments that you need for a nice and comfortable stay in the island.

Animasola and Sombrero islands are both known for its rock formations. Locals call it Animasola island because ánimo means sprit and sola means alone in Spanish. This island indeed looks like a lone spirit in the middle of the sea. Sombrero island is called “sombrero” because part of its land formation is similar to a hat. Sombrero is a Spanish word for hat. At the moment, locals say that the local government unit temporarily prohibited tourists from visiting the island because of some undisclosed dispute.

 

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Killing boredom while on a three-hour boat trip to Burias

There are three small islands in Burias that is worthy of a visit. Each of them has its own uniqueness and charm. Many locals say that Tinalisayan beach is the most beautiful of all. It is a small piece of white beach island paradise with sandbars that appear during low tide. Up to this day, the small and big islands of Tinalisayan is uninhabited. It is however permitted to camp here and I would highly recommend it. So if you feel like it, bring all the necessary camping equipments that you need for a nice and comfortable stay in the island.

Animasola and Sombrero islands are both known for its rock formations. Locals call it Animasola island because ánimo means sprit and sola means alone in Spanish. This island indeed looks like a lone spirit in the middle of the sea. Sombrero island is called “sombrero” because part of its land formation is similar to a hat. Sombrero is a Spanish word for hat. At the moment, locals say that the local government unit temporarily prohibited tourists from visiting the island because of some undisclosed dispute.

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“Life is like the surf so give yourself away like the sea”

 

 

 

 

 

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Tropical paradise

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islets and sunsets =)

As T.S. Eliot wonderfully puts it…”to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” I grew another year older and I am wiser, I hope, beyond my years. My unending explorations and experiences definitely gave me a set of mind, heart, body and spirit to continue reaching farther and going further in my quest to live my life as good as I possibly can.