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I made my way from San Antonio To Ticao Island and I stayed in the Ticao Lodge, San Jacinto for 2 nights.
San Jacinto is a pleasant little town in the real Philippines – away from the busy and popular tourist spots.
It was time to move on to Masbate.
MINIBUS TO LAGUNDI:
The owner of the Ticao Lodge told me that Jeepneys leave from San Jacinto to Lagundi every hour from 3:00am to 6:00am. But, his English wasn’t good enough to tell me from exactly where.
Lagundi is a small Bangka Port on the south west coast of Ticao Island.
I was up at 4:15 and on the street by 4:30am. I had just walked out of the door of the Lodge when a Minibus turned the corner about 10 metres away. They stopped and called to me. This was the Minibus to Lagundi … This is not what I call a ‘Jeepney’, it was an actual 20 seater Minibus.
I hopped on. My suitcase was placed up front beside the driver. We spent the next 30 minutes scouring the streets of San Jacinto picking up customers. Out final stop was the San Jacinto Bangka Port. By 5:00am we were heading for Lagundi.
Note: You can catch the Minibus to Lagundi from the San Jacinto Bangka Port.
The road from San Jacinto to San Fernando is a good one. On Google Maps, the road from San Fernando to Lagundi looks like a bad one – but, no, it is a good one too. We arrived at Lagundi Bangka Port at 5:55am. The Minibus cost is PHP50.
BANGKA PORT TO MASBATE CITY:
A Bangka was waiting for the Minibus. We paid our Terminal Fee of PHP2 and started boarding.
The Bangka was full. We left at 6:15am. We arrived in Masbate City at 7:05am. The Bangka cost is PHP80.
WHERE TO STAY:
I walked to the nearest Jollibee and settled in for Breakfast. I had internet!
I got onto the hotel search engines … I started with AGODA.COM … then moved on to AsiaTravel.com … There were very few options and I wasn’t finding anything decent in my price range.
I fell back on ‘Plan B’ … I went to TRIPADVISOR.COM to see what hotels they had listed and what their review scores were. From here I found more hotels listed and more hotel providers.
Unless you want to be in the center of town on a noisy street (in somewhere like the Victoria Du), the place to be is on the Circumferential / Nursery Road in the ‘north east corner’ of the Masbate City peninsular.
MY MASBATE CITY HOTEL – THE GREENVIEW HOTEL & RESTOBAR:
The Greenview is on the circumferential road. TravelBook were offering an Aircon Double with hot water shower, wifi, cable tv, wardrobe, and breakfast for PHP1,100 / night. As I sat in the Jollibee finishing my breakfast at 9:00am, I booked 3 nights (Friday through Sunday) and paid by Credit Card.
The Greenview was just over 1km away from the Jollibee … I had lots of time until the check-in of 2:00pm, so I walked. It was an easy walk.
I found the Greenview easily and they checked me straight into my room. It was only 10:00am. At reception, I saw their Rate Card – I could have turned up at the Hotel and booked my room directly with them at the counter for only PHP1,000 / night.
The room was good value for money (for The Philippines). Albeit, the aircon was a bit noisy … and the hot water shower was only hot if you took the rose head off of the wall and used it by hand (the lower height allowed just a little bit more water to flow which was just enough to ‘trigger’ the wall-mounted water heater).
I went down to the restaurant to ask for their opening times. They said that they were 7-9 for Breakfast and 7-9 for Dinner.
That night, I was showered and in the restaurant by 6:30pm. I did some more work for 1 hour and, then, asked to see the menu. The waitress disappeared for 2 minutes then came back to tell me that ‘there is no food’. Nothing. Because I had a late breakfast, I skipped Lunch. I was ready for Dinner!
I went to Reception to ask where the nearest restaurant was. There was nothing within walking distance. I could catch a Trike somewhere (if I knew where) or they could order food to be delivered (did they really expect me to eat Pizza?). I don’t know about you, but if there is nowhere for people to eat around a hotel, I think that the hotel has an obligation to serve food – don’t you? I ended up going to the nearest Tinpot.
There isn’t much endearing about Masbate City. It’s just another ‘grubby’ Philippines town with lots of Trikes.
The ‘north east corner’ is a nicer area with many hotels, restaurants, and bars. There are no beaches.
Backpackers may want to stay in the cheaper hotels in the center of town like the Victoria Du (which was recommended to me by a local girl on the Bangka).
However, GRANDPAckers should look to the ‘north east corner’.
If you do not have transport, and you don’t want to catch Trikes everywhere, you are best to avoid the Greenview and get right into the ‘north east corner’ in and around the Rendezvous Resort
The trip from San Jacinto on Ticao Island to Masbate City is an easy one. My door-to-door-travel time was 5.5 hours (but I stopped for a long breakfast). My cost was PHP132. For 2 GRANDPAckers, budget PHP264 (plus a Trike to your chosen Hotel – which shouldn’t cost more than PHP40 with luggage).
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