A Path Less Traveled: Masbate (Part 3 - Roaming Around By Foot)
When I did my research on Masbate, two things consistently appeared on Google - Buntod Reef and Rodeo Masbate. That's all. You could just imagine how hard it was for me to put together an itinerary, with resource too scarce that I was even compelled to email the tourism office (which by the way never replied). So, days before our trip, I stopped making the so-called itinerary.
When we arrived at the hotel, I started fishing information from the friendly staff. I asked about the historical sites we can visit, the churches, and even the nice restos. Good thing, all the staff in the hotel are very helpful.
The only way to explore the town proper is either by foot or tricycle. We chose the former but took the tricycle to the centro first.
From Rendezvous Hotel to centro, fare supposedly Php 8 per pax, but some tricycle drivers would try to take advantage of the tourists and demand Php 10 per pax.
Our first stop is the St. Anthony de Padua Cathedral. St. Anthony de Padua is said to be the patron saint of lost items, the poor and travelers. The church is beside a school and is situated along Quezon Street.
We walked through the busy streets of the centro and found ourselves staring at Balay Valencia, one of the famous ancestral houses in Masbate City. There is no entrance fee here but you have to ask permission from its caretaker. Balay Valencia also has rooms available for travelers, that is if you're fond of antique and rustic rooms. This might be a little creepy for some including me.
Balay Valencia is reminiscent of houses built in the Spanish era, albeit some renovation has already took place.
From Balay Valencia, we walked again and saw the Masbate Capitol Building. Infront of this building is a huge soccer field where children and adults practice soccer. It's amazing to see that the youth in this city really devotes time to play this sport.
And, just a few steps away from the soccer field are these coconut vendors. They sell fresh buko juice! A good way to rehydrate a day of sweating out in the field.
We also went to the market to look for some abaca stuff for pasalubong (since Bicol is known for abaca crafts), but apparently, Masbate is not included in that "abaca loop". We saw these colorful walis tambo though.
After walking around the city, we also checked out some ukay-ukay in town. Masbate, just like Baguio has lots of these second hand a.k.a. vintage stores.