|Region||Bicol Region (Region V)|
|Governor||Antonio T. Kho|
|Area|| 4,047.7 km²|
|Total (2000)|| 707,668|
People and Culture
The people of Masbate were formerly called "Visaya" but when the province was transferred to Bicol region during the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos, they were called "Bicolanos" or "Masbatenos". Many of its people are immigrants from several provinces such as Romblon and Panay Island provinces. The people of Masbate are known as best in agriculture, history, politics and geography means. The current second district representative of Masbate to the House of Representatives is the Deputy Speaker of the House for Visayas - Rep. Emilio Espinosa, Jr.
The culture of the province is more on agriculture, making many agricultural schools in the province such as the Dr. Emilio V. Espinosa Sr. Masbate Agricultural College (DEVESMAC) in Mandaon.
The province of Masbate is designated as a fourth class province.
Physically, Masbate lies exactly in the center of the Philippine archipelago north of the Visayas region. The main island looks like an arrowhead with its tip pointing north. Its southern portion encloses the Asid Gulf, while the Jintotolo Channel separates it from Panay Island. The Masbate Pass separates the two islands of Burias and Ticao from the main island of Masbate.
Ethnically, as well as geographically, the province is part of the Sibuyan Sea group of islands which includes Romblon, Marinduque, Sibuyan and many other small islands. There is an admixture of Visayan and Bicolano cultures in the area, and their language, Masbateño, is a Bisakol blend of Capiznon, Hiligaynon, Bikol, Waray-Waray, Cebuano, Romblomanon and Tagalog. Most of Masbate Island speaks Masbateño, but the peninsula which points towards Cebu speaks Cebuano and the peninsula which points towards Panay speaks Hiligaynon. All of Ticao Island and half of Burias Island speak Masbateño, but northern Burias speaks Central Bikol.
The islands of the Sibuyan Sea were well known to the Spanish explorers of the sixteenth century. Legazpi, from Cebu, had made exploratory trips to the islands of Masbate, Burias and Ticao. In later centuries Masbate had shipyards that built ships for the Manila-Acapulco trade. Other than this, there was not much development in the area during the Spanish regime.
Names of places scattered over Masbate's 121 islands are reminders of the missionary journeys and church foundations that were made by the Spanish soldiers and missionaries long ago: San Pascual and Claveria in Burias, San Jacinto and Monreal in Ticao, Esperanza in Aroroy. Masbate town is the most important foundation however, and is now the seat of the diocese as well as the civil capital of the province.
New settlements sprung up in Masbate just before American colonizers landed on Philippine soil at the turn of the century. The cattle industry was started with the discovery of good grazing lands. Another development was the discovery of rich good veins. Migrations began soon after this, although the mines in Aroroy town came to be developed only during the American era.
The Diocese of Masbate was created on March 23, 1968, separating it from the Diocese of Sorsogon. It comprises then, and now, the civil province of Masbate with its 121 islands including the two larger ones – Burias and Ticao. It is now a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Caceres. Its titular patron is St. Anthony of Padua.
Masbate's land area of 7000 square kilometers holds a population of 598,813 of which 85 per cent are Catholics. Devotional practices such as the rosary, novenas to saints, and other religious manifestations as processions, the misa de gallo and Holy Week traditional activities are still very much part of the way of life of most parishioners.
There were Masbateno with culture and a triving economy based on agriculture and fishing. They were already trading with mercantile from neighboring Islands as indicated by antique earthenwares and Jewelries found in Ticao Island. This debunks the idea that the Philippines was discovered by the European.
One artifact found was an agricultural tool more than 1000 years old.
Indigenous Masbatanos still practice thanking elements of nature e.g. water, wind, land, river, etc. before and after harvest. They call this as Pa-ulaw or Pasasalamat literally thanksgiving. Thanking elements in nature througy Pa-ulaw is not a Western Philosophy as introduced by Christian Philosophy. Related to Pa-ulaw is the Pa-tamoy or nagpapaalam literally asking permission. This means also asking a bountyful harvest or water. In the Pa-tamoy indigenous people as permission from un-seen elements in nature for them to use the land, if they are doing agricultural activities.--Pmcalara 17:36, 2 September 2007 (Taipei Standard Time)
Pa-ulaw and Pa-tamoy have a big possibility that these were handed down by their ancestors centuries before the the Europeans colonized the Bicol region. This practices are now part of Filipino and Bicolano fold religiosity that is still observed today (as observed by Perry Calara, unpublished).--Pmcalara 17:36, 2 September 2007 (Taipei Standard Time)
The province is administrated by the Diocese of Sorsogon during the Spanish times. The Spaniards was in control of its politics, economy, and the people's religion.
The whole province was adjacent to the Galleon Trade Highway. Galleons, from the Pacific passes through the southern tip of sorsogon. It goes right towards ticao Island. Then it goes to Manila.
Fil-American War to American Colonialism (1898-1946)
The Americans, as a colonizer, was also the administrator of the province.
It was during this time that the Masbate Comprehensive National High School was established.
Masbate as a separate Province
During the year 1917, the province separated from its mother province, Sorsogon. Pio V. Corpuz (now a municipality of the province) became its founding governor during the American occupation. The governor's name, Pio V. Corpuz was adopted as a name of a municipality of the province in honor of his name.
World War II
There were independent Guerilla forces that fought the Japanese occupiers. One Group was linked with the former American Occupiers. Another group was headed by Villaojado, in the eastern part of the island, has linked with the more radical ideology of the Labor movement in Luzon. They were against the return of the Americans and the Japanese as to them they were foreign occupiers.
Martial Law Period
The Espinosas were one of the Dominant families controlling the political power of the province.
It was during this time that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Established the New People's Army (NPA) in the Island. The group promised to implement Genuine Agrarian reform as majority of the land area is in the hands of a few family.
The insurgents significantly grew during the Marcos regime.
Some families with Marcos links hold vast landholdings in the the Milagros-Mandaon area.--Pmcalara 17:48, 2 September 2007 (Taipei Standard Time)
Post People Power 1
The Fernandez's and the KHO's emerged as two of the prominent political cliques that ruled the province.
Continuing its revolution from the Martial Law period, the New People's Army continues to challenge the dominant political clique in the province.
One of the entertainment that was organized by Masbate was The Masbate Rodeo.--Pmcalara 17:41, 2 September 2007 (Taipei Standard Time)
Post People Power two
Politcs continue to be controlled by a few elite. Patronage politcs still exist.
The economy is based on feudal backward agriculture. Vast areas of lands were also concentrated in a few individuals. Most of these lands are used as ranch.