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|Province of Masbate
Lalawigan ng Masbate
|— Province —|
|Region||Bicol (Region V)|
|Founded||March 10, 1917|
|• Governor||Rizalina L. Seachon-Lañete (NPC)|
|• Total||4,151.78 km2 (1,603.01 sq mi)|
|Area rank||33rd out of 80|
|• Rank||30th out of 80|
|• Density||200/km2 ( 520/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||42nd out of 80|
|• Independent cities||0|
|• Component cities||1|
|• Districts||1st to 3rd districts of Masbate|
|Time zone||PHT (UTC+8)|
|Spoken languages||Bikol, Masbateño, Tagalog, English, Cebuano|
Masbate (Tagalog pronunciation: [masˈbate]) (Bikol: Probinsya nin Masbate), (Tagalog: Lalawigan ng Masbate), is an island province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region. Its capital is Masbate City and consists of three major islands: Masbate, Ticao and Burias.
Masbate lies roughly 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 Burias 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 areas.
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.
When Captain Luis Enriquez de Guzman anchored in Masbate in 1569, he found settlements spread along the coastlines with its people engaged in flourishing trade with China.
Chinese traders visited Masbate and established small settlements during the Srivijaya and Majapahit periods.
Porcelain jars dating back to the 10th century were excavated at Kalanay village in Aroroy town in the 1930s.
Historical accounts showed that Christianization of the Bicol Region actually began in Masbate in 1569.
He then went to Ibalon in Camarines Province, where he resided for many years. He made several religious incursions in the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon, but he was considered as the apostle to the island of Masbate
In December 1600, Dutch Commander Admiral Oliver van Noorth sought refuge at San Jacinto Harbor after his fleet lost to a Spanish Armada in Manila. He was later engaged in a fierce clash with Limahong's fleet at Canlibas-Matabao passage.
At the height of Galleon Trade, Mobo town contributed first class lumber for the construction of galleons, making it the center of trade in the province. It then became the capital of the islands in the early part of the Spanish occupation.
In 1864, Masbate was declared a separate province from Albay. Guiom was made the capital while Ticao became a commandancia-politicio-militar. But shortly before the declaration of Philippine Independence by President Emilio Aguinaldo, the town of Masbate was declared as the capital of the province.
The Americans came to Masbate in 1900 to extend their pacification campaign. In December 1908, Masbate was annexed to the province of Sorsogon. A bill declaring Masbate as independent province was approved on February 1, 1922.
At the height of World War II, the first Japanese elements arrived in Masbate the dawn of January 7, 1942 from Legazpi. They landed in several places without facing opposition- the province was too stunned to mount any resistance.
The Japanese occupation reduced Masbate to economic shambles. Economic activities were limited to fishing and buy-and-sell, among others.
Food production came to a halt. Camote, pakol, banana blossoms, pith, and obscure fruits like barobo were used as food substitutes.
Dr. Mateo S. Pecson, who was governor of the province, having refused to cooperate with the Japanese, evacuated the provincial government to Guiom, a command post used by the guerrillas.
Pecson was arrested by the Japanese and incarcerated in Cavite where he managed to escape. He later joined the guerrilla movement in Central Luzon.
In 1944, Provincial Board Member Jose L. Almario conspired with the Japanese to govern the province. During the Liberation, he was arrested by the guerrilla forces and was charged with collaboration. He was saved from execution by a letter from General MacArthur.
Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa, the lone Representative of Masbate, fought against a congressional bill forcing Filipinos into the service of the Japanese Empire, resulting to his detention in Fort Santiago in Manila.
When the province was liberated by joint Filipino and American soldiers on April 3, 1945, Pecson was sent to Masbate by President Osmeña to organize the civil government. He took the reins of government on May 11, 1945..
|Population census of Masbate|
|Source: National Statistics Office |
The Province of Masbate had a population of 768,939 in the 2007 Census of Population with 397,524 registered voters (as of 2004). Its population increased to 834,650 in the 2010 census with 380,037 registered voters. It consists of 20 municipalities, 1 component city and 550 barangays.
The people speak predominantly Bikol, Masbateño (or Minasbate, the language unique to the province), some Visayan languages with a unique mixture of Tagalog and some shades of Hiligaynon (sometimes also known as Ilonggo). 26% of the population of Masbate province speak Cebuano. In Burias Island, they speak Bicol similarly as the people of Camarines Sur, due to the island’s proximity to the Bicol mainland. The people generally speak fluent English and Tagalog.
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.
The Diocese of Masbate cannot truly boast, at this point, of great achievements in terms of programs and projects. But it has started to initiate various church programs spearheaded by the Diocesan Commissions on Religious Formation, Social Action and Liturgy, to start on its mission to steer its parishioners towards maturity in the Christian faith. This is done through catechesis, spiritual retreats, seminars, youth encounters, and the like.
There are a total 22 parishes in the Diocese of Masbate, ministered to by 43 priests and 11 religious sisters. It has 1 minor seminary, 4 pastoral centers, 3 elementary schools, 6 high schools, 1 college and 7 kindergarten schools. And among its faith communities are 20 BEC's 46 neo-catechumenal communities. 11 mandated organizations and 3 charismatic groups. Other denominations include the Members Church of God International popularly called Ang Dating Daan establishes a lone church district. Also Jesus Miracle Crusade, and Iglesia Ni Cristo have presence in this province.
The literacy rate of the province stood at 95.90%. Its educational institutions consist of effective public and private schools like the Masbate National Comprehensive High School in Masbate City that has three campuses - (MNCHS-Bolo Campus, MNCHS-Main Campus, MNCHS-Annex Campus) and the state-supported Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology, Osmeña Colleges, Masbate Colleges, Southern Bicol Colleges, Liceo de Masbate Colleges - a catholic school with primary, secondary and tertiary educations under the directorship of the Diocese of Masbate; Holy Name Academy - a catholic institution run by the Augustinian Recollect Sisters in Palanas, Masbate and Lucio Atabay Memorial Elementary School ( formerly, Nipa Elem School ) in Nipa, Palanas, Masbate and many elementary, secondary schools and colleges.
Being an agricultural province, Masbate remains a net importer of consumer and industrial products. The supply of goods came from Metro Manila, Cebu, Panay and Bicol Provinces. Construction materials, particularly cement are sometimes sourced as a far as Iligan City in Mindanao.
To meet the needs of growth and expansion of the industries, the infrastructure in most part of the province is continually being upgraded. These include the road and its network, transportation, communication facilities, seaports, airport and other support services.
The road and road network, particularly in Mainland Masbate, has kept on improving annually. Road structure is mostly cemented and/or asphalted and timber bridges have been concreted.
As a result, transportation sector has been a growing industry. Aircon minibuses and jeepneys are regularly plying in the two road sections of Mainland Masbate, which made transportation available round-the-clock for the need of the people and industries.
Economy and mining 
The Province of Masbate is classified as a first-class province.
Masbate is endowed with rich natural resources. In line with its agriculture are other industries such as large farming, livestock and poultry raising. Along its coastal areas, fishing industry predominates. Agricultural lands are planted with rice, corn, rootcrops and coconut.
Masbate ranks second only to Bukidnon in raising cattle. About 70% of these are sold to Metro Manila and other provinces in Luzon. Farming is the main source of livelihood. Copra is the leading product, followed by corn, rice and rootcrops. Fishing is a major industry along the coast.
Manufacturing firms are in the copra industry, handicrafts, furnituremaking and fish processing.
The province is surrounded with rich fishing areas where all kinds of commercial species of fish teemed in great abundance.
Rich minerals are found in the province. Masbate is described by geologists as a province sitting on a "pot of gold". Other minerals found in the area are manganese, copper, silver, iron, chromite, limestone, guano, and carbon.
Cottage industry such as furniture and cabinet making, ceramics, garments, handicrafts and metalcrafts, are likewise source of livelihood.
Major institutions of higher learning in the province include the [[Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology]] (DEBESMSCAT) in Mandaon and in Masbate City, Osmeña Colleges, Masbate Colleges, Liceo de Masbate and Southern Bicol College. Masbate also has national schools in Cataingan, Placer, San Jacinto, Mandaon, Mobo, etc. and Masbate City.
Political divisions 
||Ruel A. Benisano Jr.|
||Charlie Yuson III|
||Edgar S. Condor|
||Eduardo M. Andueza|
||Henry J. Naga|
||Mac John C. Seachon|
||Kristine Salve E. Hao|
||Socrates M. Tuazon|
||Percival D. Castillo|
||Ben G. Espiloy|
||Rudy Alvarez Sr.|
|Pio V. Corpuz||18||
||Herminigildo M. Betonio III|
||Joshur Judd S. Lanete II|
||Maria Vida Espinosa-Bravo|
||Leny A. Arcenas|
||Job Willard L. Rivera|
||Felepe U. Sanchez|
Masbate is also divided into 3 congressional districts, with the following representatives.
- 1st District - Narciso Bravo Jr. (KAMPI)
- 2nd District - Antonio Kho (Lakas-NUCD)
- 3rd District - Scott Davies Lanete (NPC)
- "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities". 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 2013-01-21.
- "Region: REGION V (Bicol Region)". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Province: MASBATE". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Masbate|
- Masbate Province Official Site
- Masbate City Official Site
- Local Governance Performance Management System
||Quezon / Sibuyan Sea||Ragay Gulf||Burias Pass / Albay
Ticao Pass / Sorsogon
|Romblon / Sibuyan Sea||Samar Sea / Northern Samar
|Capiz / Jintotolo Channel||Visayan Sea
|Samar Sea / Biliran