Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary in Masbate

Maldives, or a little close, was the kind of sight I was expecting when I saw la manok and the surrounding islands in cawayan, masbate. Apparently, it wasn't as expected; though, it is undeniably still a sight to see. Also, The (brown) Pasil or sandbar, with length of, i'd estimate to be more than 3kms was amazing.

Most of all, the kind of experience we had with the people of brgy pena, kapitan and wife, sir abring and kids, was priceless. As I always say, tourists look for the beauty in their destination, while travellers create a beautiful experience.

It's day 3 of our trip and we were at the port at about 8:05. We were supposed to catch the 8:00 am fastcraft trip to Pilar, but we were unlucky as the ferry has already pulled its anchor.

When I was researching about La Manok, the kind masbate city tourism officer who referred me to Milagros LGU have suggested we also visit the buntod reef in the city.

The next trip back to Pilar is at 10:30. We have enough time to check out buntod while waiting for the trip. As we were told, buntod is only 15mins away from the pier.

We scouted a boat right in the pier for P500 roundtrip. It did not take us just 15mins though. Just 10mins after we sailed, the tide was so rough and current was too strong. I was as wet as if I just jumped off from the water. This is even to consider that we had a plaster cover at the boat's side.

As soon as we arrived at the reef, we went up the Tourism facility that was erected there. I had a chat with the staff, and have come to find out that they used to be the dynamite fishers in the area. The LGU has worked on this tourism projects to create an alternative livelihood for these people.

We snorkled around the reef and was impressed with how they culture the corals. It's the first time I've seen a kind of lab underwater.

By the time we finished from snorkelling, I realized it's just 20mins to 12noon, we missed the scheduled 10:30 trip, and this noon trip would be the last available.

Again, upon reaching the port, the fastcraft have started sailing. Our very last chance this the would only be the RORO slowcraft which was also leaving at that moment. We walked in the vessel, Wet, and straight from snorkeling. The staff told us though that they have a shower room, and we can clean up upstairs. The shower room was clean, and big.. you’d love it.

Somehow finally we made our way back to Pilar Port in Sorsogon. RORO wasn’t too bad too as it’s route is very scenic. In fact, it passed through Halea Park in Masbate (this must be the same ferry I saw go passing there when we had the visit).

How to go to Buntod Reef:
From Manila, make your way to Masbate City. You can either book a flight, or travel to either Pio Duran in Albay or Pilar port in Sorsogon. The trips through Pilar Port as more frequent than those in Pio Duran though. In case you don't find a bus that goes direct to Pilar, You can take any bus going Matnog, and other towns in Sorsogon. Just ask and make sure that they pass by brgy Potiao. In Potiao, there will be jeeps going to Pilar Port. Fare is P25. From Pilar port, take either fast craft or RORO to Masbate City. RORO fare is P230. Fastcraft (Student Fare) is P337. From Masbate City, at the port, you can hire boats to Buntod. It seems the P500 return is a standard rate.

below is a summary of our expenses in this trip compiled by travel bud Ron

Masbate Expenses: Nov 29-Dec 2, 2013

December 4, 2013 at 11:27am

Day 0: Nov 28=915php
FARE to:


Day 1: Nov 29=905.66php
FARE to:
pilar port-25


terminal fee-15

Day 2: Nov 30=836.31php
FARE to:
buenavista-133.33 (400/3)
lodge- 24.66

snacks- 40 (120/3)
lunch- 150 (50/3)

boat rental- 266.66 (800/3)
room-166.66 (500/3)

Day 3: Dec 1=914.98
FARE to:
pilar port-230
1st colonial grill-8
sampaguita inn-9
alfredo's-16.66 (50/3)
sampaguita inn-16.66 (50/3)

ice cream/burger-138

boat rental-166.66 (500/3)

Day 0: Dec 2=651php


Kudos to the local government unit for conceptualizing this sanctuary

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