Among the provinces in the Bicol Region, Masbate province remained unexplored territory for me until recently. Its remoteness and raw beauty are part of its allure. I had previously visited the Burias Islands and Ticao, and this time, I set my sights on the larger Masbate Island, starting my journey from the southwestern tip of Balud, home to the Jintotolo Lighthouse, a lone sentinel watching over the Sibuyan Seas.
From Capiz to Balud, Masbate
Masbate province’s three major islands are detached from the mainland, seemingly challenging to reach. Thanks to the efforts of the local government and stakeholders, strategic ports have been established, connecting the islands to Batangas, Lucena, San Andres, and even Sorsogon to Ticao Island. In my case, we traveled from Culasi, Roxas City, reaching Balud’s Calumpang Port after a scenic 5-hour journey that commenced at 8:30 am and ended around 3:00 pm.
Cantil, Jintotolo Island
Upon our arrival at Calumpang Port, we wasted no time and boarded an outrigger boat bound for Jintotolo Island. The 25 to 30-minute ride to Bongcanaway Port in Balud was swift, greeted by sweeping winds and relatively calm waters upon our arrival. The atmosphere was festive, a celebration for the town fiesta in Barangay Cantil, one of the two barangays on the island; ironically, the lighthouse is situated within Cantil.
A short tricycle ride brought us to the jump-off point for our hike to the hill where the Jintotolo Lighthouse stood, merely 700 meters away from the town center. The tower, rising 51 feet (15.5 meters) high, dominated the landscape. Its square structure featured an octagonal lantern podium at the top, illuminated now by a modern solar-powered lantern, replacing the original lantern. Although the living quarters had fallen into disrepair, the lighthouse itself remained in good condition.
Originally spelled as “Gintotolo,” Faro de Isla Jintotolo was one of the 24 Spanish Colonial Lighthouses included in the “Masterplan for the Lighting of the Maritime Coast of the Philippine Archipelago.” Built in 1895, the lighthouse was a project designed by Ramon de Ros, and modified by Primitibo Lluelmo. Visitors had the opportunity to climb the tower, enjoying panoramic views of the island and the Sibuyan Seas.
Visiting Jintotolo Lighthouse required effort and time, making seeing it on my first visit a significant achievement. Its unique design and rustic charm showcased impressive Spanish architecture against the backdrop of Masbate’s natural beauty.
As the day drew to a close, we sailed back to the mainland, treated to a breathtaking sunset at sea—a perfect ending to a promising first day in Masbate.
How to Visit the Jintotolo Lighthouse
The Jintotolo Lighthouse is located in Barangay Cantil on Jintotolo Island. Boats are available at Calumpang Port in Balud to take you to the island, with a travel time of 25 to 30 minutes. For inquiries and further information, please contact the Masbate Provincial Tourism, Culture, and Arts Office.
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.