Masbate Day Tour: Buntod Reef, Brahmans Ranch and Fazenda de Esperenca

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“Are we there yet?”

“Beshy, we’ll arrive there by 12 midnight.”

“Yes, I know. It just feels like we’re not moving at all.”

HA-HA-HA

We both laughed because many of the passengers were sound asleep, while we were stressing ourselves about getting to our destination fast.

So we slept like locals did, sans our bodies occupying the whole seat.

Midnight Arrival

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There are several hotels and inns in downtown Masbate where you can stay. There is Novotel where you can check out the same time you had checked in.

There’s also a newer bayfront resort next to Rendezvous Resort where we stayed. The latter you would appreciate because of the owner (and for several more reasons enumerated later on this blog). Mr. Cokie Medina knows the ins and outs of local tourism in Masbate.

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These may change without prior notice. You may confirm it with the port’s guard via this cp number: 0909-765-9399.

What some hotel’s desk officers/security guards couldn’t help you with, he could. He knew the ferry schedule and would extend help by calling the office himself. These must be part of basic services by hotels in an island province like Masbate.

Even the lady attendant at a laundry shop gave us this answer: “I’m not from here so I can give you limited information regarding direction and what not.” Meh.

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He also knew the culture, that he could delight you with stories from Rodeo to Lapay – two highlight festivals in the province.

“You two should come back during Rodeo Festival in April. You’ll see the regulars and the tradition, of course.”

That sounds interesting, indeed. Yet, I felt like I would return for Lapay Bantigue Dance Festival in September. According to Sir Cokie, it is a cultural dance where students learned the steps during grade school. Interestingly, his daughter was one of the Lapay queens.

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Photo of binut-ong taken at The Oriental in Legazpi

Our conversations went on, including the Caucasian-managed Ticao Island to Masbate longganisa which was our breakfast together with egg and rice. Little did I know that the best-tasting binut-ong used to be found in my hometown, Tiwi.

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Wharf at Rendezvous Resort

All those stories and his graciousness as a host made me see the difference it can make in local tourism.

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary

Activities: Snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, kayaking

Boat Rental: P500

Contact Number: 0917-927-7660/0920-433-8512

SESE Brahmans Ranch

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Activities:

Day hike, camping, stargazing, horse riding

Entrance Fee: P50/pax

Fazenda  de Esperanca

Activities: Visit the farm and production site for fresh milk and cookies that this rehabilitation center sells at the Cathedral in downtown Masbate.

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No entrance fee.

We spent the rest of our stay napping on this grass-covered ground. And the habal-habal ride for downtown, with drizzle and all, spiced up our afternoon adventure.

Food

The Rendezvous resort can provide packed meals for your lunch at SESE Brahmans Ranch picnic-style. This may include homegrown meals with seafood ingredients, as well as specialty dishes like hardinera and ham (must be ordered 7 days advanced) and dessert all prepared by the owner himself.

The folks at Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary can also prepare your lunch. Castle Kaunan SUTUKIL (popularly known as SUTUKIL) is a must-visit in Masbate, as well as Alben’s Food House (Brgy. Tara) for bulalo,  Minlan along Osmena st. for filling, value meals and Tio Jose Bar & Grill for steak.

The milk candy Carmelado is made in Milagros and also available in stores near the port. Add the delicious cookies from Fazenda in your bags of pasalubong.

There’s also a Bigg’s Diner branch with a rodeo theme for its interiors.

Notes:

Room rates at Rendezvous Hotel and  Resort

P800/2 pax – First  Ground

P1000/2 pax – Second Floor

What you’ll like about Rendezvous Hotel and Resort is you’ve got an affordable place to stay. Their rates are the most budget-friendly in Punta Nursery, the gateway to Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary.

The rooms have basic facilities. One room on the second floor has a refrigerator and a PC, and some are under renovation during our November visit.

The meals are also a deal, especially they are homegrown, with rates from P180-350 good for four persons. Rice is P45 good for sharing.

Itinerary

8:00 PM -Departure, Pilar Pier, Sorsogon

12:00 Midnight – Arrival, Masbate Pier

12:00-12:15 AM  – To Rendezvous Resort via tricycle

12:15-12:30 AM – Check-in

12:30-5:00 AM – Sleep

5:00-5:30 AM – Freshen up

5:30-6:00 AM – Breakfast

6:00-6:15 AM – To Buntod Reef

6:15-9:00  AM – Snorkel, swim, kayak

9:00-9:15 AM – Depart for Rendezvous Resort

9:15-9:45 AM Freshen  up

9:45-10:00 AM -Off to the central terminal

10:00-11:15 AM –  Off to SESE  Brahmans Ranch  via Balud-bound UV

11:15-11:25  AM – Walk from the entrance to the house at the middle of the ranch

11:25-11:30 AM – Pay the entrance fee

11:30-11:45 AM – Short hike to the  hilltop

11:45-12:00 PM – Rest

12:00-12:30 PM –  Lunch Picnic-like (Packed lunch)

12:30-1:00 PM – Siesta

1:00-1:15 PM  – Walk back to the caretaker’s house

1:15-1:30 PM  –  Walk  back to the main road where habal-habal is waiting

1:30-1:40 PM – To Fazenda de Esperanca

1:40-2:30 PM – Visit

2:30-2:35 PM – To UV  “terminal”.

2:35-4:30 PM – To downtown via habal-habal (We didn’t catch the last  trip via UV)

4:30-5:30 PM – Early dinner at SUTUKIL (SUgba, TUla, KILaw)

5:30-5:50 PM  – Back to Rendezvous

5:50-6:30 PM  – Sunset watching

6:30-7:00 PM –  Freshen up

7:00-10:00 PM – Rest

10:00-10:30 PM – Pack up

10:30-10:45 PM – Check out

10:45-11:00 PM – Off  to the pier

11:00-12:00 AM – Aboard the fast craft

12:00-2:00 AM – To Pilar Pier

Contact numbers

0909-793-0466 – Habal-habal driver from Balud, Milagros

0920-852-3996 – Jose Cokie Medina/Rendezvous Resort

Photos: Laurie Gucilatar, Renato Jao

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