25/04/2024

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Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar in Masbate City

10 min read
Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar in Masbate City

Exploring the Beauty of Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary is a 250-hectare marine sanctuary located in Masbate City, the capital of the province of Masbate in the Bicol Region of the Philippines. Established in 2001, this sanctuary is home to a diverse range of marine life and is a must-see for anyone visiting the region. The sanctuary is situated in the middle of the seawaters of two barangays – Nursery and Tugbo.

Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary
Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary

Visitors can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and diving in the crystal-clear waters of the sanctuary, where they can observe a wide variety of marine life, including colorful fish, corals, and other sea creatures. The sanctuary is also home to a small islet and mangrove area, which provides a refreshing escape from the city.

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary is a natural wonder that should not be missed by anyone visiting Masbate. Its stunning beauty and diverse marine life make it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and its proximity to the city makes it an easy and convenient getaway for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life.

Buntod Reef in Masbate City
Buntod Reef in Masbate City

Geographical Location

Proximity to Masbate City

Masbate City, the capital of the province of Masbate, is located on the island of Masbate, which is part of the Bicol Region in Central Philippines. The city is known for its rich cultural heritage, pristine beaches, and diverse marine life. Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary is conveniently accessible from Masbate City via a rented motorized boat. The sandbar is located about a kilometer off the coast of Masbate Island.

Bicol Region Context

The Bicol Region is located in the southeastern part of Luzon Island, the largest island in the Philippines. The region is known for its natural beauty, diverse culture, and rich history. It is composed of six provinces, including Masbate, and is home to over 5 million people. The region is a popular tourist destination due to its stunning beaches, majestic mountains, and unique cuisine.

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary in Masbate City
Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary in Masbate City

Natural Features

Coral Reefs

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary is home to a vibrant and diverse coral reef ecosystem. The coral reefs in the sanctuary are known for their resilience and are ranked as the Philippines second most resilient coral reef area in terms of broad-scale and local-scale factors. The coral reefs occupy 20 hectares of core zone and 100 hectares of buffer zone. Visitors can explore the coral reefs by snorkeling or diving and witness the colorful and fascinating underwater world.

White Sandbar

The sanctuary is also home to a beautiful white sandbar that stretches over a kilometer long. The sandbar is conveniently accessible via a rented motorized boat. Visitors can relax on the white sand and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding seawaters. The sandbar is a perfect spot for taking photos and enjoying the serene and tranquil atmosphere.

Mangrove Areas

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary also boasts a small islet and mangrove area that can be found just off the coast of Masbate City. The mangrove areas are home to a variety of flora and fauna and are an important ecosystem for the marine life in the sanctuary. Visitors can explore the mangrove areas by renting a kayak and witness the beauty of the mangrove ecosystem up close.

Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar in Masbate
Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar in Masbate

Ecological Significance

Marine Sanctuary

Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary is a 250-hectare protected area located off the coast of Masbate City in the Philippines. It is an important ecological site that is home to a diverse range of marine species, including vibrant coral reefs, tropical fish, and other fascinating creatures. The sanctuary is a popular destination for snorkeling and diving, allowing visitors to witness the beauty of the underwater world.

Mangrove Sanctuary

In addition to the marine life, Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary is also home to a mangrove sanctuary. Mangroves are important for the environment as they serve as a natural barrier against storms and tsunamis, provide habitats for various species, and help filter pollutants. The mangrove sanctuary in Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary is well-maintained and serves as a breeding ground for several bird species.

Nursery for Marine Life

Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary serves as a nursery for marine life, providing a safe haven for various species to breed and grow. The sanctuary is well-managed, with strict regulations in place to ensure that human activities do not harm the delicate ecosystem. As a result, the sanctuary has become a prime example of successful ecological conservation.

Conservation Efforts

Protected Area Designation

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary was designated as a protected area by the local government in 2007 to help preserve the diverse marine ecosystem found in the area. The protected area designation prohibits any form of destructive human activities such as fishing using dynamite, poison or any other harmful methods that can damage the marine ecosystem.

Local Government Involvement

The local government has played a crucial role in the conservation efforts of Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary. The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) was established to oversee the management and conservation of the protected area. The PAMB is composed of various stakeholders such as representatives from the local government, non-government organizations, and community members. The board is responsible for developing policies and guidelines for the management and conservation of the protected area.

Community Engagement

The Samapusi Members, a group of community members living near the protected area, have actively participated in the conservation efforts of Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary. The group has been involved in various activities such as monitoring the marine ecosystem, conducting clean-up drives, and educating other community members about the importance of conservation. The involvement of the local community has been instrumental in the success of the conservation efforts in the area.

Buntod Reef Sandbar
Buntod Reef Sandbar

Tourism and Activities

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the rich marine life of the area while engaging in low-impact beach activities. There are several activities that visitors can enjoy while at the sanctuary, including snorkeling and diving, boating and kayaking, and relaxing on the beach.

Snorkeling and Diving

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary is a prime destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The sanctuary is home to a diverse array of marine life, including giant clams, colorful corals, and a variety of fish species. Visitors can rent snorkeling and diving equipment from local vendors and explore the underwater world of the sanctuary.

Boating and Kayaking

Boating and kayaking are popular activities at Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary. Visitors can rent boats and kayaks from local vendors and explore the sanctuary’s mangrove forests and nearby islands. The calm waters of the sanctuary are perfect for kayaking and boating, making it an ideal destination for families and groups.

Beach and Picnic Spots

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary is also a great place to relax and enjoy the beach. Visitors can lounge on the sand, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoy a picnic with family and friends. The sanctuary has several picnic spots, including cottages and nipa huts, that visitors can rent for a small fee.

Amenities and Facilities

Accommodation Options

Visitors to Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary have a few accommodation options to choose from. The most popular option is to rent one of the cottages located on the island. These cottages are simple, yet comfortable, and offer a great way to spend a night on the island. Visitors can also choose to stay at the nearby Rendezvous Hotel, which offers more luxurious accommodations.

Food and Dining

There are a few food options available on the island for visitors to choose from. Visitors can bring their own food and have a picnic on the island, or they can purchase food from one of the vendors selling snacks and refreshments. For those who want a more substantial meal, there is a restaurant on the island that serves various dishes.

Rental Services

In addition to accommodations and food options, visitors can rent various equipment and services on the island. Pedal boats are available for rent for those who want to explore the waters around the island. Visitors can also rent tables and chairs for their picnic, making enjoying a meal on the island easier.

Admission and Other Fees

  • Boat Rental 1 to 4 persons PHP600
  • Boat Rental 5 to 14 persons PHP1000
  • ENVIRONMENTAL FEE PHP20 for Adults / Php 10 for Kids
  • Table Rental PHP100 per table
  • Snorkeling PHP100 per person per hour
  • Snorkeling guide PHP100 per person
  • Beach umbrella PHP150
  • Contact Info: 09179277660/09070460538
Buntod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary
Buntod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary

Travel Information

Getting There

Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary can be reached by taking a tricycle from Masbate City to Barangay Nursery, where a boat ride to the sanctuary is available. The tricycle ride takes around 10 minutes and costs around PHP 50-100, depending on the distance.

The boat ride to Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary takes around 10-15 minutes and costs around PHP 300-500 for a round trip. Booking the boat ride in advance, especially during peak season, is recommended to avoid any inconvenience.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary is during the summer months, from March to May, or during the dry months, from October to January. The weather is usually pleasant and the sea is calm during these months, making it easier to explore the sanctuary. However, as long as there is no typhoon or strong rains, visitors could still visit the sanctuary during other months.

Tips for Responsible Traveling

As with any natural attraction, it is important to practice responsible traveling when visiting Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Do not litter and dispose of trash properly.
  • Do not touch or disturb the marine life.
  • Do not step on the coral reefs as they are fragile and easily damaged.
  • Do not feed the fish or any other marine animals.
  • Respect the environment and do not leave any footprints behind.

By following these tips, visitors can help preserve the beauty of Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary for future generations.

Local Culture and Economy

Barangays and Communities

Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary is in Masbate City and is divided into 30 barangays or villages. Two barangays, Nursery and Tugbo, are near the sanctuary. The residents of these barangays are primarily engaged in fishing and agriculture.

The communities in these barangays have a rich culture deeply rooted in their history. They celebrate various festivals yearly, including the Masbate Rodeo Festival, held every April. The festival showcases the province’s cowboy culture and features bull riding, cattle wrestling, and other related activities.

Livelihood and Ecotourism

The Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary plays a vital role in the people’s livelihoods in the nearby barangays. The sanctuary is home to diverse marine life, including corals, fish, and other sea creatures. The sanctuary’s ecosystem services provide food and income for the local communities.

In recent years, the sanctuary has also become a popular ecotourism destination. Visitors can enjoy activities such as snorkeling, diving, and island hopping. The local government has encouraged the development of ecotourism as a way to promote sustainable economic growth in the region.

The Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary is just one of the many natural wonders the Masbate Province offers. The province is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. Visitors to the region can experience the local communities’ warmth and hospitality while enjoying the area’s natural beauty.

Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar in Masbate City - 1
Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar in Masbate City

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the entrance fees for visiting the marine sanctuary?

There is an entrance fee of Php 50 for adults and Php 20 for children to visit the Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary. Visitors are also required to pay an environmental fee of Php 20.

How can one reach the Buntod Reef from Masbate?

The Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary is located just off the coast of Masbate City. Visitors can take a motorized boat from the Masbate City Port to reach the sanctuary. The boat ride takes approximately 10-15 minutes.

What are the current rates for tours at the sanctuary?

The Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary offers guided tours for visitors. The current rates for tours are Php 500 per hour for a maximum of 10 persons.

Can you provide the exact location of the Buntod Reef and Marine Sanctuary?

The Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary is located in the middle of seawaters of two barangays – Nursery and Tugbo, in Masbate City. The exact location is 12.3649° N, 123.6150° E.

What is the historical background of the Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary?

The Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary was established in 2001 through the efforts of the Masbate City Government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). It was created to protect and conserve the marine ecosystem of the area, particularly the coral reefs.

Where can I find visitor reviews and photos of the sanctuary?

Visitors can check out reviews and photos of the Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary on various travel websites such as Tripadvisor, Love. Eat. Wander., and Pinas Muna. These websites provide first-hand accounts of the experiences of visitors to the sanctuary.

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