REGION V (BICOL REGION) > Masbate

BRIEF DESCRIPTION
The islands of Masbate were formed out of volcanic rocks over one hundred million years before man made his appearance in the tropical regions of the earth. Humans then made tools of stone, bone, and wood. Some of these very early stone stools and bones have been found in Masbate.

Village settling grew from the development of farming, pottery flourished, stone tools were improved, and the early Masbate farmers made axes of polished stones. Many stones axes of this kind have been found in Masbate. They are the remains of the first farmers who used the axes to cut down trees. The early farmers also made beautiful ornaments of shells. They buried their dead in burial caves and jars. Two large caves in Masbate, the Bat-ongan Cave in Mandaon and the Kalanay Cave in Aroroy, are known worldwide as burial caves.

About four hundred years BC, iron and glass as well as woven cloth appeared in Masbate. The stone tools gradually disappeared; agriculture improved. Beautiful decorated potteries were produced. Unearthed fragments of porcelain tell the brisk trade that existed with China.
 
 
GEOGRAPHY
The island of Masbate lies exactly 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 Vurias 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.

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.
 
POLITICAL SUBDIVISION
Masbate is the capital town. The province is composed of 21 municipalities which are politically subdivided into three districts: First District – San Pascual, Claveria, Montreal, San Jacnto, San Fernando, and Batua; Second District – Masbate, Mobo, Milagros, Aroroy, Baleno, Balud, and Mandaon; Third District – Uson, Dimasalang, Palanas, Cataingan, Pio V. Corpuz, Esperanza, Placer, and Cawayan.
 
CLIMATE
Burias and Ticao Island and the western and central parts of mainland Masbate are covered by a climate characterized by no very pronounced maximum rain period, with a short dry season. The southeastern parts have rainfall more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. Masbate has the lowest average annual rainfall distribution in Bicol.
 
POPULATION
The May 2000 Census of Population shows that Masbate had reached 707,668 inhabitants.
 
LANGUAGE/DIALECT
The people speak predominantly Visayan with a unique mixture of Tagalog and some shades of Ilonggo. In Burias island, they speak Bicol similarly as the people of Camarines Sur, due to the island’s close proximity to the Bicol mainland. The people generally speak fluent English and Pilipino.


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