Masbate, island, 1,262 sq mi (3,269 sq km), the Philippines, one of the Visayan Islands, S of SE Luzon. Gold, which has been mined there for centuries, is still produced in quantity; copper is also mined. The densely populated coastal plains are intensively cultivated. The town of Masbate is the island's trading center.
Masbate is an island province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region. Its capital is Masbate City and consists of three major islands: Masbate, Ticao and Burias.

People and Culture

The people of Masbate were formerly called "Visaya" but when the province was transferred to Bicol region during the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos, they were called "Bicolanos" or "Masbatenos". Many of its people are immigrants from several provinces such as Romblon and Panay Island provinces. The people of Masbate are known as best in agriculture, history, politics and geography means.

Major institutions of higher learning in the province include the Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa, Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology (DEBESMSCAT) in Mandaon and in Masbate City, Osmeña College, Masbate Colleges, Liceo de Masbate and Southern Bicol College.


The province of Masbate is designated as a first class province.


Physically, Masbate lies exactly in the center of the Philippine archipelago north of the Visayas region. The main island looks like an arrowhead with its tip pointing north. Its southern portion encloses the Asid Gulf, while the Jintotolo Channel separates it from Panay Island. The Masbate Pass separates the two islands of Burias and Ticao from the main island of Masbate.

Ethnically, as well as geographically, the province is part of the Sibuyan Sea group of islands which includes Romblon, Marinduque, Sibuyan and many other small islands. There is an admixture of Visayan and Bicolano cultures in the area, and their language, Masbateño, is a Bisakol blend of Capiznon, Hiligaynon, Bikol, Waray-Waray, Cebuano, Romblomanon and Tagalog. Most of Masbate Island speaks Masbateño, but the peninsula which points towards Cebu speaks Cebuano and the peninsula which points towards Panay speaks Hiligaynon. All of Ticao Island and half of Burias Island speak Masbateño, but northern Burias speaks Central Bikol.

The islands of the Sibuyan Sea were well known to the Spanish explorers of the sixteenth century. Legazpi, from Cebu, had made exploratory trips to the islands of Masbate, Burias and Ticao. In later centuries Masbate had shipyards that built ships for the Manila-Acapulco trade. Other than this, there was not much development in the area during the Spanish regime.

Names of places scattered over Masbate's 121 islands are reminders of the missionary journeys and church foundations that were made by the Spanish soldiers and missionaries long ago: San Pascual and Claveria in Burias, San Jacinto and Monreal in Ticao, Esperanza and Aroroy in mainland. Masbate town is the most important foundation however, and is now the seat of the diocese as well as the civil capital of the province.

New settlements sprung up in Masbate just before American colonizers landed on Philippine soil at the turn of the century. The cattle industry was started with the discovery of good grazing lands. Another development was the discovery of rich gold veins. Migrations began soon after this, although the mines in Aroroy town came to be developed only during the American era.

The Diocese of Masbate was created on March 23, 1968, separating it from the Diocese of Sorsogon. It comprises then, and now, the civil province of Masbate with its 121 islands including the two larger ones – Burias and Ticao. It is now a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Caceres. Its titular patron is St. Anthony of Padua.

Masbate's land area of 7000 square kilometers holds a population of 598,813 of which 85 percent are Catholics. Devotional practices such as the rosary, novenas to saints, and other religious manifestations as processions, the misa de gallo and Holy Week traditional activities are still very much part of the way of life of most parishioners.


The Philippine fault runs parallel to Masbate's East coast.


Im Masbate 15 mangrove species can be found.The predominant ones being Pagatpat (Sonneratia alba), Bakauan-lalaki (Rhizophora apiculata), Pi-api(Avicennia lanata), and Bakauan-babae (Rhizophora mucronata).


Masbate is subdivided into 20 municipalities and 1 city.

Masbate Representatives

1st District 2nd District 3rd District
Narciso Bravo Jr. (KAMPI) Antonio Kho (Lakas-NUCD) Rizalina Lanete (NPC)

City/Municipality No. of
Arturo Vicente P. Maristela, Jr.
Gracia Mingoy-Llamado
Clemente A. Arguelles, Jr
Severino V. Alofre III
Felipe L. Cabataña
Ramon B. Abinuman
Henedina V. Andueza
Dimasalang 20
Henry J. Naga
Mac John C. Seachon
Mandaon 26
Emily Estipona Hao
Masbate City
Ates M. Tuazon
Dr. Natividad Magbalon
Konrad R. Ramos
Ben G. Espiloy
Rudy L. Alvarez, Sr.
Pio V. Corpuz
Diomedes C. Amaroto
Vicente C. Cutero
San Fernando 26
19,179 Helen Letada-Bunan
San Jacinto
Hon. Leny Arcenas
San Pascual
Zacarina A. Lazaro
Uson 36
43,825 Felepe U. Sanchez


Pre-Spanish Period

During the pre-Spanish period, the province was part of the province of Sorsogon. The province is administrated by the Diocese of Sorsogon during the Spanish times.

Masbate as an Independent Province

The Second Philippine Commission (the Taft Commission) organized the islands of Masbate, Ticao and Burias into the Province of Masbate during their visit to the region in March 1901. Senor Serrano, a native Masbateno, was appointed Governor of the province. Señor Serrano, a local was appointed Governor; George Landers, a New York soldier, was appointed Supervisor; Lieutenant Snyder of the Twenty-seventh Infantry Regiment was appointed Treasurer. The province had about 40,000 inhabitants at that time

In 1901, a very strong typhoon hit Masbate badly and seriously crippled its economy when coconut plantations, forests and 90% of the houses were severely devastated. Governor Henry C. Ide issued an Executive Order annexing Masbate to the Province of Sorsogon under the Philippine Commission Act 1413 enacted on November 23, 1905 which took effect on January 1, 1906.

During the year 1917, Masbate became independent of its mother province, Sorsogon. Pio V. Corpuz became its first governor after the American times. The municipality of Pio V. Corpuz is named in his honor.

The Philippine Legislative Act 2934, approved on December 5, 1920, implemented by Executive Order No.3 dated January 9, 1921 and was made effective on February 15, 1921, mandated the separation of Masbate from Sorsogon as a separate Province.

Second World War

In 1942, the Japanese forces landed in Masbate.

In 1945, Masbate was re-colonized by the United States and Philippine Commonwealth forces with Masbateño guerrilla units, which attacked the Japanese Imperial forces beginning the Battle of Masbate.

Masbate City



There are three lighthouses in the province,:

  • Colorado Point

1908. Active; focal plane 33 m (109 ft); two red flashes every 5 s. 5 m (16 ft) concrete tower with keeper's house. No photo available. A tourist site says the light station may date from Spanish times but the present lighthouse is American. Located on the east side of the entrance to the harbor of Aroroy, on the north coast of Masbate. Site apparently open, tower status unknown. ARLHS PHI-020; Admiralty F2508; NGA 14604.

  • Bugui Point

1903. Active; focal plane 66 m (218 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) masonry tower. Keeper's house. No photo available, but the lighthouse appears on a postage stamp. A tourist site says the lighthouse was constructed by the Spanish, but it does not seem to have been in service by 1898; apparently the Americans completed it. Located at the northwestern point of Masbate, a landmark on the traditional Southern Passage to Manila from San Bernardino Strait. Site apparently open, tower status unknown. ARLHS PHI-070; Admiralty F2510; NGA 14600.

  • Jintotolo (Gintotolo) Island

1890s. Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 15.5 m (51 ft) square cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery. 1-story keeper's house. No photo available, but the lighthouse appears on a postage stamp. Located on an island off the southwestern tip of Masbate in Jintotolo Strait, an important shipping route to and from the central Philippines. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-035; Admiralty F2292; NGA 14624.

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