The knife-edged-shape Ticao island is another fascinating destination for me. I’ve read articles and seen photos of this island, so I kinda know what to expect – stunning seascapes, rock formations, age-old settlements, and towering waterfalls pouring directly into the sea. And I finally got to see this for myself. After a day of interacting with whale sharks in Donsol, we rode a large outrigger boat to Ticao island, one of the three major islands of Masbate. It’s a 2-3 hours rocky boat ride but no rough waters can keep my excitement.
Where is Ticao Island
Ticao island is part of the three major islands of Masbate province. The other two is Burias island (Check the chronicle post here) which lies north of the province and is a lot smaller in size. The largest Masbate island is the southern part of the province. Ticao island sits in the middle bounded by Ticao Pass and Masbate Pass.
The province is located at the heart of the country, already bordering Visayas and Luzon. Still part of the Bicol region.
Coastal Wonders of Ticao Island
The island has an area of 334 square km with the highest elevation at 751 feet. Ticao island is composed of four municipalities: Batuan, Monreal, San Fernando and San Jacinto.
Ticao island is also known for its archaeological landscape where several key artifacts were found like the Ticao petrographs, burial jars, jade beads, Ticao gold spike teeth, and a pre-colonial baybayin-inscribed Rizal stone.
Due to restricted time, we were not able to inspect these archeological finds. For this trip, we enjoyed discovering some of the coastal wonders of Ticao island.
For coordinating with island hopping tours, please connect with the official Masbate Provincial Tourism Culture and Arts Office (https://www.facebook.com/MasbatePTCAO)
Halea Nature Park
Our first stop is the northernmost island of Ticao, the San Miguel island under the municipality of Monreal. Found at the south of the island are beautiful white beach coves tucked between limestone rocks known as the Halea Nature Park. There were open cottages in the area and one was used for our boodle fight lunch. There’s a pathway leading to the undulating hills above but some of the cottages were damaged from a recent typhoon.
We got into the water where we were told a few resident baby sharks dwell. We followed our guide Junery, whose also a dive master, to where these juvenile sharks dwell. It’s in an area near a cave. I enjoyed the snorkel as the water clarity was excellent. There were portions of good corals and marine life too. We were able to spot a couple of those baby sharks but were too far away to capture. Nonetheless, the waters were enjoyable as it is.
From the north, we head west of Ticao island for Catandayagan Falls. Hugging the rugged cliffside of the island leading to one of the most majestic-looking falls I’ve seen. Quite extraordinary as this 100-foot cliffside falls directly plunge to the sea. We were lucky there was a generous pour and we had time to swim and enjoy the showers of the falls at the same time.
Catandayagan Falls is already at the border of San Jacinto municipality.
Coming from the falls, our next stop was Burubungkaso Islet (also spelled Borobangcasao islet). An intriguing set of rock formations like a stack of dominos but naturally made. The waters surrounding the formations were clear too. If we had more time it would be fun to swim. What we did though was climbing the rocks. I was told by one of the guides that there used to be a natural bridge but eventually, erosion made it collapse.
Ticao Island Resort
From the west, we head to the east this time for our home for the evening, the lovely Ticao Island Resort. Settled on a tranquil cove with calm waters, the resort has some gorgeous cottages each with cozy hammocks at the front. The sunset was serene and the sunrise here was soothing.
The resort is a popular home base for divers who would like to experience diving with the manta rays in the area known as the Manta Bowl. The area along the Ticao Pass is hailed for their conservation of these beguiling creatures of the sea.
One of my favorite things about the resort though is their food! Excellent offerings all around, especially their lechon. Must try their homemade ice cream as well.
Going to Ticao Island
Ticao island is not an easy place to go to which for me is part of its charm. It takes a little bit more effort to enjoy this underrated beauty. But here is a quick guide on several ways to reach Ticao Island. I will not include the prices as they may change in time.
- Ferry via Pilar, Sorsogon. From Pilar Port, there are ferries that leave for Monreal from 7 AM to 12 NN daily. Travel time is 1.5 hours. From July to October, there’s a high chance of trips being canceled due to extreme weather conditions so better check the local conditions first.
- Ferry via Bulan, Sorsogon. From Pier 1 at Bulan port, catch a ferry to San Jacinto port in Ticao island. Ferry leaves at 6:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM.
- By Air and Ferry at Masbate. Probably the most direct route. Currently, Cebu Pacific flies to Masbate airport from Manila. From Masbate City, head to Masbate City port and catch a ferry to Lagundi Port on Ticao island. Travel time is only 30 minutes.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.