Buntod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary DIY Travel Guide
Buntod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary was our happy place during our Masbate trip. It is an islet less than 30 minutes away from the airport. Despite its close proximity to the city, the place serves as idyllic respite for beach lovers like us.
This 250-hectare marine sanctuary is a must-see when you set your feet in Masbate City, the capital of the province of Masbate in Bicol Region.
Established in 2001 as a marine sanctuary, Buntod Sandbar became the refuge of interesting, multi-colored plethora of marine life. During low tide, the place boasts a golden sandbar decorated with the richest polychrome mosaic of broken shells. You will also witness hundreds of fiddler crabs dashing and scuttling across their holes. On the opposite end of the island, you can wander through the small forest of dwarf mangroves.
How to Get to Buntod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary from Masbate City
This amazing piece of nature sits amidst the seawaters of two barangays – Nursery and Tugbo.
- From Masbate airport, or anywhere within the city, ride a tricycle going to Brgy. Nursery.
- Get off at Rendezvous Hotel. There’s a wharf at the back where you can find boats that bring visitors to Buntod Sandbar. (There is another port that doesn’t charge entrance fee to visitors, sorry but I forgot to take note of the name/location of it.)
- Ride the boat. The 15-minute travel time with Bantay Dagat staff (SAMAPUSI members) as boatmen and guides will end in the beautiful Buntod sandbar.
If you are coming from Metro Manila and do not want to fly directly to Masbate;
- Legazpi City in Albay province can be your jump-off point. Several bus companies offer transportation to Legazpi City.
- From Legazpi, take a van to Pilar, Sorsogon province and get off at Pilar Port.
- Buy tickets for either the fast-craft ferry (schedules: 8AM, 12NN, and 3PM) or the roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) ships (schedule depends on the availability of cargo). Ferry fare rates is around Php350-Php400 per person per way; while Ro-Ro is around Php200-Php250 per person per way. Your sea journey will end in Masbate City Port.
- There are other smaller motorized boats that offer transportation from Pilar to Masbate, it’s up to you if you want to take it.
Rates and Expenses
Php500 (1-4 persons)
Php800 (5-14 persons
|Php100 for 1 hour
Php200 for 1 hour
Php300 for 1 hour
|Php50 (small) / Php100 (big)
Php8,000 (whole day)
Will cover three sites – Catandayagan Falls, Burobancaso, and Halea Nature Park
Travel Tips for Buntod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary
- There are floating cottages available for overnight stay. Rate is Php500 per night. (If you are looking for a much cheaper deal, try Mayong Payong or see other Masbate accommodation here.)
- There is no source of tap water in the area, so rinsing saltwater off your skin must be done when you get back to the city, or you can ask a boatman to fetch water for you. A container costs Php25.
- There is a large communal wooden hut, acting as a ranger station, in the island where you could rent a table, have lunch, or take a nap. Snorkeling and diving gears are also available for rent.
- Bring lots of baon. There is a sari-sari store in the island but the items it sells are limited to soda, chips, and some ready-to-eat goods.
Please adhere to the concept of responsible traveling and ecological conservation. Dispose your garbage properly. Do not cut twigs of the mangroves. Do not touch the corals. DO NOT TAKE AWAY ANYTHING FROM THE ISLAND.
Our Plate of Thoughts
We have learned that Buntod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary was one a haven for illegal fishing. It’s amazing how healthy the place looks now.
Kudos to the local government for reviving, recovering, and protecting this beauty by pronouncing it as one of the protected areas in the province. Illegal fishing has been stopped. I can say that their environmental laws are strictly advocated and the locals are cooperating with the authorities in taking care of the sanctuary. You guys are doing a great job! Please keep it up!
Buntod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary serves as a strong evidence of the resilience of life. When you learn her story, and when you see it now, you will agree that that anything on the verge of destruction and extinction has a chance of growing, given the proper care. Maybe Pasig River has a chance then? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comment below.
See our Masbate video below:
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