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Flag of Masbate
Official seal of Masbate
Location within the Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Region Bicol (Region V)
Founded March 10, 1917
Capital Masbate City
 • Governor Vicente Homer B. Revil (NPC)
 • Vice Governor Jo Kristine C. Revil (NPC)
 • Total 4,151.78 km2 (1,603.01 sq mi)
Area rank 33rd out of 80
 • Rank 30th out of 80
 • Density rank 42nd out of 80
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities 1
 • Municipalities 21
 • Barangays 550
 • Districts 1st to 3rd districts of Masbate
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP Code 5400-5421
Spoken languages Bikol, Masbateño, Hiligaynon, Cebuano, Waray-Waray

Masbate (Tagalog pronunciation: ) 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.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Physical 2.1
    • Administrative divisions 2.2
    • Legislative districts 2.3
  • Demographics 3
    • Language 3.1
    • Religion 3.2
    • Literacy 3.3
  • Economy 4
    • Infrastructure 4.1
  • Education 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Chinese visited Masbate and established small settlements during the Srivijaya and Majapahit periods.

Ruins of cave-like dwellings, possibly built by Indians that accompanied the traders, were discovered along the coasts of Aroroy, Palanas and Masbate.

Porcelain jars dating back to the 10th century were excavated at Kalanay Cave in Aroroy town in the 1930s.

Historical accounts showed that Christianization of the Bicol Region actually began in Masbate in 1569. When Captain Luis Enriquez de Guzman anchored in Masbate in 1569, he found settlements spread along the coastlines with its people engaged in flourishing trade with China.

Father Alonso Jimenez was the first missionary to the islands of Masbate, Burias, Leyte and Samar.

He then went to Ibalon in Camarines Province, where he resided for many years. He made several religious incursions in the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon, but he was considered as the apostle to the island of Masbate

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

At the height of Galleon Trade, Mobo town contributed first class lumber for the construction of galleons, making it the center of trade in the province. It then became the capital of the islands 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. But shortly before the declaration of Philippine Independence, the town of Masbate was declared as the capital of the province.

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

As early as 1906, Masbate lawmakers made proposal to the United States Congress to grant the Philippines Independence.

At the height of World War II, 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 economic shambles. Economic activities were limited to fishing and buy-and-sell, among others. Food production came to a halt. Camote, pakol, banana blossoms, pith, and obscure fruits like barobo were used as food substitutes. Barter transaction prevailed. For lack of nutrition, many people succumbed to beriberi and malaria. Lice and tick infestations were rampant.

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

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

Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa, the lone Representative of Masbate, fought against a congressional bill forcing Filipinos into the service of the Japanese Empire, resulting to his detention in Fort Santiago in Manila.

When the province was liberated by joint Filipino and American soldiers on April 3, 1945, Pecson was sent to Masbate by President Osmeña to organize the civil government. He took the reins of government on May 11, 1945.



Masbate lies roughly at the center of the Philippine archipelago, between latitudes 11°43’ north and 123°09’ east and 124°5’ 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 areas.

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.

Administrative divisions

Political map of Masbate

Masbate is subdivided into 20 municipalities and one city.

or city
No. of

Aroroy 41
Enrico Z. Capining Manuel L. Valera, Jr.
Baleno 24
Romeo C. Dela Rosa Romeo M. Cabug
Balud 32
Ruben Jude D. Lim Clemente A. Arguelles, Jr.
Batuan 14
Charlie D. Yuson III Remegio C. Cebu, Jr.
Cataingan 37
Wilton T. Kho George A. Gonzales, Jr.
Cawayan 37
Edgar S. Condor Ramon B. Abinuman
Claveria 22
Henedina V. Andueza Froilan V. Andueza
Dimasalang 20
Henry J. Naga Michael Demph D. Naga
Esperanza 20
Ian Peter S. Sepulveda Ramon A. Diamos
Mandaon 26
Kristine Salve E. Hao Jonalyn R. Rana
Masbate City 30
Rowena R. Tuason Ruby M. Sanchez
Milagros 27
Natividad Isabel R. Magbalon Jose S. Magbalon, Jr.
Mobo 29
Percival D. Castillo Marife D. Lupango
Monreal 11
Ben G. Espiloy Romeo L. Grona
Palanas 24
Rudy L. Alvarez Alfonso S. Son, Jr.
Pio V. Corpuz 18
Allan T. Lepasana Eugenio T. Avila, Jr.
Placer 35
Joshur Judd S. Lanete II Nilo V. Du
San Fernando 26
Narciso R. Bravo, Jr. Arturo A. Uy
San Jacinto 21
Leny A. Arcenas Sanny A. Dejumo
San Pascual 22
Zacarina A. Lazaro Haira A. Lazaro-Rivera
Uson 36
Salvadora O. Sanchez Felipe U. Sanchez

Legislative districts

Masbate is divided into 3 congressional districts, with the following representatives.


The Province of Masbate had a population of 768,939 in the 2007 Census of Population with 397,524 registered voters (as of 2004). Its population increased to 834,650 in the 2010 census with 380,037 registered voters. It consists of 20 municipalities, 1 component city and 550 barangays.[2]


Languages Spoken (2000)[6]
Language Speakers in '000

The people speak predominantly Bikol, Masbateño (or masbateño, the language unique to the province), some Visayan languages with a unique mixture of Tagalog and some shades of Hiligaynon (sometimes also known as Ilonggo). 26% of the population of Masbate province speak Cebuano. In Burias Island, they speak Bicol similarly as the people of Camarines Sur, due to the island’s proximity to the Bicol mainland. The people generally speak fluent English and Tagalog.


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.

About 91% of the population are members of the Catholic Church (Statistics by Diocese Hierarchy, 2014). 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 Diocese of Masbate cannot truly boast, at this point, of great achievements in terms of programs and projects. But it has started to initiate various church programs spearheaded by the Diocesan Commissions on Religious Formation, Social Action and Liturgy, to start on its mission to steer its parishioners towards maturity in the Christian faith. This is done through catechesis, spiritual retreats, seminars, youth encounters, and the like.

There are a total 22 parishes in the Diocese of Masbate, ministered to by 43 priests and 11 religious sisters. It has 1 minor seminary, 4 pastoral centers, 3 elementary schools, 6 high schools, 1 college and 7 kindergarten schools. And among its faith communities are 20 BEC's 46 neo-catechumenalcommunities, 11 mandated organizations and 3 charismatic groups. Other denominations include the Members Church of God International, popularly called Ang Dating Daan. Also Jesus Miracle Crusade and are present in this province.

Other religious denominations are the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) which also functions many religious and social events in the province, as well as Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventist and other Christians. Non Christians are also present which is commonly represented by Moslems.


The literacy rate of the province stood at 95.90%. Its educational institutions consist of effective public and private schools like the Masbate National Comprehensive High School in Masbate City that has three campuses - (MNCHS-Bolo Campus, MNCHS-Main Campus, MNCHS-Annex Campus) and the state-supported Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology, Osmeña Colleges, Masbate Colleges, Southern Bicol Colleges, Liceo de Masbate Colleges - a Catholic school with primary, secondary and tertiary educations under the directorship of the Diocese of Masbate; Holy Name Academy - a Catholic institution run by the Augustinian Recollect Sisters in Palanas, Masbate and Lucio Atabay Memorial Elementary School (formerly, Nipa Elem School) in Nipa, Palanas, Masbate and many elementary, secondary schools and colleges.


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.

Masbate ranks second only to Bukidnon in raising cattle. About 70% of these are sold to Metro Manila and other provinces in Luzon. Farming is the main source of livelihood. Copra is the leading product, followed by corn, rice and rootcrops. Fishing is a major industry along the coast.

Manufacturing firms are in the copra industry, handicrafts, furnituremaking and fish processing.

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 industries such as furniture and cabinet making, ceramics, garments, handicrafts and metalcrafts, are likewise source of livelihood.


Masbate Provincial Capitol Building

An agricultural province, Masbate remains a net importer of consumer and industrial products. The supply of goods came from Metro Manila, Cebu, Panay and Bicol Provinces. Construction materials, particularly cement, are sometimes sourced as a far as Iligan City in Mindanao.

To meet the needs of growth and expansion of the industries, the infrastructure in most part of the province is continually being upgraded. These include the road and its network, transportation, communication facilities, seaports, airport and other support services.

The road and road network, particularly in Mainland Masbate, has kept on improving annually. Road structure is mostly cemented and/or asphalted and timber bridges have been concreted.

As a result, transportation sector has been a growing industry. Aircon minibuses and jeepneys are regularly plying in the two road sections of Mainland Masbate, which made transportation available round-the-clock for the needs of the people and industries.


Major institutions of higher learning in the province include the Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology in Mandaon and in Masbate City, Osmeña Colleges, Masbate Colleges, Liceo de Masbate, Southern Bicol College,Cataingan Municipal College. Masbate also has national schools in Cataingan, Placer, San Jacinto, Mandaon, Mobo, and Masbate City.


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Region: REGION V (Bicol Region)". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Province: MASBATE". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Table 4. Household Population by Ethnicity and Sex: Masbate, 2000

External links

  • Masbate Province Official Site
  • Masbate City Official Site
  • Local Governance Performance Management System
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