Naga City

The hidden beauty of Burias Island, Masbate

What constitutes an ideal beach trip? For me it’s being able sink my toes into fine, powdery white sand, basking in the sun whilst enjoying the cool breeze (and napping thereafter), swimming in the clearest azure waters, and enjoying simple amenities on a far-flung island with literally no data or mobile reception. Yes, Burias Island was this and more!

When I booked my trip, I had only one simple desire: to relax by the beach away from the big, bad city. I had researched previously and I knew the beaches here were exquisite, but had no idea they were this beautiful. The trip made me more grateful and proud to live in such a beautiful country. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s explore Burias Island together, shall we?

HOW TO GET TO BURIAS ISLAND

Burias Island is one of the three major islands of Masbate frequented by adventurers and backpackers. The other two are Ticao Island and Masbate Island.

Burias Island_Masbate_Elegantly Wasted 1

The jump off point to Burias Island is Pasacao Port in Naga City. From Manila, you can choose to drive (8 hours) to Naga City or fly. Not surprisingly, I chose the fastest and more convenient route:

  • fly to Naga City via Philippine Airlines (50 minutes)
  • take the jeepney to the terminal, take the padyak trike to Pasacao Port (approx. 1 hour ++)
  • take the public passenger boat to San Pascual, Burias Island (2 hours)

*If you’re coming from Masbate City, travel time to San Pascual is extended to 6 hours via boat. 

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Our Medical & Dental Mission in Bgy. Cararayan, Naga City

As the propeller plane approached Naga City, I was half relieved and half disappointed: relieved to finally be landing after a tremendously bumpy ride (a storm was brewing), and disappointed because obviously it was very gloomy. So much for trying to get some sun, I thought to myself.

Still, I was thankful to be here. Naga City has been on the news as it was devastated last Christmas by tropical cyclone Nina (internationally called Nock-ten). Images of destroyed houses, trees and concrete blocks flung to the grounds, displaced locals flooded the news. When my friend, artist Pepe Gaka, said he was invited by Missionaries of the Poor for a commissioned project and a Medical and Dental mission was in the works, I said I would be more than happy to tag along. This was a good a time as any to come visit, see the damage myself, and help if needed. Given different circumstances, I would never have finally decided to visit Naga.

Medical and Dental Mission_Naga City_Elegantly Wasted 1

The Medical and Dental Mission is a yearly event spearheaded by the Missionaries of the Poor in Bgy. Cararayan, Naga City in partnership with Maronites on Mission of Australia (MOM), a Christian voluntary organization that helps marginalized sectors of society.

This year, they have 18 volunteers from different industries and professions. They flew all the way to Naga from Australia, sourced all the medical sponsors for the event, and did all the leg work. Most arrived on January 9th to help full-time while I arrived on January 11. The mission was an 11-day event which involved numerous charity works including medical and dental support, house building, and food relief. The medical and dental mission was slated for January 14 in San Rafael, Bgy. Cararayan and was the major event I helped out in.

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My 6 Favorite Food Places in Naga City

One of the things I loved about Naga City was that it was so easy to commute to anywhere! I stayed at Naga Land Hotel which was smack in the middle of town just a couple of yards away from a popular eatery, and a 10-minute walk away from the Cathedral and local churches. There were no scooter rentals here, but it was notably so easy to travel via tricycle and jeepney — and so affordable, too!

Here are some of my favorite places that you should try when you come visit. These are all easy to locate and reach whether by foot or local transport:

1. Que Pasa  Barlin Street, Naga City, Camarines Sur

I had just finished exploring the famous Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Penafrancia when it suddenly rained and I found myself seeking shelter in a nearby barbecue joint. Intrigued with the quirky interiors, I was surprised to discover that it was actually open for lunch time. I had initially thought it was a bar!

Where to eat in Naga City_Elegantly Wasted 1

Que Pasa Naga is a fun resto with a very Instagrammable Spanish ambiance. They specialize in freshly grilled fare with 4 different sauces: Que Pasa sauce (reduced beer with butter and garlic), Cerveza Negra sauce (barbecue sauce), Chili Xocolate (spicy and sweet), Bicol sauce (spicy). Guys, try all the sauces if you can! They add all the character and flavor to the dish — nasa sauce ang sikreto!

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