Ticao Island: of baby sharks, a unique waterfall, and pristine waters | Masbate


Incredibly surreal, I think to myself as we glide over the choppy waters off Bicol Peninsula towards the island of Ticao. My excitement at finally making it to Masbate, the 77th province I've visited in the Philippines, was palpable as our boat inched closer to the isle's powdery shores.

Isabela Barrios
Catandayagan Falls. All drone photos by Milet Miranda of Project Gora

Aside from being one of Masbate's three main islands, Ticao is also home to the Halea Nature Park. The waters around this marine environmental park are home to newborn sharks, bountiful undersea treasures, and a thriving coral reef that nature has sculpted and decorated with jagged rock formations covered in lush greenery.

Livs Yao
in one of the island's several coves

Halea natural park is located on San Miguel Island, one of two islands on the northern tip of Ticao, the other being Bagababoy Island. A winding coastline is broken up by a few beach coves, and it was on the biggest of these that we anchored our boats and set-up our boodle-fight lunch.

Baby Sharks Doo Doo Doo Doo

After chowing down our tropical-themed boodle feast, we lounged around underneath the shade of the many trees and planned our next activity. When our guide, divemaster Junery told us about the high chances of spotting baby sharks even in the shallows, the catchy children’s song “Baby Shark” instantly played inside my head.

Ayi Del Rosario
Searching for baby sharks

We went to the waters in the next cove by batches of six to eight so as not to crowd the habitat of the pre-teen sharks. Our turn came as the waves picked up, making it more challenging to snorkel while wearing a life jacket. 

Milet Miranda

A couple of my free diver companions Milet and Ferdz quickly discovered a school of juvenile sharks. Cautiously venturing further from shore, I spotted a single little shark a few meters ahead of me. As frightening as I thought it would be, it turned out to be really harmless.

Heidi Manabat

Perhaps, if I saw an adult shark the theme from the movie Jaws will replace the baby shark song in my head.

A waterfall that meets the sea

There are only around 40 waterfalls in the world that directly debouche into the ocean and one of them can be found here on Ticao Island, Masbate. Catandayagan Falls, located on the western section of the island, features a cascade of more than a hundred feet plunging over the edge of a seashore cliff into the clear waters of Masbate Pass.

Livs Yao

As our boat circles to the other side of Ticao Island facing mainland Masbate, we were introduced to a rare view of Catandayagan Falls from afar. Despite the great distance I could already see the white streaming waters falling from the cliffside and straight into the ocean.

Marky Ramone Go
Up close with Catandayagan Falls

Coming closer only made it appear more dramatic and spectacular. I’ve seen all shapes and sizes of waterfalls before from wide, tall, to multi-tiered but this one clearly appears in a rarified form.

Kritzia Santos
Let the curtain fall

As soon as we docked fifty meters from the wall of rocky face of the island, I stood on the boat’s edge face to face with the towering and jaw dropping Catandayagan Falls. It was a sight to behold watching endless streams of fresh water crashing into the saline sea below with a deafening noise.

Moha Barakat
View from Borobongkaso Rock Formations

Our lady companions from the boat dived into the water with their life vest on and not long after, the deafening boom of the waterfalls merged with the sounds of their delighted giggling.

More reasons to come back

The rock formations at Borobongkaso islet caught our attention as we traveled to our overnight destination, Ticao Island Resort, a popular spot among scuba divers. To achieve a better view of the pristine waters and the islands of Ticao and Masbate, you can climb over massive rocks of varying forms that looks like it was piled up together by a giant's hand.

Kate Alvarez
Piles of massive rocks

Later in the night as we enjoy another feast this time highlighted by a whole lechon; our guides shared to us more reasons to come back. This includes going out on a scuba diving exploration to witness the many Manta Rays, hammerheads, whale sharks, thresher sharks and tiger sharks that are normally spotted in the marine life-rich waters of Ticao Island. 

Isabela Barrios
Our home on the island: Ticao Island Resort

Waiting for sleep to come while I sway on a hammock tied in front of my small villa, I recounted the days’ happenings and easily convinced myself to come back for more of what the island has to offer. Exploring the island's picturesque tiny towns and the undersea wealth, as well as seeing baby sharks, swimming in crystal-clear seas, and being delighted by the uniqueness of Catandayagan Falls, are more than enough reasons to return.