Cycling Burias Island, Masbate

Written by awayandgay
Road from Claveria, Burias Island, Masbate

 

This post is about multi day cycle trip leaving from Naga City, Camarines Sur:

Naga City – Pio Duran – Burias Island (Claveria) – San Isidro Beach – San Pascual – Pasacao – Naga City

Naga – Pio Duran – 92.3km – 6-7hours (windy, hilly roads, some unpaved)

Claveria – San Isidro Beach – 17km – 1.5-2 hours (unpaved road)

Claveria – San Pascual  – 44km – 5-8 hours (combination of paved, unpaved, clay, dirt tracks)

Pasacao – Naga  – 37km – 2-3 hours (main road)

Naga to Pio Duran Port

It’s 92.3KM, with the last 20KM stretch being hilly as hell. When I arrived at the port of Pio Duran, a winding, hilly 6 hour ride from Naga City, the boat that was going to my destination was about to leave – great timing I thought. Things always seem to work out and be in your favour when your mind is in a certain state. My legs were tired but had enough time to take away a meal in little plastic bags to have on the boat.

Scheduled boats usually run at 7:30AM, 9:30AM and 2:30PM, the one I caught was carrying building supplies, and let on passengers.

Arriving at Claveria

The boat I took was carrying bags of cement, metal beams and wood for construction that was taking place on the island. There were 4 passengers onboard, including me – two ladies who started chatting to me asking where I was from, as apparently they knew everyone on Claveria. Then there was a boy with a funny eye who I shared my sky flake crackers with.
I did some googling before hand and found some blog that told me that Claveria has a nice beach, and several options for hotels that run along the boulevard by the port. I arrived at the port, and no hotels were to be seen. Nor a boulevard…haha. Thats cool…so I was thirsty and wanted a cold drink. I went to about three sari-sari stores and asked for a cold drink and none had any. It took me a while to realise that there’s no electricity here during the day.
So I didn’t bring a tent, there was no beach to sleep on, and no hotels. I went back in the net and realised the Claveria I was looking at was in a different location in the Philippines haha! I asked around and found a boarding house you could stay in for 85PHP ($2) a night. It didn’t seem like there was much in town, I got talking to a store owner who mentioned that San Isidro had a nice beach. I wasn’t sure how far this place was, and it wasn’t marked on google maps. I ask a couple of people and they say it’s very far, and would take me a day to get there, others told me an hour at most. So I jumped on my bike.

Claveria to San Isidro

It turns out it’s only around 1.5-2 hours by bike, and most of it is dirt path. The few houses that line the path are traditional huts. The island is covered in coconut trees, and flat land is scarce. I passed two or three small barangays (villages), and not a single vulcanizing shop (I hope I don’t get a flat haha I assumed, like most of mainland Camarines Sur there were vulcanizers everywhere). A power line follows the path, but I was later to find out is inoperational. There is no power station on the island. Some mayor promised power to the people, but didn’t deliver.

 

San Isidro at Night
Path to San Isidro

 

As I cycled into San Isidro I suddenly was aware of all eyes being one me. I thought this behaviour was normally reserved for (foreign looking) foreigners, but it was odd having so much attention. I realised this was a small place, and everyone knew everyone here. Essentially it’s a Barangay situated around 17km south from the centre of Claveria where the port is located.

There’s a 10km stretch of sand with no bars, hotels, or eateries in sight. There’s a reef close to the beach, and calm waters. Snorkelling is good from the beach, even better if you paddle out further.

I asked around for accommodation, and locals said there were none. I asked a store owner and was asked to go right to the end of the strip onto the beach as there were huts there. I found a resort run by a French/Japanese couple who were kind. I haggled hard for the hut and got a price under $15.

The hut was pretty deluxxeeeeeee. Running water and a decent bed. Didn’t expect to find something like this out here but it was just what I needed. They let me use a kayak and snorkel gear. There were about 4 huts, and no other guests. Apparently they used to get more customers when they had a boat that ran from Donsol to San Isidro. We shared meals together (100PHP a meal), and found their life interesting and the dynamics between them, and them and the community. I stayed a couple of nights here.

There are other sites to see here too. You can hike up hills and mountains, and there’s also a semi-famous waterfall that runs into the ocean, apparently a pretty rare phenomenon world-wide.

The road from San Isidro to San Pascual
It rained last night and I spent the next one and a half hours pushing my bike through clay that stuck to the wheel like a mother fucker. It took three hours to get from San Isidro back to Claveria. I stopped at a store near Claveria and some guy fed me squid and rice. He was hot.

Masbate (the province that Burias Island is in) is known to be the cattle capital of the Philippines. On Burias island there were quite a few cattle and magic mushrooms (blue meanies) and other variants are somewhat easy to find here. Locals aren’t aware of the effects of these.
The distance between Claveria, and the main port on the southern point of the island, San Pascual is approximately 80km but it took me around 8 hours to complete. It is the oddest road stretch of road I’ve ridden on. Rough road, clay road, brand new road, all formed part of this track. It started good, but then got frustrating. Road conditions were upredictable, there aren’t any stores for the majority of the track, so lunch turned out to be a bag full of mystery bread, about twenty little 1 peso chip snacks and some warm soft drink. Funnily enough I met a village official that knew me somehow and he sucked me off.

San Pascual

Got here at dusk. It’s a bigger town than Claveria. I stayed at some hotel facing the port. There’s some sights to see here, including some island hopping you could do, but I had to be somewhere the next day so I caught they ferry then cycled back to Naga from Pasacao.

Note: There are no Jeepneys or transport between the main two towns of Burias Island (Claveria and San Pascual). So for those intending to travel here without a bike, you may have to ‘arkila’ or hire a tricycle or motorbike to get you around.

Overall, Burias Island is beautiful, laid-back and for doesn’t seem to get many international visitors. For those who can make do with limited infrastructure (roads, electricity, transport) its an ideal adventure for a few days. If i were to do this trip again, I’d take a tent, have a few more days, and pack some food and a stove.