5 June 2010


Historical accounts show that the Christianization of the Bicol Region actually began in Masbate in 1569:
Father Alonso Jimenez was the first missionary to the islands of Masbate, Burias, Leyte and Samar. Then he went to Ibalon (Bicol) in the province of Camarines, where he resided many years, and made many religious incursions into Albay and Sorsogon. Fray Jimenez is considered the apostle of the island of Masbate

In December 1600 Dutch Commander Admiral Oliver van Noorth, sought refuge at San Jacinto Harbor after his fleet lost to the Spanish Armada in Manila. He was later engaged in a fierce clash with Limahong's fleet at Canlibas-Matabao passage.

At the hieght of the Galleon Trade, Mobo contributed first class lumber for the construction of galleons, making it the center of trade in the province and was the capital of the province in the early part of the Spanish occupation

In 1864, Masbate was declared a separate province from Albay. Guiom was made the capital while Ticao became a commandancia-politicio-militar. Shortly before the declarateion of Philippine independence by President Emilio Aguinaldo, the town of Masbate was established as the provincial capital.

The Americans came to Masbate in 1900 to extend their pacification campaign. In December 1908, Masbate was annexed to theprovince of Sorsogon. A bill declaring Masbate as independent province was approved on February 1, 1922.

As early as 1906, the Masbate representative made the proposal to the United States Congress to grant the Philippines her independence.

The first Japanese elements arrived in Masbate the dawn of January 7, 1942 from Legazpi. They landed in several places without facing opposition- the province was too stunned to mount any resistance.

The Japanese occupation reduced Masbate to total economic shambles. Economic activities were limited to fishing, buying/selling, or stealing. Food production ground to a halt. Camote, pakol, banana blossoms, pith, and even such obscure fruits like barobo were used as food substitutes. Lakad-bulan served as cigarette, tea or coffee. Barter transaction prevailed. For lack of nutrition and sanitation, many people succumbed to beri-beri or malaria. Lice and ticks infestations spared only a lucky few.

Dr. Mateo S. Pecson, who was governor of the province, having refused to cooperate with the Japanese, evacuated the provincial government to Guiom, a command post used by the guerrillas. Pecson was eventually arrested by the Japanese and incarcerated in Cavite. He managed to escape; he later joined the guerrilla movement in Central Luzon.

In 1944, Provincial Board Member Atty. Jose L. Almario was conscripted by the Japanese to govern the province. During the Liberation, he was arrested by the guerrillias and charged with collaboration. He was exonerated and saved from set execution by a letter from General MacArthur.

Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa, the lone house representative of Masbate, fought against a congressional bill authorizing the conscription of Filipinos into the service of Imperial Japan and for this he was detained in Fort Santiago.

When Masbate was formally liberated on April 3, 1945, Pecson was sent to Masbate by President Osmeña to organize the civil government, Pecson took the reins of government on May 11, 1945.


The island of Masbate lies exactly at the center of the Philippine archipelago between latitudes 11o43’ north and 123o09’ east and 124o5’ east. It is bounded on the north by Burias and Ticao Pass, east by San Bernardino Strait, south by the Visayan Sea, and west by the Sibuyan Sea. Relative to mainland Bicol, the province faces the southwestern coasts of Camarines Sur, Albay, and Sorsogon.

The general surface configuration of the province ranges from slightly undulating to rolling and from hilly to mountainous. In each island, the rugged topography is concentrated in the northeastern portion and gradually recedes to blunt hills and rolling areas in the south, southeast, and southwest.


Masbate City is the capital town. The province is composed of 21 municipalities which are politically subdivided into three districts: First District – San Pascual, Claveria, Montreal, San Jacnto, San Fernando, and Batua; Second District – Masbate, Mobo, Milagros, Aroroy, Baleno, Balud, and Mandaon; Third District – Uson, Dimasalang, Palanas, Cataingan, Pio V. Corpuz, Esperanza, Placer, and Cawayan.


Burias and Ticao Island and the western and central parts of mainland Masbate are covered by a climate characterized by no very pronounced maximum rain period, with a short dry season. The southeastern parts have rainfall more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. Masbate has the lowest average annual rainfall distribution in Bicol.


The people speak predominantly Visayan with a unique mixture of Tagalog and some shades of Ilonggo. In Burias island, they speak Bicol similarly as the people of Camarines Sur, due to the island’s close proximity to the Bicol mainland. The people generally speak fluent English and Pilipino.


Masbate is endowed with rich natural resources. In line with its agriculture are other industries such as large farming, livestock and poultry raising. Along its coastal areas, fishing industry predominates. Agricultural lands are planted with rice, corn, rootcrops and coconut.

In the livestock industry, Masbate ranks second to Bukidnon as a cattle supplier for the country. Aside from cattle raising, it also consists of carabao, horse, goats and swine.

The province is surrounded with rich fishing areas where all kinds of commercial species of fish teemed in great abundance.

Rich minerals are found in the province. Masbate is described by geologists as a province sitting on a "pot of gold". Other minerals found in the area are manganese, copper, silver, iron, chromite, limestone, guano, and carbon.

Cottage industry is likewise another source of livelihood. They are: furniture and cabinet making, ceramics, garments, handicrafts and metalcrafts.


Air Transport

Masbate can be reached by plane from Manila. Asian Spirit. flies to Masbate from Manila daily. Travel time is about an hour.

Land Transport

Masbate can be reached from Manila by land through South Road to the Port of Pilar, Sorsogon. From there, fast craft can take you for two hours to the port of Masbate or motorized banca for a three-hour ride.

Sea Transport

Masbate can also be reached through the sea on board luxury shipping lines from Port of Manila The 18-hour trip is best spent on the ship’s bar or in its all night disco. Other sea trips are via Dalahican, Lucena, Pilar and Bulan, Sorsogon.

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