MASBATE CITY: Years before the Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary in Masbate was opened to the public in 2001, no one in his right mind would ever think of going there. The reason: the place was rife with illegal activities like sand quarrying and dynamite fishing.
Now, the place will make every Filipino proud for this famous beach is a top tourist destination in the Bicol region.
The Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary has a 250-hectare white sandbar located in the middle of the seawaters of Barangay Nursery and Barangay Tugbo.
Masbate City Mayor Rowena R. Tuason said local and foreign tourists flock there for the beautiful white sand, coral gardens and unique sea creatures. The crystal clear waters are ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving while the beach is also the home of numerous birds.
The place is one of the top destinations of the so-called Almasor (Albay-Sorsogon-Masbate) Alliance created by the Regional Development Council (RDC) to highlight these unique destinations and attract investors.
The Aquino administration through the RDC in Bicol led by Governor Joey Salceda has infused P6.8 billion to develop the area.
Salceda said P3.3-billion worth of projects were already approved by the RDC to promote tourism in the area.
“With more than 50 percent of Almasor’s P6.8 billion invested in Masbate, we hope to improve the tourism potential of the province by making Albay, Masbate and Sorsogon into one tour package,” Salceda said.
“It is not just oneness for oneness’ sake but the physical proximity of Ticao to Bulan, of Masbate City to Pilar, of Aroroy to Pioduran is real and should be optimized. We hope Masbate will complement and enrich the total cultural offerings of Almasor,” he stressed.
Salceda said that Bicol is “truly blessed with the inclusion and integration of Masbate into our ethnicity and geographical unity. Let it be said that we have come to recover Masbate from Cebu and regain it for Bicol.”